Van het sportveld naar het slagveld
Belgische sportmannen in de Groote Oorlog
Vanmeerbeek, R. (2016). Van het sportveld naar het slagveld: Belgische sportmannen in de Groote Oorlog. Leuven: Fonds Baillet Latour.
Group Captain (retired) Roger Vanmeerbeek, doctor in kinesiology, multiple Belgian badminton champion and vice president of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee is a specialist of military sports. Within the context of the Great War Centenary, he has dedicated himself to write the story of Belgian top sportsmen called up for service during this world conflict. During the four years of the trench warfare on the Yser in Flanders some 300.000 Belgian soldiers fought there in the front line. The author searched to identify all of the top sportsmen who were involved in the war and devoted himself to write their biographies based on the most reliable available sources. Black and white photographs illustrate the work. Not less than 44 Olympic medal winners, 43 Olympic participants and 94 non-Olympic sportsmen were identified. Many of these athletes - among them legendary figures such as Victor Boin, Philippe Thys, Jan Olieslager and Constant-le-Marin - were volunteer soldiers. Some of them have been genuine heroes, decorated with major distinctions, both national and international. Other comrades did not survive, or were wounded, or remained handicapped for life. Football has undergone notable development during the conflict. The military authorities had ordered all commanders of units to make up football teams. This resulted in tens of thousands young men who got initiated into this sport behind the front, during rest and recovery periods. A national military soccer team, called the 'Front Wanderers', was created and it contested matches with teams of the other allied armies. Not less than five veterans of the Great War lined up in de Belgian soccer national team that took the gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1920 in Antwerp.
Uitgever(s): Fonds Baillet Latour,