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Olimpick Games and Olympian Games, lost and found
November 21, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Before Pierre de Coubertin and the International Olympic Committee established the modern Olympic Games in the 1890s, numerous sporting events called Olimpick, Olympian, and Olympic took place throughout England. These ranged from the Cotswold Olimpicks, which ran from the 17th Century to the 1850s, to the professional Morpeth Olympic Games that started in the 1880s and were still going into the 1950s.
This illustrated talk, based on extensive and on-going historical research, will take two case studies of such festivals, both of which died out, but both of which have been revived: the Cotswold Olimpicks and the Wenlock Olympian Games. Exploring these lost and found sports festivals in their local contexts, the talk will raise questions about the meaning of the word ‘Olympic’, about how historical research can challenge official narratives, and about how events that have been lost in a community’s history can be rediscovered, re-invented, and re-invigorated.