Mario Alighiero MANACORDA
La morte di un amico Maestro
Un gravissimo lutto ha colpito il mondo della cultura: il 17 febbraio 2013 è venuto a mancare il professor Mario Alighiero Manacorda, insigne studioso di storia dello sport, oltre che di storia dell’educazione, storia della letteratura e storia del pensiero politico.
Molti di noi lo ricordano, non solo per aver studiato sui suoi libri, per essere stati in qualche modo suoi allievi, ma anche per averlo conosciuto nelle sue numerose presenze a convegni, seminari, incontri di studio, lezioni all’Università ma anche a scuola. Il prof. Manacorda rispondeva, infatti, agli inviti negli Istituti scolastici e andava volentieri a fare lezione in essi. Lo avevo personalmente invitato all’Istituto Magistrale “Caetani” (oggi liceo linguistico e delle scienze umane) di Roma, la mia scuola per più di 20 anni che precedentemente era stata anche la sua. Egli era stato infatti docente alle scuole superiori prima di passare nei ruoli universitari, e in quell’occasione si disse emozionato di tornare tra i banchi della sua scuola.
Quello di Manacorda era un sapere eclettico. Volendosi mantenere nell’ambito di nostra competenza, le sue conoscenze spaziavano dalla storia dell’agonistica antica a quello dello sport contemporaneo, con un incredibile numero di reminiscenze letterarie. Citava a memoria, specie Dante, ma non solo il sommo Poeta. Qualche anno fa, quando gli facemmo visita durante un ricovero al Policlinico Umberto I, lo trovammo alle prese con Dante, con una delle sue tante citazioni, mentre la declamava ai medici. Ci dissero che la citazione più lunga l’aveva fatta in attesa dell’anestesia e che dopo, al suo risveglio, la aveva continuata.
Questa sapienza letteraria lo ha connotato come uno dei maggiori conoscitori di letteratura italiana sportiva. Il fratello Giuliano, di 4 anni più giovane, aveva scritto una poderosa Storia della letteratura italiana, e lui un’altrettanto poderosa Storia dell’educazione, per l’editore Laterza, dove aveva prestato un’attenzione particolare e inusuale all’educazione fisica. Mario Alighiero aveva capito infatti il valore fondamentale del corpo nella formazione dei giovani. Un corpo che va educato e formato rispettando i ritmi della crescita, ma anche permettendo ad esso di svilupparsi con un tempo scolastico al lui dedicato, pari a quello dell’educazione intellettuale. Per questo lo ricorderemo come uno dei fautori della cultura sportiva più convinti del panorama italiano. Convinto non solo per passione, ma anche perché riusciva a concretizzare questa sua ferma consapevolezza riconoscendo centrale nell’educazione del giovane un metodo in cui l’educazione fisica è basilare. Per questo motivo lo invitavamo sempre ai nostri convegni, sapevamo che, dall’alto della sua Accademia, ci avrebbe difesi, avrebbe difeso cioè l’umanesimo delle Scienze motorie, che molti dei suoi colleghi, invece, tendevano a non considerare. Invitato, veniva sempre volentieri, con generosità, non so quanti suoi scritti ci ha consegnato nel tempo, partecipando a diversi convegni del CESH, ma anche agli incontri di studio romani, a volte periferici, senza fare differenze tra di essi. Una volta ci siamo trovati a parlare di valori nello sport in una biblioteca scolastica di Roma, a Tor Tre Teste. Non importava che fosse Università o liceo o periferia, Mario A. Manacorda era sempre disponibile ad intervenire e sempre incantava la platea. Una perdita che ci ha profondamente addolorati. Il suo ricordo resterà in noi come viva testimonianza delle valenze della nostra cultura sportiva.
Società Italia di Storia dello Sport (Roma)
John A. LUCAS
CESH International Honorary Fellow John Apostal Lucas, Track & Field expert, Olympic Historian and Penn State Professor Emeritus died on 9 November 2012. He was 84. John had three overlapping careers as athlete, coach and researcher/professor.
