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Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll
(3000 Years of the Olympics)
Nicola Down

4th Oct 2012

It is most appropriate to call Nicola Down’s talk the result of a marathon of detailed research of the Olympic Games. During her talk entitled, Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (3000 Years of the Olympics) she covered a vast amount of Olympic History.

Starting in 776 BC the Greeks, who liked watching sport, organised the first Olympic games with a 200 yd foot race, a sport for men only, who ran completely naked with the exception of the Centurians who ran in their uniforms. These games continued infrequently in Greece until the early 1800’s when an Olympic Committee was formed.

The modern Olympics started in Greece in 1896 with just 43 events. In 1900 they were held in Paris where no medals were awarded. But in 1904 the Americans introduced Gold,Silver and Bronze Medals for the games in St Louis . England got its first games in 1908 when the distance for the Marathon, still used today, was defined as 26.2 miles: this being the distance of the route from Windsor Castle plus two laps of the stadium finishing in front of the Queen’s Box.

Since then the Olympics have been held every four years with the exception of the years of the two wars in Europe . Antwerp Games in 1920 saw the first raising of the Olympic Flag and in 1924 after a very bloody battle in Paris America won the Rugby Final and owing to Rugby not being part of subsequent games they are still Olympic Champions in that sport.

Women were allowed to compete in track and field events for the first time in Amsterdam in 1928 and in the controversial games held in 1936 in Berlin sex became an issue when men competed as women.

The first games after the Second World War were held in London in 1948 but Germany and Japan were not invited and competitors were asked to bring their own food and towels due to  shortages in Britain .

Since then the Olympics have been held every four years. The gender issue was raised in 1964 and sex testing in 1968. The first womens Marathon was in Los Angeles in 1984 and about that time the problem of drugs was raised. Rock and Roll has been with us since the Marathons were run in hot weather when dehydration caused runners to rock, roll and stagger to the finish.

For this really wonderful talk Nicola Down was thanked by Keith Foster

Our next talk is on Thursday 18th October at the Methodist Church at 10-00am when one of our members John Hay will humorously tell us “ How to Tell a Joke”.


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