May 29, 2012
-- Have you ever wondered how athletics began? Activities like running and javelin throwing have been around for thousands of years while the first recorded high jump took place in Scotland as late as the 19th Century. When they first started, the activities that we now know as modern athletics were necessary for survival and were only a distant likeness of the highly-regulated sports we see on TV today. An example of this is the javelin, both used by the Ancient Greek army and by athletes in the same time period. However, the javelin thrown by athletes was much lighter so that it could be thrown farther, while the military javelin was heavy and designed to pierce armour and kill.
A student at Loughborough University has launched the first-of-a-kind design brand inspired by the origins of modern athletics. Michael Bironneau, a maths PhD student at Loughborough and avid runner, created a series of designs that make up the brand The Games: Origins. He originally got the idea after reflecting on the way that technology changes sport, how what we know as athletics today once served different purposes and athletic proficiency could mean the difference between life and death. Loughborough University has a strong tradition of sporting culture. It has been chosen as a base for team GB and team Japan for the forthcoming olympic games.
The main designs revolve around the javelin, hurdles, long jump, sprints, and high jump, many of which had military influence. Often lending themselves to dramatisation and artistic liberty, they depict athletes performing their sport under completely different circumstances to those we are used to seeing today - a hunter hurdling his way over an obstacle to escape an angry predator, or a hoplite long jumping over a phalanx to attack an enemy (inspired by a scene from the film "300").
The Games: Origins is a newly launched UK design brand that sells T Shirts and posters based on the origins of modern athletics. All designs can be found at http://store.gameorigins.co.uk