The history of sport from the pitch to the page.
This illustrated collection of letters includes the personal correspondence of famous athletes, as they reflect on their achievements and failures, and share their thoughts on team-mates and rivals. Alongside these are the words of world leaders, popes, authors and scientists, writing in newspapers, medical journals, and passing on secret memos. The writers shine a light on the triumphs and controversies of rugby, football, swimming, cycling, golf, tennis, boxing, pedestrianism, athletics and the martial arts, to name a few.
The letters highlight the role of sport as both a social activity and an agent of change. Certain sporting events have even influenced international relations – from the famous ‘truce’ football matches of 1914, when British and German soldiers put down their guns on Christmas Day to play a game; to the historic 1972 ping pong tournament between the US and China, leading to a thaw in relations.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “sport has the power to change the world.”
Coming soon 2021. Read three of the letters below.
When the militant suffragette Emily Wilding Davison interrupted the Epsom Derby she divided public opinion.
A strange tale involving a theft, a police chase and a dog called Pickles.
The seventies saw the rise of ping-pong diplomacy. Now it’s basketball.