The Olympics' Good Old Days

The impressive British performance in Beijing has Telegraph writer John Bingham looking back at the good old days of the 1908 Olympics, when the top swimmers had to share the pool with fly casters. Apparently it was a time when “running deer shooting” was considered PC and champagne was considered a legitimate electrolyte replacement drink, at least among the Italians: “Paula Radcliffe’s upset in the marathon pales in comparison with the disappointment felt by Italy’s Dorando Pietri in 1908 when he collapsed five times on the track and was disqualified because officials had to carry him over the line. But then his incapacitation is said to owe as much to the many glasses of champagne he enjoyed during the previous 26 miles.”

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