I came across the story of Violet Walrond, our first female Olympian, who went to the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. It is a lovely but rather sad story of a young woman who probably never fulfilled her sporting potential. Against her were the conventions of the times, the tyranny of distance (9 weeks on a boat just to get to the games) and a lack of proper coaching.
The golden girls who grace our television screens today as rowers, hockey players, swimmers and track and field athletes, in some ways have it easier and owe a lot to Violet’s pioneering courage (she was only 15 when she travelled across the world to the games). Interestingly her friend and fellow competitor was a Cantabrian Gwitha Shand who went to the 1924 Paris Olympics.
If you are interested in exploring aspects of the Olympics we have several pages to help you.