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Ivies in London Recap (1948)

1948 London Summer Games
4,099 Athletes, 59 Countries, 136 Events

The 1940 Olympics were awarded to Tokyo, Japan, but after Japan invaded China the Games were reassigned to Helsinki, Finland. After the Soviet Union invaded Finland, the Games were cancelled.

London was scheduled to host the 1944 Games. With the World War II still raging, however, London eventually hosted the 1948 Games instead.

Five Ivy Leaguers were set to participate in the 1940 Games, wherever they did take place. If the Games did in fact go on in 1940 and 1944, fencer Norman Armitage (Columbia '30) presumably would have become an eight-time Olympian. Instead, he is a six-time Olympian with a career stretching from 1928 to 1956. Attending eight Olympics would have been a record until 1996.

London played host to a record 59 nations for the 1948 Summer Games showing the longterm stability of the Games after a 12-year absence due to World War II. The 1948 Games were also the first to be shown on television, allowing Ivy fans at home to see the 30 Ivy Leaguers competing in the Games.

Success for this group of Ivy Olympians surprisingly did not come in track and field. Only five of the 31 were in track and field competitions. Robert Bennett (Brown '49) won bronze in the hammer throw, beating Samuel B. Felton, Jr. (Harvard '48) by a mere three inches. James Fuchs (Yale '50), also a footballer for the Elis, won the bronze medal in the shot put.

Yachting, instead, was where the medals were for the Ivies. Crimson father and son Paul Smart and Hilary Smart '47 won the gold medal in the Star class. The Star is a 6.9-meterlong shallow keelboat. While at Harvard, Paul Smart was a pole vaulter and a member of the ice hockey and soccer teams.

The United States 6-meter boat won gold with three Crimson sailors on the five-man team Alfred E. Loomis '50, James H. Smith, Jr. '48, and James H. Weekes.

The Swallow, a boat similar to the Star but with a smaller sailing area, was part of Olympic yachting only for the 1948 Games. Owen C. Torrey, Jr. (Harvard '47) won the bronze medal with fellow sailor Lockwood Pine.

Water seems to be the theme for this group, as the remaining 1948 medallists from the Ancient Eight were either rowers or swimmers, with the exception of one fencer Norman Armitage. Armitage, in his fourth of six Olympics, led the sabre team to a bronze medal. He also won the 'Friendship Trophy' as the most outstanding American fencer. Armitage was then a flag bearer (voted to do so by the entire United States team) at the 1952 and 1956 Games.

In rowing, four Yalies formed the United States four Gregory Gates '50, Stuart Griffing '50, F. John Kingsbury '50, and Robert Perew '45. The boat won the bronze medal.

A trio of Yale swimmers brought home medals. Australian John Marshall '53 won bronze in the 400-meter freestyle race, edged by future teammate James McLane '53 for second place. The result was similar in the 1,500-meter freestyle, where McLane finished in first, and Marshall in second. McLane added a silver medal with the United States team in the 4x200meter freestyle relay to his collection. The third Bulldog swimmer, Allen Stack '49, won gold in the 100-meter backstroke, beating fellow American Robert Cowell by just one-tenth of a second.

Marshall, McLane, and Stack all returned for the 1952 Helsinki Games.

Name School Sport
Robert Bennett Brown University Men's Athletics
Norman Armitage Columbia University Men's Fencing
Samuel B. Felton, Jr. Harvard University Men's Athletics
Alfred E. Loomis Harvard University Men's Sailing
Forbes H. Norris, Jr. Harvard University Men's Swimming
Julian K. Roosevelt Harvard University Men's Sailing
Hilary H. Smart Harvard University Men's Sailing
Paul H. Smart Harvard University Men's Sailing
James H. Smith, Jr. Harvard University Men's Sailing
Owen C. Torrey, Jr. Harvard University Men's Sailing
James H. Weekes Harvard University Men's Sailing
D. Hughes Cauffman University of Pennsylvania Men's Field Hockey
Francis 'Goose' Gosling University of Pennsylvania Men's Swimming
John B. Kelly, Jr. University of Pennsylvania Men's Rowing
Dr. Jeffrey Kirk University of Pennsylvania Men's Athletics
Sanders S. Sims University of Pennsylvania Men's Field Hockey
John Brooks Yale University Men's Rowing
Dernell Every Yale University Men's Fencing
Alan Ford Yale University Men's Swimming
Victor Frank, Jr. Yale University Men's Athletics
James Fuchs Yale University Men's Athletics
Gregory Gates Yale University Men's Rowing
Stuart Griffing Yale University Men's Rowing
F. John Kingsbury Yale University Men's Rowing
John Marshall Yale University Men's Swimming
James McLane Yale University Men's Swimming
Robert Perew Yale University Men's Rowing
Allen Stack Yale University Men's Swimming
Ralph Stephan, Jr. Yale University Men's Rowing
F. John Wade, III Yale University Men's Rowing
Herman Whiton Princeton University Men's Sailing