The Olympics and Paralympics on air
Oral histories are significant research sources, and are used – and collected - by researchers from a number of different academic disciplines. The British Library is an important archive and disseminator of these narratives and has been active in fostering the collection of such materials in other institutions, both in the UK and abroad.
Among the oral history collections held at the British Library are a number of interviews with athletes. These have been collected over the past twenty years and include interviews with track, field and road competitors as well as tennis players, fencers, canoeists and swimmers. Also included are unique interviews with those involved in the coaching of sport, as well as those who have witnessed historic sporting events such as the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
Sebastian Coe and Tanni Grey-Thompson speak about their experiences as Olympic & Paralympic gold medallists. Joining them are Daley Thompson, Mary Peters, Geoff Capes and many others. There are also speakers whose names might be less familiar, such as that of Bill Roberts, winner of the gold medal in the 4x400m relay in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and Sybil Canadine who refused to swim for Great Britain at this controversial Games.
For the first time, these ‘sporting voices’ are available on the British Library’s website for everyone to hear. Click here, to listen.