W. W. Alexander's reflections on Britain at the Olympic Games : 1908-1912 / Luke J. Harris

Harris, Luke J.

William Whiteway (W.W.) Alexander (b.1852) was a prominent figure in Midlands athletics from the 1890s to the 1930s and he also wrote a weekly column in the Birmingham sporting newspaper The "sporting mail". This article examines Alexander’s reflections in The "sporting mail" regarding the Olympic Games of London (1908) and Stockholm (1912), where he provides an alternative perspective on the British attitude at these Games and offers possible reasons as to why the British performance declined. The comments utilised here reflect this and show Alexander to be one of Britain’s most forward-thinking athletic commentators. There is a desire not just to give the opinions of one man, but also to see these comments within the context of others writing about the apparent British decline at these Games. This article provides new insight into the events at the London Olympics and the incidents of the Stockholm Games that have ‘tended to escape scholarly attention’.

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