John Lucas was born in Boston, MA on 24 December 1927. Both parents had immigrated to the US from Albania. His father Apostal Llukka anglicized the name. John graduated from the Boston English High School where he had been a successful runner. As his parents could not afford a college education for their third (of four) sons, John joined the Army in 1945 and was sent to the occupation force in South Korea first as Private, later as Corporal mainly stationed at Yeosu on the Yellow Sea. When he came back he was able to study at Boston University, School of Physical Education for Men, on the basis of the G.I. Bill. He continued to run middle and long distance for his university and received his B.A. on the top of his class in 1951. From here he went on to the University of Southern California (USC), where he was rewarded with an academic scholarship in the School of Physical Education. When the money did not suffice he helped out as stuntman and minor actor in four Hollywood movies, e.g. in Burt Lancaster’s Jim Thorpe—All-American. While at USC he also won the Southern California 10 km championships and placed seventh in the Olympic Trials for the 1952 Games.
Back at the East Coast in August 1952, with a completed M.A. in Physical Education he received a coaching assignment for track and field at the Huntington (Boston) Preparatory School for Boys, winning all 77 competitions in the following six years. After winning the state team championships in 1958 he decided to seek a doctoral program with an opportunity to coach at the college level and accepted a graduate degree opportunity at the University of Maryland. This was interrupted by a four months coaching streak for the Turkish national track team before the Rome Olympics. He led the team to many national records.
At the University of Maryland John studied with Marvin Eyler, the best American sport historian of this age. By 1962 the doctoral dissertation, Baron de Coubertin and the Formative Years of the Modern International Olympic Movement, 1883-1896 was ready. On his way to the Rome Olympics he had worked in the IOC Archives at Mon Repos, guided by Lydia Zanchi, personal secretary to Coubertin a quarter-century earlier. She also helped him to interview Coubertin’s widow in a Geneva retirement home. John was the last sport historian who had spoken to Marie Rothan Coubertin (1860-1964).
After his PhD John started as Head Track Coach at Penn State University (1962-68). After six successful years he took chances to move from the tenured position of coach to the untenured position of Associate Professor (later tenured full professor) of Sport History and Philosophy at Penn State. Together with Ronald A. Smith they converted Penn State to a power house in the study of the history of sport. His teaching was so successful that he was awarded many diplomas of merit for his teaching skills. Long after his official retirement in 1996, John taught one course at Penn State at age 82, remarkable by itself.
John became THE Olympic historian. In 1992, IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, awarded him the title of Official IOC Lecturer in 1996 he received the highest Olympic Order of Merit. John was a frequent lecturer at the IOA in Olympia and many other places around the globe were a positive notion of the Olympic Games was heard.
Over the years he (co)published 8 books and more than 220 learned papers, including Saga of American Sport (Philadelphia, Lea and Febiger, 1978), co-author Ronald A. Smith, The Modern Olympic Games (New York, A. S. Barnes, 1980), and Future of the Olympic Games (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics, 1992). John was at his best, when he could write on the history of track and field. His biographies of American Olympians, on runners like Nurmi, or the pedestrians in the nineteenth century are among the finest pieces in the history of sport. Although one may argue that his Olympic Philosophy was more influenced by Brundage than by Samaranch, John would always (and rightfully) claim that he was a fan of Coubertin, and that this was his guideline.
John attended several CESH Conferences and was co-opted as 28th (International Honorary) Fellow at Olympia in 2003, the proper place for somebody nicknamed Mr. Olympics at Penn State and elsewhere. Being a runner by heart John made it a point not only to attend every Olympic Games from 1960-2008, but also run at least one lap on the Olympic track. Over all, he ran more than 240,000 km in his life, all recorded in his running diary. Of course, he also ran with us at CESH and other conferences, and although he was older than most of us, he would never give up even on the longest of runs. Far more relevant are his contributions to people all over planet earth whose lives were influenced by a man driven like none other to uphold the ideals of Olympism… the promotion of a stronger humanity and world peace through sport. “I’m a relatively harmless, eccentric schoolteacher,” he called himself in a press interview, for us at CESH he was a good Fellow and a friend.
Since 2010, the John A. Lucas Olympic History Collection (4.5 m3) is housed at the Penn State University Archives. John was married in 1955 to Joyce and the two remained together until her passing in 2010. Since April 2012, John has lived with his son in Columbia, Missouri and will be survived by his son, Mark, granddaughter Katie and grandson, Matt.
