Counting Pages of Gold in Cal's Olympic Album

Although Cal's first Olympic participant placed sixth in the long jump competition at the 1912 games in Stockholm, he paved the way for future Golden Bears-turned-gold medalists.

More than 200 Berkeley athletes and over a dozen coaches have represented the United States and other countries in the Olympics, with 72 Olympians winning gold medals.

Over the years, some Cal athletes did not ultimately qualify for final competitions, and a U.S. boycott of the 1980 games left many with dashed hopes. Still, Berkeley remains an Olympic powerhouse.

Berkeley first brought home the gold in 1920, winning a total of six golds in rugby competition. Other Cal athletes with names like Pesky Sprott, Harry Liversedge and Ludy Langer also celebrated Olympic victories that year.

Throughout the years, Cal Olympians have set--and broken--several records. Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, who won three golds in tennis in 1924, is the first and only woman to win the U.S. National singles, doubles and mixed doubles championships in one year and then go on to repeat her record for a total of three consecutive years.

And no other university or college in the world holds the distinction of having three Olympic crews, winning golds in 1928, 1932 and 1948--all under the same coach, Ky Ebright.

Several Olympians have gone on to coach at Cal. Karen Moe Thornton, associate athletic director, won a gold in swimming in 1972. Denise Curry, former assistant women's basketball coach, won the gold in basketball at the 1984 Olympics; and Sue Woodstra, women's volleyball coach, won a silver in volleyball in 1984.

At the Hall of Fame located inside Memorial Stadium, photos and memorabilia about Cal Olympians fill several display cases.

There are so many wonderful stories to be told about our Olympic athletes," said Jim Canter, Hall of Fame curator. "People are often surprised to learn just how big of a contribution Cal has made to the Olympics."

The Hall of Fame is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
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