On 19 April, I took part in a fascinating event at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The Sports Heritage Network brought together academics, journalists, sportsmen and women, politicians, and others to explore a wide range of topical issues. I was invited to be one of the two keynote speakers, alongside Jonathan Edwards, Olympic triple jumper and a current member of LOCOG. Jonathan spoke about competing in the Olympics, and about how the Games fitted into his athletic career. He was, as ever, moving and motivating. My brief was to provide some historical perspectives on the Olympic Games, which I did by exploring some of the continuities and changes that have gone on over the past century. I then joined a panel chaired by Tony Collins of De Montfort University, with historian David Kynaston and author and former England cricket Ed Smith, where we discussed questions raised by members of the audience.
Other highlights of the day included Sir Menzies Campbell and Henry Olonga being interviewed by John Inverdale in a panel discussion on politics, and Liz McColgan and Guin Batten talking about their sporting careers. The day ended with a tour of Lord’s, and an informal panel discussion about this year’s Olympic Games, chaired by Alison Mitchell of Radio 5 Live.
Huge thanks to the Sports Heritage Network, and to the University of Southampton and De Montfort University, for organising a unique and memorable event.