On the day that we can see Team GB: the full list for the London 2012 Olympics, here is a nice parochial story.
What is known as Wenlock Edge, a great palisade, almost 1,000 feet high, running for 15 miles through the county of Shropshire, overlooks, near its eastern end, the tidy town of Much Wenlock. (Much Wenlock being so named, you see, to distinguish it from its even wee-er neighbor, Little Wenlock.) However, to this quaint backwater village near Wales came, in 1994, Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, the grandiose president of the International Olympic Committee.
Samaranch, an old spear carrier for Franco, was a vainglorious corporate politician, either obsequious or imperious, depending on the company, who was never much given to generosity. Yet he found his way to Much Wenlock, where he trooped out to the cemetery at Holy Trinity Church and placed a wreath on a grave there. Samaranch then declared that the man who lay at his feet beneath the Shropshire sod “really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games.”