How many opportunities have come your way today? How many of them have you taken? Those are questions that Dr William Penny Brookes focused on. As a result, he helped re-ignite interest in the Olympic Games.
Rather than choose a major city to bring people together, he chose Much Wenlock. This is a small community in
Shropshire, England, where Penny Brookes was the local doctor.
In a new i book, called Amazing Olympic Stories, that I have written, available on the Apple i bookstore, he returns to tell the exciting stories of the early days.
We have also produced a video about Dr Penny Brookes – http://study.fm/Olympians/brookes
He said that prevention was better than cure and the way to do that was to keep fit. In 1850, he set up the Olympian Class. In particular, he encouraged the trades people and manual workers to participate and the first event was held in October of that year. He was criticiised for that as some people thought that young men would make the occasion one to get drunk and fight. The event , in contrast was a success. News spread. It was the start point for other communities to set up their Olympic events in London and Liverpool.
By 1858, Dr Penny Brookes established links with people in Athens who wanted to revive the Olympic Games. He sent a prize of 10 pounds to a winner of a race. It was the start of his efforts to get an international Olympic Games.In 1889, he invited Pierre de Coubertin the Much Wenlock Olympic Games. That led him to convene an international committee. The result was the first of the modern Olympics held in Athens during 1896.
Since then the Olympics has become a giant event, bringing people from most countries of the world together. So, at this time, we should remember Dr William Penny Brookes for his inspiration and hard work.