There’s nothing Australians love better than a sporting hero, except perhaps giving that hero a gentle ribbing for having the temerity to outstrip the rest of us. From the Jumping Doc and his ‘Peltzer flinch’ to late nineteenth century fashion on the field (knitted jumper, anyone?), the great H.G. ‘battered sav’ Nelson heads trackside once more to scrutinise the efforts of some of Australia’s finest athletes. In this broad-reaching commentary, readers will join him to speculate about the complex rules of roller derby, reminisce fondly about the good old days on the Hill at the SCG and delight in a rare snap of that most famous of underground sports, shotgun tennis.
Alongside H.G.’s incisive commentary are images of some of Australia’s finest sporting achievements from the National Library’s vast Pictures Collection and obscure truths about Australia’s national pastimes. Did you know that completing a 2,000 metre rowing race is the physiological equivalent of playing two basketball games back-to-back? That many ballet positions are derived from those of fencing? That, in 1952, one cheeky wrestler slid down the gilt banister of the main staircase in Buckingham Palace while visiting the Queen?
A mix of facts and humourous observations, this book will educate readers a little and amuse them a lot.