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Institutionalisation of sports science in British Sport

Carpenter, T. L. and Day, Dave (2010) Institutionalisation of sports science in British Sport. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Gradually diminishing international performances by the British teams can be traced back to the Stockholm Games in 1912. Since then the need to improve British Sport in terms of success and efficiency have been publicly stated, yet the British policy makers did little to try to resolve the problem and the teams continued to display poor performances, something which the British public had now become accustomed to. However, the poor result at the 1952 Helsinki Games which culminated in one gold medal from a horse, may have provided the drive needed to improve the achievements of the British teams on the international stage. The successes at the Olympic Games by the Soviet Union and the Americans eventually captured the attention of the British Olympic Association, who responded by commissioning the 1960 Wolfenden report which led to the subsequent development of the Sports Council in 1972. Perhaps the on-going poor performances by the British teams provided a focal point out of which emerged a desire to improve performance from means other than those of standard training. Sport science began to become accepted, albeit tentatively by some. This introduction of scientific methods for training and exercise appeared to coincide with the shift from the traditional amateur ethos to the acceptance of professionalisation in British sport. This paper traces the emergence of Sports science and the impact this had on amateurism in British Sport.

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