Georg August University, Göttingen (Germany)
William James RIORDAN
The academic world lost an outstanding personality on Saturday, February 11, 2012 with the passing of Dr. Jim Riordan. After a valiant and determined battle fighting cancer, Jim died peacefully with his youngest daughter Catherine by his side. He leaves to grieve an extended family, including children Tanya, Nadine (Sean), Sean (Maya), Nathalie (Bruce), Catherine, grandchildren Marie (Matt) Perry, Chloe, Benedict Sebastian, Giselle, Imogen, Oliver, and great granddaughter Skye; siblings who know him as Bill, sisters Marilyn (Dave), Jennifer (Bob); and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces, Jim was predeceased by his brother Terry.
Jim was born in Portsmouth in 1936, grew up during World War II, and his wartime memories during those impressionable years serve as a backdrop for several novels written for young adults, including The Enemy, 2001; The Prisoner, 1999; and Sweet Clarinet, 1998. Sweet Clarinet was the recipient of the National Association of Special Education Needs (NASEN) Award and runner-up in the Whitbread Awards for the best children’s book of 1998. The Prisoner was nominated for the Carnegie Prize, for the best children/youth book written in 1999.
While Jim was a prolific writer of children’s literature, with more than 60 titles to his credit, academic scholars are most familiar with his equally expansive output of articles and books on contemporary sport. His Sport and Soviet Society: Development of Sport and Physical Education in Russia and the USSR (Cambridge University Press, 1977) remains the definitive English-language account of the development of sport in tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. Sport and Soviet Society was the publication of Dr. Riordan’s Ph.D. dissertation from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, England. His undergraduate joint honours degree in Social Science and Russian from Birmingham was the academic start of an impressive scholarly career.
Born into a traditional working class family (his grandfather was a well-respected Portsmouth chimney sweep) Jim left school to work as a postman, barman, crate stacker, railway clerk, and on weekends, as a talented double bass player. It was only with his call-up to complete his obligatory two years of national military service that his linguistic fluency blossomed. During service in the RAF he learned Russian and went on to a prestigious university career as a lecturer in Russian language. Dr. Riordan was equally fluent in French and German with an ability to present at academic conferences in any of his four languages.
Prior to his tenure as a university lecturer, in August 1961, Jim travelled to Moscow where as a member of the British Communist Party, he was enrolled in the Higher Party School for two years. It was this period in Soviet Russia that Jim fell in love with the geography, culture and people of the various republics. In fact, before the collapse of the USSR, Jim had visited every one of the 15 soviet republics, collecting stories, both written and oral. Like his youth war time impressions, this travel led to the authorship of Russian Gypsy Tales, 1986; Tales from Tartary, 1978; Tales From Central Russia, 1976; and The Mistress of the Copper Mountain: Folk Tales from the Urals, 1974.
After completing his studies at the Higher Party School, Jim stayed on in Moscow as a translator at Progress Publishers. He quickly gained the reputation as a highly skilled and competent translator and as a result, was given responsibility for the English-language editions of works written by the Russian elite of literature, such as Ivan Turgenev and his short story Mumu, and Vladimir Odoyevsky’s Old Father Frost. While translation paid the bills, sport was always the subject of choice for Jim, be it as a footballer or badminton player with the Spartak Sports society, a freelance correspondent covering the latest Moscow sports event for the British press, or hours spent in the Lenin Library perusing historical records of the development of organized sport in the county.
He returned to Britain in 1965, first as a lecturer in Russian at Portsmouth Polytechnic and then with the Centre for East European and Russian Studies, University of Birmingham (1968). While at Birmingham, Jim accepted a permanent lectureship at the University of Bradford in 1971. He remained at Bradford, for 18 years, gaining promotion as Professor of Russian Studies. In 1989, Jim returned to the south of England and his beloved Portsmouth, having been appointed Professor and Head of the School of Language and International Studies, University of Surrey. While at Surrey, Dr. Riordan earned a fellowship from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and expanded his workload to include Directorship of the International Sports Studies Centre. He taught at Surrey until his retirement as Emeritus Professor in 2002, but remained academically active with appointments as Honorary Professor in Sport Studies, University of Stirling, Scotland (2003) and Visiting Professor in Sport Studies, University of Worcester (2006).
