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The announcement that it has been found necessary to postpone the opening of the French College of Athletics at Rheims from May 1 to some date in July recalls to notice a rather remarkable development in athletics, and one which will be followed with attention by all who are interested in the perennial question of brawn in its relation to brain.
Hitherto athletics have been rather sparsely followed in France, no one participating except he who went in for the love of it, for no recognition of even a private nature has been accorded to victors in the several fields. Consequently France has been making a poor showing at the Olympic games in comparison with such nations as Japan or Chile, and has been forced to rely on one young lady to uphold her prestige in tennis.
To remedy this and to provide a course of instruction for trainers and teachers as well as to investigate problems of physical education the College of Athletics has been established at Rheims where, under a committee composed of such men as Auguste Rodin and the Marquis de Polignac, a stadium, gymnasium, and pool have been built and field and track events provided for. It is intended to make this permanent, as well as to provide French contestants for the games of 1916.
The experiment will be watched with no little care for there are two or three important points involved. The question of amateurism and professionalism is bound to arise as well as the problem of commercialism. To intercollegiate athletes who are accustomed to look upon these matters as pastimes primarily this elaborate system of public athletic education will perhaps seem a little overdone. The relation between the movements which seems to be very popular, and the remarkable vigor now being displayed by France in various other lines--philosophy and international politics for example--may not be overlooked.
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