13 October 2011 sees the start of The English Project‘s year-long series of events around the Language of Sport. Any historical study of sport will show you how meanings change over time. Think about how the word ‘amateur’ used to be a term of praise in sport, but is now more frequently a term of abuse, or how the simple word ‘football’ can mean one of many different sports and games depending on time and place. And don’t get me started on how ‘Olympic’ has meant so many different things over time.
There are many ways in which everyone can get involved with this fascinating work. The first is a Sports Tweet of the Year competition. The deadline is very soon, so get tweeting.
Motorboat racing on Southampton Water at the 1908 Olympic Games
The Southern Daily Echo picked up on Southampton’s Olympic history in this feature on The British Olympics. Thanks to journalist Keith Hamilton for a great piece. One of my aims in writing the book was to remind people all over the country that the Olympics are not just about London, so it was really gratifying to see this kind of local appreciation.
Crystal Palace in Sydenham, South London
On 13 February 2012, I’m giving a lecture on the Olympic Games for the London Parks & Gardens Trust. In an illustrated talk, I will look at the role of London’s parks in London’s past Olympic Games, held in 1908 and 1948, and how the 2012 Olympic Games are creating a new parkland. I will also dip into earlier Olympian history, like the 1866 National Olympian Games, which were held in the park at Crystal Palace.
The lecture will take place at The Garden Museum in Lambeth Palace Road. Doors open at 6.30 pm, and the talk starts at 7.00 pm.
Guildford Book Festival, 20 October 2011
Im giving a talk on my new book, The British Olympics: Britain”s Olympic heritage 1612-2012, at the Guildford Book Festival. It will take place in the Team Room at the University of Surrey”s Sports Park, starting at 6.00 pm on Thursday 20 October. The talk will be followed by questions, and by a book-signing.
To book your place, please visit the Festival”s website: http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/44-martin-polley