Focus on Sports Medicine

Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport

July 19, 201515 min
Host: John J. Russell, MD

In the late 19th century, America’s most popular spectator sport drew thousands of fans, created celebirty athletes, endured scandals for performance-enhancing drugs, and opened doors for immigrants, African Americans, and women. But this sport wasn’t baseball, boxing, or horseracing—it was competitive walking. Dr. John Russell speaks with Matthew Algeo, author of Pedestrianism, about competitive walking’s peculiar appeal and popularity, its rapid demise, and its enduring influence in American spectator sports.

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