Olympic flyfishing? We start from a low base

If you’re a fellow-connoisseur of sport in the days before big business sanitised the hell out of it, this account of the last London Olympics, in 1908, is a treasure chest of minutiae and eccentricity.

It’s flyfishing  content, however, is outstanding:

“[The Games] started in April and ended in October which was not good news for the swimmers as the water in the open air 100 metre pool went unchanged throughout.

Halfway through, it was also used for the International Fly Fishing Championships.”

Putting aside the idea of competitive fishing’s pinnacle being fought out in a swimming pool, one question nags me as I contemplate an environment awash with six months’ accumulated body fluids, dead insects and the odd mislaid Greenwell’s Glory.

Had he been born a century earlier, would Michael Phelps have had the stomach for a second gold medal bid, never mind an eighth…?

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