An accomplished administrator, Jim Riordan was awarded the ISHPES Award in 1999 as a tribute to his lifelong record of research in sport history. Jim held the presidency of the European Committee for Sports History (CESH) from 2003 to 2005 and was the president of CESH’s College of Fellows from 2007 to 2009. In 1992, the Université des Langues et Lettres de Grenoble presented him with the Diplôme de Docteur Honoris Causa. His organizational skills and fluency in Russian led to his appointment as Attaché to the British Olympic Team for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. As prestigious as all these administrative roles were, the highlight of Jim’s administrative career arguably was his tenure as President, Portsmouth Football Club fan club for Pompey is “his team”.
The sports academic community has lost an important member of the fraternity and our collective thoughts and condolences go out to his grieving family and friends.
In bereavement and respectfully submitted,
Professor Emeritus Hart CANTELON
University of Lethbridge, Alberta (Canada)
(25 October 1925 – 19 December 2010)
Shortly before Christmas Horst Ueberhorst passed away. He was aged 85 and spent the last years of his life in retirement. Horst one of the original eleven Fellows of the College of Fellows as of Rome 1996.
For the sport historians of the ’70s and ’80s (his last monograph is of 1992) Horst was leading the way of international cooperation. His 7 volume 3737 page world history of physical education and sport (published between 1972 and ’89) covers more than one hundred countries, and he assured that the more than one hundred scholars had a chance to discuss. It helped laying the basis for truly worldwide connections of sport historians and covered some countries for the first time. Although much of his historical writing is dealing with political aspects, he preferred to consider himself a cultural historian. Horst was fluent in English, taught and published in the US (the Library of Congress holds 18 books of him). He could communicate in French and read Latin, but preferred English.
His own work on physical education at the NAPOLA (the Nazi elite schools) is still the standard after 40 years. His research on the worker sports movement made use of the sources available at the time and was leading the way for more research by others later on. His work on sports leaders at the Nazi period showed that he was looking for the people and their functions and actions. In his differentiated viewing of history, he was very modern.
Horst was a physical educator and had a PhD in Modern and Medieval History from the University of Bonn (1953, still aged 27). He had also studied German and Protestant Theology. He taught these four subjects at high school and PE at university, worked with the Minister of Education of his home-state of North Rhine-Westphalia, before he became the founding Dean of the Physical Education Faculty at the newly founded Ruhr-University at Bochum. He brought Gertrud Pfister, his first University Assistant, into university teaching.
Not much more than half of his 29 books deal with sport history. Andreas Luh & Edgar Beckers edited the Festschrift for his 65th birthday which contains a full bibliography until this time. Having grown up in Wattenscheid in the Ruhr area (next to Bochum), he wrote on the social history of his region, but also on the German element in the US labor movement, on the German and the German-American Turners, on von Steuben and other German-US topics, a history of rowing etc. He was one of the few Europeans to be honoured as an International Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education (as one 1979).
I meet Horst for the first time in a rehabilitation clinic in 1973. He had ruptured his Achilles tendon, demonstrating gymnastics with apparatus to his students then aged 48. I had sent him my manuscript for a series of books he had been editing and he asked me whether I had time to come down to the Black Forest to go over the manuscript with him. I went and then it took me another two years to answer all of his queries and finish my biography on Theodor Lewald in a way he would approve. His enthusiasm for sound scholarship and readability was very impressive and luckily contagious.
German sport historiography is losing a giant on whose shoulders we have been standing, European sport historiography is losing one of the corner stones of international cooperation. CESH has been honouring Horst with Annual Horst-Ueberhorst Honorary Address ever since 1997. Horst was present in Kattowice (Poland) at the 2nd CESH Congress and was very pleased that this series of world renown sport historians was started with George Eisen who had been a student of his when Horst had been guest professor at the University of Maryland. This was Horst’s last international appearance.
We will all miss him.
