When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport
By Matthew Algeo
(Chicago Review Press, Hardcover, 9781613743973, 262pp.)
Publication Date: April 2014
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
This long-forgotten sport, known as pedestrianism, spawned America's first celebrity athletes and opened doors for immigrants, African Americans, and women. The top pedestrians earned a fortune in prize money and endorsement deals. But along with the excitement came the inevitable scandals, charges of doping--coca leaves --and insider gambling. It even spawned a riot in 1879 when too many fans showed up at New York's Gilmore's Garden, later renamed Madison Square Garden, and were denied entry to a widely publicized showdown."Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport" chronicles competitive walking's peculiar appeal and popularity, its rapid demise, and its enduring influence, and how pedestrianism marked the beginning of modern spectator sports in the United States.
Huge crowds packed arenas to watch the world's best pedestrians walk in circles for six days at a time. And trainers encouraged the athletes to drink champagne â�� at the time considered a stimulant. More at NPR.org
NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.