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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Olympic Committee

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Our Olympic Failure is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Sporting Life on 25 march 1913.



Olympic Committee

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Reply to Criticism

Sir, — You were good enough to mention my name in connection with your article upon the above, and you will therefore permit me, perhaps, to write a brief reply. Let me make it clear in the first instance that I do this entirely as from myself, and that I have no warrant to speak for anyone else upon the committee.

It is difficult for one who is himself a member of that body to eulogise its constitution; but I would accept the description of it which you have quoted from one of my early letters as being approximately what we have realised. We are fortunate in having the representative of one popular body of sport as chairman. We have business men connected with sport, and we have members who are themselves athletes. It has to be borne in mind that a very great deal of heavy and continuous work has to be done by such a committee. It would be vain to form it by adding to it such names — I quote the first which occurs to me — as Lord Alverstone, Lord Lonsdale, Sir Thomas Lipton, or the like. Senior men whose lives are already filled with pressing duties would find it almost impossible to fulfil the demands which must be made upon a member of the Olympic Committee. There is no doubt that whatever names were selected, other alternative ones could be suggested; but it would make any united national effort impossible if we were to wait for such a heaven-sent committee as would equally commend itself to everyone. The point to be insisted upon at present is that we shall soon have to appeal for funds, without which nothing can be done, and that all unnecessary and premature criticism of the committee may have the effect of reducing the answer to that appeal, and so weakening our position at the Games at Berlin.

As to the question of an American trainer, it has not even been mentioned upon the committee, and all criticism upon the point is meaningless. Individual members of the committee have no doubt made their inquiries in various directions so as to be in a position to say what can be done before it is decided what shall be done. But if prejudice is to be raised before matters have been discussed, far less carried through, it makes a task more difficult which is already quite onerous enough.

I am, etc.,

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, March 22, 1913.


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