Monday, August 11, 2008

Athen 1906

Wherein from this book: The Story of the Olympic Games, 776B.C. to 1960 A.D..

George Bonhag finally determined to enter a new event on the program, the 1,500-metre walk. That he never had been in a walking race in his life didn't daunt him. He inquired about the technique of heel-to-toe work and received some pointers from a friendly Canadian competitor. With that as a background, George started in the walking race.

Nobody wanted to be inspector, judge or official of any kind in a walking race, because it is always a job that leads to arguments, protests and endless debates as to whether any or all competitors are walking or running. But finally some unfortunate fellows were appointed inspectors and Prince George of Greece, 6 foot 5 in his stocking feet, consented to be chief judge. The casualties increased as the race went on, and soon there were only a few left, of whom Bonhag, the novice, was one.

Wilkinson of England, a noted walker, was 200-metres in the lead when Prince George ordered him off the track for proceeding in illegal style. Wilkinson breezed on by Prince George, pretending that he didn't understand Greek, the language in which he had been commanded to desist and retire. But on the next lap His Royal Highness stood in the middle of the track with his huge arms outstretched and said emphatically in English: "Leave! You have finished!" With Prince George blocking the track in that fashion, Wilkinson had to come to a dead halt and retire.The Prince chap then disqualified the next walker and that left Bonhag practically alone. He strolled over the line to victory, shaking with laughter. He had won an Olympic championship in an event that he was trying for the first time in his athletic career.


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