The Tokyo Olympics is underway and certainly, there is a constant buzz about the athletes displaying their fiefdom and achieving incredible heights. The sporting carnival is home to varied sports and when we think of it probably cricket would be the last thing we will imagine when it comes to the Olympics. The fact is when one ponders about cricket, the Test mace and the World Cup trophies strike our thoughts. But have we ever pictured cricket as a medal sport being played at the Olympics?
Well, cricket and Olympics had combined their stories once in the 1900 Paris Olympics. Great Britain and France had locked horns against each other for the only cricket match played at the Olympic Games. The game was a low-scoring one and was played across the period of two days. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) which was set up in 1894 had earlier tried including cricket in the Olympics during the 1896 Athens Games, but the plan didn’t reap any reward as there weren’t enough teams to participate.
Winding Back In Clock – Who won a medal in Cricket at the Olympics?
Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium were supposed to be the teams participating in the Olympics but Netherlands and Belgium pulled out after their bids to co-host the event did not come to the fore. After a lot of things swirling around, the match was finally scheduled between August 19 and 20 at the Velodrome de Vincennes which is a cycling venue.
Cricket taking the center stage at the Olympics is in itself a fascinating idea. And a few more interesting elements adding to the setting wouldn’t boil down as a surprise. 24 players were involved in the match, 12 from each team and none of the players had gone on to represent their national teams in the past. Only two of the players had actually played first-class cricket.
Alfred Bowerman and Montagu Toller of Great Britain stole the show with their all-round display as the team secured victory by 158 runs. In the second innings of the match, Great Britain’s Bowerman and Charles Beachcroft hit half-centuries and were the only two players to do so in the match. Frederick Christian scalped seven wickets in the first innings and Montagu Toller registered the figures of 7-9 in the second innings as France could manage to score 104 runs in both innings combined.
Great Britain won the silver medal whereas France was awarded the bronze medal. In the year 1912, these medals were converted into gold and silver and the match was marked as the official Summer Games event.