The Evolution of the Olympic Games 1829 B.C-1914 A.D.

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
The Evolution of the Olympic Games 1829 B.C-1914 A.D. (1914)

The Evolution of the Olympic Games 1829 B.C-1914 A.D. is a book written by F. A. M. Webster published in february 1901 by Heath, Cranton & Ouseley Ltd. and including a preface written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (President of the Amateur Field Events Ass.).

Preface by Arthur Conan Doyle


My Dear Webster,

I read the proofs of your book with the greatest interest. You have certainly done more than any single man I know to preach enthusiasm, methodical enthusiasm, in the matter of national athletics. I sincerely hope that your efforts will bear fruit, and that we shall make a better showing in the future as compared with the best of other countries. We know that we have the material. There is no falling off there. I think the human machine is at its best in these Islands. But we have got into the way of doing things rather less thoroughly than they might be done, and that is the point that wants strengthening. It is a very deplorable thing that we were not able to raise the money which would have made athletics more democratic, and put the means of practising them within the reach of the bulk of the people. We tried hard and failed. The result is that we build on a much narrower base than the United States, which has twenty athletic clubs to our one, and widespread municipal facilities by which every man has a chance of finding out his own capacities. This country is full of great sprinters and shot-putters who never dream of their own powers, and have no possible chance of developing them. We sorely need also some methodical inspection of our public-school athletes, to put them on the right lines and save wasted or misapplied effort. I know how much you, Flaxman, and others have done in this direction ; but no man who has his own work to do can spare the time which is needed for such a task. What you have done is, however, remarkable, and in 1916, when we shall have some national heart-searchings, your conscience at least will be at ease.

Yours sincerely,

May 1914.

See also