With the London 2012 Olympic Games only days away, sporting fever is gripping the nation. Even CTS is part of Olympic history. A CTS General Secretary was a double Olympic champion.
John Pius Boland attended the first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896 as a spectator. A friend, one of the organisers, asked him if he wanted to compete in the tennis tournament. Boland accepted the invitation and won both the men’s singles and doubles titles!
He beat Friedrich Traun of Germany in the first round, Evangelos Rallis of Greece in the second, Konstantinos Paspatis of Greece in the semifinals, and Dionysios Kasdaglis of Egypt in the final.
He then went on, together with the German he had defeated, Friedrich Traun, to win the doubles competition.
Returning to northern Europe, John Pius Boland’s career was in the law, then he became an MP for the Irish Parliamentary Party.
In 1926, he became General Secretary of the CTS, remaining in the post until 1947. His tenure saw the opening of the CTS bookshop near Westminster Cathedral in London in his first year, a move to Eccleston Square, where the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales now resides, and the hardships of publishing during and after World War II due to paper rationing.
He received a papal knighthood, becoming a Knight of St. Gregory in recognition for his work in Education, and in 1950 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Laws by the National University of Ireland that he had helped found.
He died at his home in London on St. Patrick’s Day 1958.
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