History in the making: London 1948 to Tokyo 1964 via Cambridge
Charles "Ian" Mcmillan Jones (St John’s 1955)
To listen to Ian Jones’s memories of the Olympics is to get a glimpse of sporting history. As a teenager, Ian (known by his initials, CIM) attended the Austerity Games: the 1948 London Olympics. He watched “The Flying Housewife” – Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen, a 30-year-old mother of three who took four gold medals – and saw “Gentle Giant” Arthur Wint become the first Jamaican to win Olympic gold.
CIM was an Olympian himself at the 1960 Rome Games, where he came tantalisingly close to a bronze in hockey, and also at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. In 1972 he was a spectator at the Munich Games, and recalls both the outstanding sport and the shock of the Munich Massacre. “We were on the fringe of it,” he says. “On the fifth [of September] I played a match against the German Olympic reserves, then the next day attended the memorial service in the main stadium for the victims.”
Sport has always had an important role in CIM’s life – his mother was a hockey player and his father a keen cricketer. “I spent much of my childhood on the Stevenage ground, graduating from pushing the roller, to scorer, to player,” he says. While on National Service, CIM “played a lot of hockey, too, on barrack squares!” At St John’s, where he read Geography, he became a hockey Blue, and played cricket twice for Cambridge. “In hockey, Frank Reynolds was a marvellous centre half. He really enjoyed his hockey and there was always a wicked twinkle in his eyes.”
He has been deeply influenced by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, who believed that sport should be about taking part, not just winning. CIM’s own Olympic stories evoke a sportsman who participated to the full. In Tokyo he and his colleagues had supper on their knees in the homes of hospitable local athletes; in Rome they attended the opera; at a pre-Olympic tournament in Munich they drank at the beer halls (and, fortunately, didn’t have to play the next day). Likewise, at Cambridge, says CIM, “we took our sport seriously, no doubt about it. But the fun we had out of it was enormous: so many happy memories, of so many marvellous people.”
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