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Blue Blood on the Mat

The All-In Wrestling Story

Blue Blood on the Mat by Athol Oakley
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The story of Athol Oakley, one of the greatest wrestlers of our time, and the bloody world of wrestling in the early 1900s. Athol worked himself up from a five stone teenager to a 15 stone world wrestling champion, fighting in thousands of bouts around the world.
Summersdale Publishers Ltd.; Read online
Title: Blue Blood on the Mat
Author: Athol Oakley; Geoff Thompson
This story provides, I believe, an original example of domination of mind over matter. Together with the forces of hereditary ability, this enabled me, a person totally unfitted by nature to be a heavyweight fighter, to reach the top of the profession at that weight. Providentially born into a family renowned for many famous men and women, I probably inherited my desire to excel in athletics from my grandfather, Sir Charles Oakeley, who took a great interest in the Prize Ring, and was himself an amateur heavyweight prize fighter of some repute. Sir Charles had a passion for setting up athletic records and, when an undergraduate, once drove a ‘four in hand’ from Hyde Park Corner to Carfax in Oxford, with only one change of horses, in six and a quarter hours. In the days when badminton was all the rage he and his brother, without stopping and without dropping it, hit a shuttlecock seventeen thousand five hundred times over the net! On my mother’s side we have the mate to Morgan the pirate as an ancestor. A master sailor and a man of great size and strength, his hereditary influence has come out in my son John Oakeley, whose sailing championship victories are remarkable both in number and variety. My father sent me to boarding school when I was six. At eight I went to Packwood Haugh, a school at that time famous for turning out many great athletes. The headmaster, a Balliol Scholar, was also Blues. Such a school naturally attracted the sons of many famous athletes. Until I was eleven I had taken no interest whatever in any game. My only reputation was as an undersized fighter of some ferocity. I had recently read Lorna Doone, and the magnificent account of the fight between John Ridd and Carver Doone had a deep and lasting effect on me which I retain to this day. Possibly carried away by these heroes I dislocated the thumb of the late Lord Birdwood and was nearly expelled. This unfortunate episode pro tem. ended my fighting career. However, at about that time the example of a young South African cricket prodigy, J. D. Wyatt-Smith, fired me with enthusiasm for other sports: I never looked back.

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