140824 WHGC Dunfermline-1263UPDATE

Many of the Heavies you saw in Bressuire for the 2015 IHGF Worlds just started their career in "olympic" events and come from track and field.

Scott RIDER , for example, was a shotput champion, Matt DOHERTY was a hammer-thrower and Robert FAZEKAS a top-ranked discus-thrower.

And this is just the same for many others...

Never mind!

It's just history the other way round!

1- From the Highland Games to the Olympic Games

It just proves Pierre de Coubertin, the creator of the modern Olympics in 1896, was kind of visionary when he "borrowed" these two events from the Highland Games.

He just transformed  stone-throwing into shotputting and he just changed the shape of the hammer.

With the same movement! With the same objectives!

That was it!

And you  know what?

Pierre de Coubertin did the same for pole-vaulting!

_ND70766And this is confirmed by Dave WEBSTER, the great specialist of Highland Games who gave complete answers to my questions.

Q. & A. with Dave Webster

Pole vaulting yesterday and today

"It would be wrong to compare todays results with the pioneers of the sport. Now we have boxes in which to 'plant' the pole and springy poles to catapult the athlete into the air and over the bar".

Origins of this event

"It was said to have originated from using poles to cross streams and also to get over walls during invasons. I find the latter hard to believe".

Development in the US

Pole Vault - Indoor training"George Goldie of Princeton College was the man who popularised pole vaulting in America. He was described as the "father of the pole vault".  I understand that he was born in Edinburgh and went from there to Canada and later to Princeton University where he introduced "the Caledonian Games". This was the birth of track and field in America and of course the pole vault was included.
Of course he was not the originator of pole vaulting"

To wear or not to wear a kilt

"Pole vaulters wear standard track and field gear and NOT the kilt - that  would add to their weight and likely to knock down the bar!"

A dangerous sport

"A vital part is also the landing area. Now we have wonderful safe landings whereas in the past they had some earth or sand to land on. It was not a case of how high you could vault but how high you could FALL without hurting yourself."

livre Dave WebsterDid Coubertin "steal" the Highland Games?

"Firstly, I have never considered Baron de Coubertin "stealing" Scottish sports events. It is a great compliment from such a sporting icon. A large part of my life has been spent encouraging people to benefit from such intriguing activities".

  • MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE HIGHLAND GAMES

A good tip from the blogger: Just read Dave Webster's new book

  • MORE ABOUT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Just a click on www.lesgeantsdolympie.com

 

2- From the Olympic Games to the Highland Games

Now, it's the other way round.

Our Heavies start with the Olympic events and become famous with the Scottish Games!

Most of them discover the art of throwing in track and field events and show their expertise, their know-how and their strength during the Highland Games competitions.

It's just a new twist to this thousand-year-old history.

Just awesome!

Alain CADU

The article in French: de l'athlé aux Highland Games