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Author: Luke J Harris

Birmingham’s First Olympics: The 1867 National Olympian Games

In the summer of 2022, Birmingham will be at the centre of the sporting world when it hosts the 22nd Commonwealth Games. For many, this represents England’s second city finally getting its chance to join those British cities who have recently hosted a multi-sport event. Following the disappointment of losing out to Barcelona in the bidding for the 1992 Olympic Games, and then being forced to watch on enviously as Manchester then Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games and London the Olympic Games, there was a belief that Birmingham might never get such an opportunity. Those making such a claim...

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The Olympics that never were, Berlin 1916

The summer of 2016 witnessed the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the most horrific encounter of World War One, which claimed over a million casualties along a 15-mile front in 141 days. Had war not broken out in 1914, the world might have reflecting upon the centenary of the 1916 Olympics, which were due to be held in Berlin that summer but cancelled as a consequence of the war. From analysing the initial preparations of several major Olympic nations, these Olympics had the potential to be very different to those which had taken place before. Berlin...

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Henry Cotton’s at war: The wartime fundraising efforts of a British golfer, 1939-1940

During the late 1930’s, Henry Cotton was emerging as Britain’s premier golfer following victories at the 1934 and 1937 Open Championships. Further success at the world’s premier golf championship beckoned during the 1940s and Cotton looked set to become a dominant force in the game. The outbreak of war in 1939 prevented this from happening and Cotton’s life changed with golf becoming something of a pastime and the matches he played took on a different purpose. This article will examine his wartime golf, principally that which took place in the first year of the war. Henry Cotton   Comparable...

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Sport and The Boys’ Story: ‘Tales of the Stadium’ (1908)

From the Victorian age to the World War Two, the Boys’ Story press provided the bulk of reading for British boys, both young and old. Many of these publications began life as ‘Penny Dreadful’s’ during the Victorian period and were filled with tales of crime and detectives, but some evolved to include stories of adventure and glory, of which sport became a prominent theme. Reflecting the national interest in the sports of soccer, rugby and cricket these sports dominated these fictional tales, although during events such as the 1908 London Olympics there were often dedicated stories or series’. Although...

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Should Britain compete at the 1920 Olympics? An argument between Charles Otway and Robert S. Courcy Laffan (1919)

On April 5 1919, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) determined that Antwerp in Belgium would host the Seventh Olympic Games, which would take place during the summer of 1920. This was a decision that encountered considerable opposition within the British sporting press, many of whom were against the Olympics recommencement less than two years after the end of The Great War. This article will examine some of the arguments upon this subject, primarily that between The Sporting Life’s Charles Otway and British Olympic Committee (BOC) member Robert S. Courcy Laffan.   The verdict from the British press was that...

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