Mr. Moritz Rasmussen, of Copenhagen, a member of the National Amateur Athletic Association of Denmark, arrived at the University yesterday, to study our system of athletic training. He will remain at Harvard during the spring months, after which he will go to Yale and Columbia, before returning to Denmark.
Mr. Rasmussen, at one time amateur champion weight thrower of Denmark and present amateur champion discus-thrower, has been sent to this country by the Danish government to study the methods of our athletic system, so that upon his return to Denmark he may employ the results of his investigations in bettering athletic conditions in his native country. Mr. Rasmussen will coach the team which is to represent Denmark in the Olympic games in 1912.
The athletic systems of the two countries differ in many respects. In Denmark, much more attention is paid to the all-around development of the body than in this country. Much attention is given to such athletics as gymnastics and wrestling. From the time the boys and girls enter primary school they are systematically instructed by trained experts along these lines, with the result that by the time they graduate from the secondary schools they are physically well developed.
A curious feature of the athletic system in Denmark is the fact that there are no sports connected with the universities and colleges. The college students often form clubs, or join other amateur associations, but they never represent the colleges in athletic contests.
Association football, field and ice hockey, rowing and swimming are the most common sports, the first especially being much more highly developed than in this country. All of these teams are strictly amateur, professional athletics being unknown in Denmark.
Both men and women take part in inter-urban games, and teams are often made up of both. In general athletics are taken up with great system, more as a science than as a mere pastime. Each school has its own gymnasium and its own instructor, who has made a careful study of his work. As a result, the physical development of the average Dane is excellent.