Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Freddie Lane was awarded both 'Bronze' and 'Gold' for winning one race at the 1900 Olympics

The title says it all and the full story has been updated on my website at Freddie Lane.

The Olympic swimming races were very different back then. In the Paris games of 1900 they were swum in the River Seine - no anti-wave ropes. In fact, the lanes were ill defined and hard to see, but Freddie still clocked a very fast 2:25.2 to win the 220 yards (about 200m) freestyle. And he also won the Olympic swimming obstacle race, getting out of the water every so often and into moored boats and punts, and then off again.

Do you think winning Olympic races brought ticker tape parades to welcome him home? There wasn't even a newspaper headline or a mention of the Olympic Games, or his wins!

All that was written in the country's leading newspaper at the time, the Melbourne Herald, was a short paragraph when he boarded the ship to come home. It just said something like 'The Sydney swimmer, Mr F C V Lane, after a successful season in England, is returning to Australia by RMS Ormuz'. That was it!!

Gold and Bronze for the same race? You'll have to read the article.

Freddie and I are very distantly related.

Peter Taylor