History

In 1850 Local surgeon William Penny-Brookes (1809 - 1895), who introduced physical education into British schools, inspired the fore-runner of the modern Olympic Games for the "promotion of moral, physical and intellectual improvement" and although the Game's venue is now decided by international committee rather than by the Wenlock Olympian Society, we still hold our own Olympics here every July - the other Olympics are also doing quite well too!

"The old woman's" race for a pound of tea may yet be re-introduced!

William Penny Brookes vision for the Olympic Games is hailed as one of modern sports greatest achievements. Of course, Baron de Coubertin was inspired to create the global event after a visit to the games in Much Wenlock.

Coubertin discussed how the Wenlock games might be translated on to a bigger, international stage.

The influential and wealthy Frenchman was suitably inspired and shared Brookes' dream of a modern, international games. The first games of the modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), visited Much Wenlock in 1994 and laid a wreath at Brookes' grave.

"I came to pay homage and tribute to Dr Brookes, who really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games."


Video


The Modern Olympic Games


The 2012 Olympic Mascot, Wenlock, was created to celebrate the fact that the modern Olympic movement all started in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

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