Friday, 19 April 2013

The Spirit of a bygone Age

The picture below shows a group of Canadian runners competing in the 1908 London Olympics Marathon.

First man to cross the finish line was the Italian runner Pietri Dorando. He was was followed home by Johnny Hayes (USA) and Charles Hefferon (South Africa). On entering the stadium the Italian took a wrong turning, stumbled, corrected himself and continued. He then fell. After medical attention he resumed the race.

Almost completely delirious he was helped over the finish line by well-meaning stewards. Suffering from exhaustion and dehydration he was finally taken to hospital.

It was with some reluctance that the Italian had to be disqualified due to his having received outside assistance.

In the spirit of the age he was presented with a cup by Queen Alexandra in recognition of his great courage and sportsmanship.  



  1. Courage and sportsmanshipe - that's what we need these days Gwil - not always apparent though.

  2. Today it is once again the London Marathon. There will be many thousands more runners than in my picture from the 1908 marathon and obviously many more police will be on the streets. I hope it all passes off without incident.
    I have never understood why mass murderers, whatever their stripe, so often target situations where families with children are certain to be in the crowds of spectators, when by doing so they become not martyrs for the cause as they think but merely recruiting sergeants for their opponents.
    The best way to make a point is by the way of peace as shown by Mahatma Ghandi for example.

  3. so much courage - it ought not go unrewarded

  4. I agree Gerald. I think we've gone soft. Today almost every footballer who scores a goal by luck or otherwise, especially on TV, is hailed as a hero.


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