Imagine that gold medallists such as Usain Bolt, Andy Murray, Michael Phelps, Greg Van Avermaet, Marianne Vos, Serena Williams,… have to go to war and die. What would we think? This is what happened during World War I in Flanders Fields. Many Olympians didn’t survive.
‘Olympians in Flanders Fields’ tells the stories of the lives of some Olympians, to make the madness of war understandable. These men are a symbol of a lost, young and promising generation. On the headstone of the Olympic athlete in Loker one can read ‘resurgam’ (I will rise again). This is the aim of the book.
Sports heroes who continue to live through their achievement records, their performances affect us. They competed during the Olympic Games of 1908 and 1912. However, in 1914 the Great War began. The retrospective of their sporting career is in real contrast to their death in Flanders Fields.
To bridge them with current Olympians Els Callens, Dirk Crois, Frédérik Deburghgraeve, Nils Duerinck, Kim Gevaert, Tia Hellebaut, Karel Lismont, Gaston Roelants, Patrick Sercu, Gella Vandecaveye and Ulla Werbrouck brought a message of peace, and highlight the futility of war.
With this book we hope to raise awareness of the impact of the Great War within the ranks of Olympians to society and especially to the younger generation.
‘The authors give the reader beautiful life stories of Olympians who died in Flanders Fields during the First World War.’ Honorary President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge.
Hopefully, this book will prompt generations, who thankfully never had to experience world conflict, to reflect on the insanity and futility of war, which never brings peace. Minister-President of the Government of Flanders Geert Bourgeois.
Wannes Cappelle and Robin Aerts wrote the song ‘Spelen in Berlin’ for this book. Luka Bloom translated the song.