Athletes start the century as normal, healthy citizens, and end up as potentially unhealthy physiological 'freaks', while the general public are increasingly urged to do more exercise and play more sports. This book offers a comprehensive study, and social history, of the development of sports medicine in Britain, as practiced by British doctors and on British athletes in national and international settings. It describes how and why, in Britain, medicine applied to sport became first an area of expertise known as sports medicine, and then a formal medical specialty: Sport and Exercise Medicine. In the late nineteenth century, vigorous exercise was an acceptable, probably necessary, part of the moderate healthy lifestyle for the normal, healthy man. Consequently sports medicine was part and parcel of normal medical treatment, distinguishable only through its location or through its patient history. There was no wide-spread de facto scepticism about the value of vigorous exercise among physicians and scientists. The normality of the young male athlete is reconsidered between 1928 and 1952. At the end of the period, the athlete becomes an abnormal or supernormal human being who demands specialist medical interventions. The formation and work of British Association of Sport and (Exercise) Medicine, the Institute of Sports Medicine, the Sports Council, and the British Olympic Association's Medical Committee is discussed. The book finally discusses fitness. Normal life, war, elite competition gives us an insight into how athletic bodies are conceptualised, and how sports medicine has formed and reformed over a century.
acknowledgement that boycotts have levels of adherence
along a spectrum from compliance to wholesale adoption. In part this recognises the
difficulty of hermetically sealing the subject from the object of boycott but also that a
degree of compliance may provide a platform for the protagonist to serve their interests. As an example, Dick Palmer as the secretary of the BritishOlympicAssociation
entered the Olympic Stadium in Moscow alone – that is, without members of the
British team. He, and representatives of fifteen other of the eighty-one participating
nations, would use
dedicated to the collation and provision of specialist sports medicine advice, and it closes in 1970 with the Sports Council initiating a study into the feasibility of using taxpayers’ money to fund sports injuries clinics for the general public.
The intervening years saw a proliferation of organisations related to sports medicine ; after BAS(E)M in 1953 came the BritishOlympicAssociation’s Medical Committee (1959), the Institute of Sports Medicine (1963), the Sports Council’s Research and Statistics Committee (1965), and other specialist organisations. 2 As a
associations between commercial interests and sports did not stop with straightforward advertising; the apparently profitable business of sponsoring sporting events also took place in the early twentieth century. At the first London Olympiad in 1908 the marathon was effectively sponsored by Oxo, who were appointed by the BritishOlympicAssociation as the ‘official caterers’. 15 Oxo representatives were available at several points along the marathon, supplying (free of charge to runners) an ‘Oxo Athletes’ Flask, containing Oxo for immediate use’, as well as ‘Oxo hot and
, the early period (to the late 1940s) was very much one of co-ordination and consolidation. It was not until 1952 that the IOC ‘recognised the FIMS as the designated competent international organisation for biological and medical research related to medicine and sport and the medical care of the athlete’. 44 (This was the same year that Porritt and Abrahams formed Britain’s first sports medicine organisation, which itself started life firmly associated with – indeed with the same postal address as – the BritishOlympicAssociation). Yet, even before its official
boundaries, and claim authority in this newly significant medical field. Chapter 4 discusses the formation and work of BAS(E)M, the Institute of Sports Medicine (ISM), the Sports Council, and the BritishOlympicAssociation’s Medical Committee. All these organisations claimed intellectual and financial territory within sports medicine, and therefore power over the athletic body. These boundary disputes were sometimes extremely acrimonious, and continued for the rest of the century, as Chapters 5 and 6 will show.
Having justified their expertise by an appeal to the
In 1987, nearly three decades after the founding of the BritishOlympicAssociation’s first Medical Committee, the British Olympic Medical Centre was opened at Northwick Park Hospital. Its opening symbolises the full institutionalisation of elite, specialist sports medicine. Given that the last chapter described the self-creation of sports medicine as a discipline which focused on just these sorts of bodies, the opening of this centre should come as no surprise. But the dominant theme of this chapter is rather the provision of this sort of specialist and expert
the Olympic Games of 1908 (London:
5 J. Mercer, ‘Media and militancy: propaganda in the Women’s Social and
Political Union’s campaign’, Women’s History Review, 14:3–4 (2005), 471–86, at
6 D. Atkinson, Mrs. Broom’s Suffragette Photographs (London: Nishen
Photography, 1989), p. 2.
7 Exhibition programme, 1909, p. 14.
8 P. Gillett, Musical Women in England, 1870–1914: ‘Encroaching on All Man’s
Privileges’ (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 222.
9 Gillett, Musical Women, p. 200.
10 Gillett, Musical
(for instance most of the athletics and swimming events)
was focused in the Olympic Park. And it was agreed early on between the main
stakeholders (the UK government, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the
BritishOlympicAssociation (BOA)) that the Park and its new sports and related
facilities would be located in the heart of the old East End, at Stratford. The
Stratford location was at the confluence of four socially disadvantaged boroughs
(Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest) and thus contained
the possibility that the influence and stimulus of