Good morning, we will finish off August with one last Tony Robinson’s Time Travels. This would be a fun and frivolous series to show in the classroom. Tony Robinson goes back to 776 BC and looks back to the history of the Olympics in Game Changers. Sports have always had a part of history and have shaped the world in many ways. Tony kicks off his tour in Victoria and it is the World’s Most Sports Mad state. It was here a game was invented that prevented two nations from tearing themselves apart.
It is in the 1940s and the Americans were invading Australia. The Americans were well paid and flashed their money around town. This angered local soldiers and tensions grew. So, the governments organized a series of matches between the American and Australian soldiers came together and created a game. This game would combine the skills of American football and Australian Football. An American reporter called the game a combination of football, soccer, basketball, and aerial bombardment. The game was called Austus, a combination of the United States and Australia. The game cooled tensions between the Australians and the Americans and reforged their alliance.
Tony then goes further back in time and Ancient Greece. The games were called the Olympics and they were held every four years. These games were such a big deal that the Greeks built a large statue of Zeus. These games were held in honor of Zeus and were held at Olympia. Combat sports played a key role in the games. These were a test of a warrior’s fighting skills. The Romans also loved sport as well, but their love of sport ended the Ancient Greek Olympic games. The statue of Zeus was destroyed, and Olympia was destroyed. The games were eventually banned.
So how were the games revived? Tony travels 1,500 years into the future. The games inspired the people were in Much Wenlock in the 1850s. The local GP was William Penny-Brooks and he wanted to encourage the young men to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. He started an Olympian class which allowed the men to show off their skills in exercise. The first Wenlock games were held in 1850 and have been held every year baring World War I and World War II. It was the first organized game to be held for working-class people. Brooks had to fight opposition and won. His games had rules and the working men could win a medal at the end of victory. Eventually, Brooks expanded the games to other towns. A national game was born and was held at the Crystal Palace.
Brooks met a young aristocrat named Baron Pierre de Coubertin. They talked long into the night and Coubertin took Brooks’ dream and ran with it. Eventually and Olympic Committee was formed and the first games were held in 1896. Unfortunately, Brooks did not live long enough to see his dream come true. However, not everyone was invited to participate. Women were not allowed to complete. Fanny Durack was one of the first women swimmers who participated in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. She used the Australian Crawl to win a gold medal and set a world record.
Tony then goes to Rupert’s Wood in Australia to learn about the world’s strangest trophy. Cricket’s Ashes, the world’s strangest trophy was created in Australia. The story about this trophy is that the British Cricket Team lost to Australia and so the Australian Team was given ashes. However, Tony learns the true story. The trophy was created at Christmas Time after an unofficial game of cricket. The hostess tossed two small pieces of equipment into a fire and then put the ashes in a plain urn, thus the Ashes Trophy was born.
This would be an excellent episode to show in a physical education class as well as a history class.
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