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8:30am Thursday 26th April 2012 in Letters
Sir – It is true that Baron de Coubertin, who is credited with reviving the modern Olympic Games, came to England to learn about sport at English public schools (Weekend, April 19) about the link with Thomas Hughes who wrote Tom Brown’s Schooldays.
However, this was 30 years after the first modern Olympic Games were founded in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, in 1850 by Dr William Penny Brookes.
The first modern Games were first held there in October 1850 and included country sports, cricket and football as well as athletics The multi-millionaire de Coubertin visited Much Wenlock, met Brookes, was inspired by him and corresponded with him afterwards. Brookes had this dream of an international Olympic Games. It was not until many years later that the first Games were held in Greece in 1896.
In 1994, the then President of the International Olympic Committee visited Much Wenlock and laid a wreath on Brookes’ grave and said that he went there to pay homage to Brookes ‘who really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games’.
It is important in this year when the Games are being held in this country that the role of the Englishman who founded the Games and was their inspiration should be recognised.
Ann Spokes Symonds, Oxford