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The real home of the Games

[ 2012-07-25 11:11] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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While London's Olympics are just over a week away, the 700-year-old English town of Much Wenlock is celebrating the 126th edition of its own Olympics.

With young athletes running, spectators shouting and medals waiting to be given, the scene is reminiscent of the real Games.

The resemblance is not an accident. Much Wenlock is the birthplace of the modern Olympics.

The link dates back to William Penny Brookes, a doctor in the town 200km northwest of London, who believed in the benefits of physical exercise for "every grade of man".

In 1850, Brookes set up the annual Wenlock Olympian Games featuring soccer, running and hopping. His ideas significantly influenced the French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who subsequently led the revival of the modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.

To celebrate Brookes' important role, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games named the official 2012 Olympics mascot Wenlock.

Simon MacVicker, chairman of the Wenlock Olympian Society, said the Wenlock Olympian Games have undergone significant changes over the years to include 24 sporting events, 500 volunteers, 3,000 athletes and 3,000 spectators.

Biathlon and equestrian were added two years ago, and marathon and gliding were added this year.

"We're very much taking things forward," MacVicker said. "This is very much a living game, not just a historical society looking at the old times."

But some traditions continue. Because Brookes hoped sports would benefit everyone, not just the elites, the Wenlock Olympian Games allow anyone to enter on a first-come, first-served basis.

"In all events, you'll see some beginners, you'll see some people doing better, but everybody is welcome," MacVicker said.

The Wenlock Olympics is held on three consecutive Saturdays in July. To celebrate its link with the London Olympics, the town put on a variety of music, arts and entertainment on the second Saturday.


1. Which English town is said to be the home of the modern Olympics?

2. How many “Olympics” has this English town held?

3. In which month does the town have its “Olympics” games?


1. Much Wenlock.

2. 126.

3. July.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

The real home of the Games

About the broadcaster:

The real home of the Games

CJ Henderson is a foreign expert for China Daily's online culture department. CJ is a graduate of the University of Sydney where she completed a Bachelors degree in Media and Communications, Government and International Relations, and American Studies. CJ has four years of experience working across media platforms, including work for 21st Century Newspapers in Beijing, and a variety of media in Australia and the US.