Photo: Dorando Pietri being helped over the line by officials to come first in the marathon at the London 1908 Olympic Games, only to be later disqualified.
There have been many exciting Olympic contests, but the 1908 race which came to be known as Dorando’s marathon has passed into legend as the most heart-rending.
The image of the exhausted Italian runner being assisted across the finish line and so disqualified appears in almost every history of the Games. This was an extraordinary event.
Queen Alexandra was so touched by the harrowing scenes in the stadium that she presented a special cup to Dorando Pietri. Irving Berlin wrote a song called Dorando.
The King had a horse named after the runner. And a craze for marathon-running was born.
But now let us dispose of a canard. For years there has been a story that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was one of the officials who assisted Dorando at the finish of the 1908 Olympic marathon and so made the disqualification inevitable.
He has even been identified as a portly figure in a straw boater pictured in the background of one of the most famous of all Olympic photographs.
Sadly for the romantics, the story isn’t true. The two officials at either side of the athlete are Jack Andrew, the Clerk of the Course, holding the megaphone, and Dr Michael Bulger, the chief medical officer.
The man in the background (and seen beside the stricken Pietri in other photos) is probably another of the medical team. Conan Doyle was seated in the stands.
His report in the Daily Mail (25 July, 1908) makes this clear.
Then again he collapsed, kind hands saving him from a heavy fall. He was within a few yards of my seat. Amid stooping figures and grasping hands I caught a glimpse of the haggard, yellow face, the glazed, expressionless eyes, the lank black hair streaked across the brow.
The centrepiece is the greatest golfing painting in the world, Charles Lees’ famous 1847 masterpiece The Golfers.
This commemorates a match played on the Old Course at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, by Sir David Baird and Sir Ralph Anstruther, against Major Hugh Lyon Playfair and John Campbell of Saddell.
It represents a veritable ‘who’s who’ of Scottish golf at that time and was famously reproduced in a fine engraving which sold in great quantities.
Lees (1800-80) made use of photography, at a time when it was in its infancy, to help him design the painting’s overall composition.
The image in question, taken by photography pioneers D O Hill & Robert Adamson, is included in the show and Lees’s preparatory drawings and oil sketches also are displayed alongside the finished painting to offer visitors further insight into the creation of this great work.
Impressions of The Golfers are now in many of the greatest golf clubhouses around the world.
The painting is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
Photo: Mick Fanning was “screaming with excitement” in between riding waves. (Supplied: Emil Sollie, Mats Grimsæth, RedBull)
by Anthony Pancia
In terms of ticking things off the bucket list, Mick Fanning may have trumped just about every surfer on the planet with a once-in-a-lifetime surf under a stunning Northern Lights display in Norway.
Fanning — currently on a hiatus from professional surfing — camped out on a beach in the Norwegian archipelago of Lofoten, Norway with local photographers Emil Sollie and Mats Grimsaeth waiting for the conditions to align and, as it turned out, they didn’t have to wait long.
“We’d set out a 10-day waiting period because there were so many elements that had to come together,” Fanning told the ABC.
“Even then it was a bit of a roll of the dice. You need the right waves, clear skies and on top of all that, you actually need the lights to come on.”
The lights came on for the first two nights, however, the waves refused to co-operate.
“But on the third night we got lucky,” Fanning said. The surfer spent the night riding “surprisingly good” waves as the photographers set to work capturing an image they planned for two years.
The House of David was an apocalyptic cult that formed a commune community which focused on clean, hirsute living, celibacy, and most memorably their minor league baseball team.
Founded in the late 1800’s on 1,000 acres of land, the new society farmed and developed a shockingly sophisticated series of services such as their own electricity, cold storage, and cannery.
However the House of David is likely best remembered for its shockingly successful baseball teams.
The community’s founder was a big sports fan and believed that such endeavors were good for both the body and the soul.
Starting in 1913, the commune had started playing competitive baseball and within just a couple of years, the players had fallen into a strict training regimen.
By the 1920’s the House of David players had become a fairly famous “barnstorming” sensation, traveling around and playing exhibition matches. Many of the players caught the attention of the major leagues, but the House of David forbid the cutting of their hair, so the trademark beards that made the team recognizable also made them unfit to move up to the pros.
Despite the bearded ceiling, the teams managed to gain a great deal of notoriety and some teams even took on professional players who would grow a beard or sometimes even wear fake beards in solidarity with their teammate’s religion.
The teams continued to play well into the 1950’s but the House of David commune was beginning to disband and was eventually embroiled in an underage sex scandal which essentially snuffed out any straggling remnants of the sect.
However the baseball teams and their communal heritage are still remembered in the House of David Museum which explores the history of the colony from its illustrious baseball teams to their impressive zoo to their industrial triumphs.