The attitude that inspired Olympic success

The famous German world record holder Dr. Otto Peltzer visited Lancaster Park, with a young athletic protégé, for a race meeting in 1930. He was heavily criticised in local media for his temperamental behaviour. He was rude and demanding. He refused to compete unless race distances, start times and handicaps were to his liking. However, during his visit he addressed young Canterbury runners on the science of running. One of his students was Jack Lovelock, who had just turned 20. Lovelock embraced Peltzer’s philosophies – later being referred to as the first ‘modern’ athlete for the way he understood his body and the strategy of running. Peltzer and Lovelock frequency exchanged letters and met up over the years. The relationship inspired Lovelock’s 1936 Olympic dream. Thus, a lamentable visit to Lancaster Park contributed greatly to NZ Olympic success. (Peltzer was later jailed for his homosexuality – a fact that Lovelock was blissfully unaware of).