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.
sports medicine professional, and the athletic body. To effectively compete against the full time athlete of Eastern Europe and the US, Britishathletes now had to train intensively, and under the guidance of experts. While there were those in sports medicine (for example, Adolphe Abrahams) who bemoaned the increasing competitiveness and standards of international sport, and feared the emergence of the ‘unnatural athlete’, the genuine pressure exerted by international competition required the production of an athletic body which was an exception, not the norm. 21
as the ‘Footballers’ Hospital’ established in Manchester and treating foreign as well as Britishathletes; by the early twentieth century nearly every training manual for sports claimed to be scientifically informed or to be using the latest medical understandings of the body; in 1908 the first rules against doping were introduced by the hosts at the London-based Olympic Games; in the 1920s a Briton won a Nobel Prize for his early work on lactic acid metabolism and went on to do pioneering research in exercise physiology; by the 1930s several sporting organisations
claimed that a significant number of the injuries they treated were a consequence of previous injuries, or damage done during training rather than competition, suggesting that many athletes were getting more limited treatment at home.
It is the case that for Britishathletes, at least, the intense medical supervision at the Olympics was sometimes an exception rather than the rule. Outside the Olympics few Britishathletes had contact with these Olympic medical officers or the BOA (access to sports doctors and other medical professionals depended rather on the specific
view of Britain, with the celebration of the trade union movement, the Suffragettes,
the NHS, and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, amongst other British icons.
Thus, the London Olympics opening ceremony, but also the achievements of
Britishathletes and the spirit of togetherness that the Games promoted, were used
as examples of the patriotism Miliband wanted to project.
The Labour Party under Ed Miliband
In a speech on immigration he made several references to how Britain’s ethnic
diversity was behind the country’s achievements during the
Internment Camp in Shandong. Among the internees were: eminent scholars of China Mary C. Wright, whose book we discussed in Lesson 3 , and her husband, Arthur F. Wright (Americans); Arthur W. Hummel, a student in China who would later become the American ambassador to China; Eric Liddell, Britishathlete and winner of Olympic gold and bronze medals, in China for his missionary work, who died at the camp; E. T. C. Werner, British consul and Sinologist; Paul Thompson, another British Sinologist; and the young Mary E. Previte (b. 1932), daughter of missionary parents and
, posters and other literature. As part of the government’s attempt to ensure fairness in the referendum, both BIE and the NRC were offered funding for the publication and distribution of an official pamphlet. 184 To combat claims of elitism, BIE distributed posters displaying prominent Britishathletes saying ‘yes’ to the Community including Matt Busby, Gareth Edwards, Mary Peters and Virginia Wade. Photographs of Katie Boyle, Marjorie Proops and Eirlys Roberts appeared on a poster under the caption ‘What every mother in the country should know by June 5th’. 185
generated more volunteering in practice, and also
there is no evidence to indicate that this effect would not diminish as time passes
and as distance from a uniquely motivating event increases (DCMS 2013,
Jozwiak 2013, Legacy Trust 2013).
The achievements of British Olympic champions
The British team generally performed well, as the teams representing the national
Olympic host typically tend to do. Among the Britishathletes who managed to
succeed in the competition to become Olympic champions, the most publicly
recognised and celebrated at the time were Mo Farah and
about Rwanda in the week ended 31 July,
there were only nine in the week ended 21 August. The crisis was replaced on the
front page by stories of more domestic interest: Britishathletes failing drugs tests
at the Commonwealth Games, threats of a train-drivers’ strike and fresh calls
for an IRA ceasefire. Even the fear in mid-August of a second wave of refugees,
following the departure of Operation Turquoise’s French troops, did not rekindle
anywhere near the same level of interest the initial exodus to Goma had. This
story, like most foreign news stories, had run its