Shropshire Praised for Role in the Birth of the Modern Olympics

Shropshire Praised for Role in the Birth of the Modern Olympics

The Shropshire market town of Much Wenlock has been praised by cabinet Minister Tessa Jowell and Olympic Gold medallist Jonathan Edwards for its status as the birthplace of the modern Olympics.

Speaking at an event at the Olympic Park in London, Tessa Jowell said, “We owe an enormous debt to Much Wenlock. When I went there I was incredibly struck by the determination in the town to keep the Olympic Spirit alive. We shall be celebrating all over the country but nowhere more so in Much Wenlock”.

Shropshire will now have an enhanced connection with the 2010 London Olympics with
the new Olympic Park due to feature a garden designed by two amateur garden designers. The garden, which will eventually be developed by professional landscape gardeners,   features a De Coubertin oak tree, a direct descendant of an oak tree in Much Wenlock and currently being nurtured at Kew Gardens.

Also commenting, Jonathan Edwards said, “I knew nothing about the link between Much Wenlock and the Olympics until I visited the town and saw the letters exchanged between William Penny Brookes and Pierre De Coubertin. Now it is becoming well known throughout the World”.

Much Wenlock’s most famous son Dr William Penny Brookes who introduced physical education into British schools inspired the fore-runner of the modern Olympic Games and today the town celebrates its Olympic connections with its annual Wenlock Olympian Games held in July and the  Wenlock Olympian Trail around the town.

For more information on Much Wenlock and its Olympic connections click here.

Date Posted: 2nd December 2009

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