Search magnifier
Request a 2018 prospectus

Dr Martin Polley explores the 'gender equal' games.

25th March 4-5pm

Dr Martin Polley will be exploring the issues of gender in sport and in particular the Olympics, in a seminar held in Holts 1 on 25th March.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Sport at the University of Southampton, and is the author of:

  • Moving the Goalposts: a history of sport and society since 1945 (Routledge, 1998)
  • Sports History: a practical guide (Palgrave, 2007)
  • The British Olympics: Britain’s Olympic heritage, 1612-2012 (English Heritage, 2011) 

He has also recently been commissioned by Palgrave to write a book on the women of the 1908 Olympic Games. He has written articles and book chapters on many aspects of sports history, including politics, professionalism, national identity, and the Olympic Games, and he is an editor of the journal Sport in History. He is a regular broadcaster on sporting issues, and has contributed to news and documentary programmes on television and radio stations in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Summary of talk:

The organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games, held in London, boasted that these were the first 'gender equal' games in history. In such a context, it is useful to look back at how gender issues have been played out at past Olympic Games. This seminar, based on my current research, will explore this issues through a case study London's first Olympics, those of 1908. The paper will look at the sports that were open to women, the numbers of women who competed, women's roles in ceremonies and displays, and the artistic representation of women on Olympic medals and certificates. It will also look at the legacy of women's participation at London 1908.