The Launch of 'A Proper Spectacle'
The launch of 'A Proper Spectacle' was held on Sunday March 19th at Bedford Athletic Stadium - and what a wonderful time was had by all! Seven of the women featured in the book made the journey to attend. From the Berlin Olympics of 1936, Dorothy Tyler (nee Odam) high jumper silver medalist, Audrey Court (nee Brown) sprinter and relay silver medalist, Brenda Halligan (nee Crowe) member of the British gymnastics team all shared stories about Hitler and their amazing time together. Canadian high jump bronze medalist from 1932, Eva Spinks (nee Dawes) enthralled everyone with her stories about Babe Didrikson and we all discussed Did Babe dive or didnt she?
The Deputy Mayor welcomed the women to Bedford and Steph and I said a few words about our experience of writing the book. There were some hard bits - acknowledging the families of women who had died (some of whom were with us) was not easy. Steph read some of the messages that we had received - one in particular stood out from Domnitsa Cavanidou (Greek athlete from 1936) who said that she was so pleased with our work and that she saw A Proper Spectacle as "Our book", inferring that the book belonged to all Olympic women.
The foreword for 'A Proper Spectacle' has been written by Bedfords star athlete, Paula Radcliffe, who was running in Portugal and could not attend. Everyone present appreciated the fact that Paula had taken the time to send a message which Jenni Mills read on Paulas behalf:"I hope you all enjoy the launch. It has been a pleasure to be involved with this book which highlights the importance of women's involvement in sports and the Olympic movement. Without the dedication of some very determined and talented women, the sportswomen of today would not be able to enjoy near sporting equality. Today we have the chance to compete in the Olympic arena and show what we are capable of, it is easy to take this for granted and forget the struggle others had to get us to this level. Enjoy the book!"