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The Greatest Sportsman to have ever lived

By:   |   Jul 08, 2018   |   Views: 29   |   Comments: 0
Charles Burgess (C.B.) Fry was born in Croydon on 25th April 1872. He has been referred to as 'The Greatest Sportsman to have ever lived', and 'The Superman't - huge praise indeed, but does he live up to the nicknames?

Fry proved himself to be a brilliant scholar as well as an athlete during his time at Repton Public School and Wadham College Oxford, to which he had won a scholarship. During his time at Oxford he gained 12 sporting Blues and in one year he captained the football, cricket and athletic teams. Such dedication to sport earned him the nickname 'Almighty' and 'Lord Oxford'. At the same time he was also playing rugby for his university, Blackheath and the Barbarians. And we really don't know where he found the time but he was also a good boxer, golfer, tennis player, javelin thrower, sculler and swimmer.

He became a professional footballer when he was signed to Southampton and reached the FA Cup Final with them in 1901/02. He impressed the powers that be so much during his debut match against Tottenham Spurs that he was picked to play for England in a match against Ireland.

He equalled the world long jump record with a 23 foot 6.5 inch jump in 1893. With no formal training in long jumping he was so blas?bout the event that he prepared for the jump by smoking a cigar and resumed smoking it on completing the jump!

At the London White City Stadium Fry won both the long jump and the 100 yards sprint, at the world's first international athletics event. It is thought that he was more than capable of winning medals (more than likely gold) at the 1896 Olympics, but he was too busy in South Africa with the England cricket team. Cricket was most definitely the sport that Fry excelled in the most. He captained both Sussex and England, and England never lost when he was in charge. He scored 94 first-class centuries as well as six consecutive centuries - a record that still stands today. His career batting average was 50, and in 1901 he totalled 3147 runs, an average of 78 runs per innings.

It was not just in sport that Fry excelled - he was director of training ship Mercury and turned boys into naval men; the founder and star journalist of Fry's magazine, a publication aimed at young men for whom Fry was a hero; a deputy and speechwriter for the Indian delegation at the League of Nations and he also stood as Liberal candidate for Parliament in Brighton. It was while he was working for the League of Nations that he was offered the vacant throne of Albania! He didn't take the role as he would have needed an income of £10,000 a year and Fry was always short of money so didn't exactly fit the profile! He also wrote cricket books, a bestselling novel and an autobiography!

In 1921 he again appeared for Sussex against the visiting Australians, scoring 59 and 37 in the two innings. The England selectors asked Fry to captain the national side but at 49 years of age he declined the offer and retired from cricket altogether. Fry died in 1956 and in our opinion definitely deserves the title of greatest sportsman to have ever lived

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