'A Proper Spectacle' - Back Cover

Mocked and scorned…..

"99% of the medical profession in this country were against women taking an active part in athletics. They said you were leaving your womanhood on the track, and it was quite possible none of us would ever have children. " (Vera Palmer, Great Britain, Women’s World Games 1926)

Determined to win…..

"When we stood on the rostrum, when the Union Jack went up, it was amazing." (Violet Webb, Great Britain, Los Angeles Olympics 1932)

Braving disappointment…..

"My effort in the 100 metres backstroke was abysmal. Losing a week’s training with a swollen gland.....I was lethargic and slightly depressed and my limbs felt as if they had turned to lead." (Pat Norton, Australia, Berlin Olympics 1936)

Making history…..

"The bravery, commitment and above all the achievements of these women provide excellent inspiration for the many women competing at all levels in sport today. We have the chance to go out and prove what we can do – the rest is up to us." (Paula Radcliffe, British Women’s Team Captain, Sydney Olympics 2000)

The women who took part in the Olympics in the early years of this century had to fight to win a place at the Games.

Authors Stephanie Daniels and Anita Tedder tell the story of this struggle, and introduce some of the unforgettable characters who shaped female sporting history. Women like glamorous swimmer Eleanor Holm, who trained on champagne and partied all night before winning races. American fencer Joanna de Tuscan, enticed to audition for the lead in ‘Gone With The Wind’, who had to flee when a Hollywood mogul invited her to cross swords on his casting couch. German javelin thrower, Tilly Fleischer, invited to dine with Hitler. Scottish swimmers Cissie Stewart and Jean McDowell, bound by friendship but locked in fierce competition with each other. And the sad story of sprinter Stella Walsh, who ran as a woman but died as a man.

A Proper Spectacle reveals the hidden history of the women who competed before the Second World War and celebrates a hundred years of women’s Olympic achievement.