Founded in 1887 and celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2012, the
Boston Athletic Association is one of the oldest sports
organizations in America. It's best known today for its signature
annual event, the Boston Marathon, which is the third-largest
marathon and attracts tens of thousands of participants and
worldwide media coverage. But the B.A.A. has also been amazingly
prescient in anticipating what would become one of the major social
trends of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: the
modern fitness movement. Consider some of the B.A.A.'s firsts:
Nine out of the fourteen members of the US team participating in
the modern Olympic Games in Athens (1896) were B.A.A. athletes.The
B.A.A. launched the first US marathon, the Boston Marathon, in
1897.The B.A.A. pioneered and actively promoted many of today's
popular sports, including football and water polo.The original
B.A.A. club house, in the historic Back Bay section of Boston, is
the precursor of today's health club.
Still, the B.A.A. story is not simply one of athletic
achievements and firsts. It's also the dramatic story of people and
the times in which they lived--a social history that unfolds in
nineteenth-century Boston but takes readers around the world, up to
the present, and includes a large and international cast of
characters. A wonderfully illustrated history, "The ""B.A.A. at
125" highlights the Boston Athletic Association's important role in
American sports history.
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