All-Around Men: Heroes of a Forgotten Sport

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The All-Around was a one-day, ten-event track and field contest of endurance, speed, and strength that was the forerunner to the modern decathlon. Its heyday stretched from the American Civil War to World War I during which its champions were generally well known and highly esteemed figures. After the decathlon was introduced in the 1912 Olympic Games, however, the All-Around was soon forced into the background. The event vanished early in the 20th century before it made a brief comeback after World War II, creating an athletic subculture for dozens of athletes who kept it alive until its final demise in 1977. The careers of these early amateurs are highlighted in biographical sketches of the 22 greatest All-Around men. The book covers the great touring professional Highlander athletes, Donald Dinnie and Princeton's George Goldie, whose careers did much to popularize multi-event contests from the 1860s to the 1880s. Zarnowski also profiles Malcolm Ford, Hollywood cowboy Fred C. Thomson, Avery Brundage (later president of the International Olympic Committee), and the legendary Jim Thorpe. The story of the post-WWII All-Arounder, Bob Richards the "Vaulting Vicar" of Wheaties fame, is also included. The lives and careers of these men - as well as the event itself - are finally given the treatment they deserve in this richly detailed book, which includes more than 20 photos. It will hold great appeal to sports historians, 19th century historians, and the fans, athletes, and coaches of modern day track and field.

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Scarecrow Press
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