Prof. Dr. Arnd KRÜGER
Georg-August-University, Göttingen (Germany)
Prof. Dr. Machiko KIMURA
(21 January 1954 – 21 June 2009)
Machiko Kimura (née Mori) was an outstanding scholar of the history and philosophy of physical education. She was a student at Tokyo University of Education (1972-76), followed by her doctoral studies at Tsukuba University (1976 – 81). For this she went to Vienna for two years to work with Margarete Streicher (1891 – 1985), the famous Austrian physical educator. Machiko was Prof. Streicher’s last student and she wrote a biography and late interprÉtation of her work, the Natürliches Turnen. This unusual book demonstrated the skill to use oral as well as written and audio-visual sources and her broad knowledge of the philosophy of movement. Machiko used an historical approach to movement studies and put the work of Streicher and her collaborator Gaulhofer into the research context of her time. Looking also at the reception of the system and Streicher’s own reflection of all of this Machiko used highly successfully a triangulation approach to her sources. Her thesis was guided by Prof. Yuzo Kishino and Prof. Juriro Narita who had been a student in Vienna himself introduced her to Prof. Streicher and showed Machiko the way to sport history.
After her PhD she became professor of physical education at the Nara University of Education. She maintained a close contact to German and Austrian universities, but she was also fluent in English and was highly esteemed by her colleagues. Her main partner for comparative work was Prof. Roth at Heidelberg University with whom she developed a system of ball games. Machiko has published on ethical issues such as doping in sport, taking the historical and the distinct national contexts of the doping scene into consideration. Here her knowlegeable multi-national perspectives show her outstanding knowledge and logical thinking. She served on the highest research boards of the Japanese government and on editorial boards of national and international scientific journals. In 2006 CESH elected her into the College of Fellows.
In 1983 Machiko married Prof. Jiro Kimura (Momoyama Gakuin University), they have a daughter (27) and a son (25). Machiko’s hobby was the writing of traditional Japanese Haiku, miniature poems consisting only of a total of 17 syllables, 5, 7, 5.
“Gyoun no Ikazuchi Todorokishi Wakarekana“. (Machiko)
“Be it a farewell as if there is thunder in a morning cloud.“(Machiko)
In March 2009 Machiko was forced to retire from her university work suffering from chronic nephritis. On June 20, she had to go to the hospital, on the 21 she passed away in the midst of her family with heart failure.
CESH will always remember her as an unusual international scholar who went remarkable and daring methodological ways to find new answers to important research questions.
Hiroshima University (Japan)
Marco Fittà, socio fondatore della SISS, è morto nella notte del 30 gennaio a Verona, dopo una lunga e inesorabile malattia. Lo ricordiamo per la sua simpatia e per la creatività che lo contrastingueva, facendone un ricercatore acuto e originale. Suo campo d’azione era il gioco e i giocattoli, specie quelli d’epoca antica. Lascia tutta la sua collezione di giocattoli e un’ampia biblioteca specializzata nel settore al Museo del giocattolo a lui intitolato a Soave. Uno dei suoi ultimi interventi scientifici, tra i più apprezzati anche all’estero, lo leggiamo negli Atti del congresso CESH di Crotone (sui sistemi di assegnazione dei posti di partenza nelle corse antiche attraverso a un gioco di biglie). Alla famiglia tutta le nostre più sentite condoglianze unitamente a quelle della Società Italiana di Storia dello Sport.
a nome di tutti i soci della SISS voglio esprimere il più profondo cordoglio per la immatura scomparsa del caro Aldo. Tutti noi perdiamo una integerrima figura di studioso, di appassionato di sport, di infaticabile organizzatore culturale. Il prezioso lavoro di Aldo ci ha permesso di superare molti ostacoli e mi porta ad affermare che senza la sua tenacia la SISS non sarebbe nata. Siamo molto vicini agli amici fiorentini che con Aldo hanno partecipato per decenni alla grande avventura dello sport. A tutti loro e ai familiari di Aldo porgo a nome della SISS le più sentite condoglianze.”
Università di Roma Tor Vergata
“Mi associo al compianto per il caro amico Aldo, infaticabile studioso di sport e della sua storia. Serviranno almeno 3-4 persone per completare il lavoro da lui avviato, come di consueto, su più fronti (ricerche storiche, allestimenti di siti web di sport, organizzazione di musei e di eventi a carattere culturale o tecnico/sportivo etc.) e che il male improvviso non gli ha permesso di completare. Sarà sempre, comunque, insostituibile nei nostri cuori.”