Olympians in the Archives!

Iowa State has quite a number of Olympic gold medal winners in freestyle wrestling, including the well-known Dan Gable.  Pictured above is Glen Brand who was one of the first Iowa State alumni to win a gold medal (1948).  He graduated in 1950 in civil engineering.  The original photograph can be found in the University Photograph Collection (RS 24-12-A, box 1963).

The 2012 Olympics are now in full gear – only one week left until the closing ceremonies!  Did you know that Iowa State has quite a few alumni who have competed in the Olympic Games?  (More on how you can find additional information here in the Special Collections Department can be found at the end of this posting.)  Below is a listing of our alumni who have received Olympic medals:

Glen Brand: 1948 gold medal in wrestling

Nate Carr: 1988 bronze medal in wrestling

Dan Gable: 1972 gold medal in wrestling

Jeff Grayer: 1988 bronze medal in men’s basketball

Danny Harris: 1984 silver medal in 400 hurdles

Kevin Jackson: 1992 gold medal in wrestling

Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco): 1984 gold medal in 400-meter hurdles

Ben Peterson: 1976 gold medal in wrestling

Cael Sanderson: 2004 gold medal in wrestling

Chris Taylor: 1972 bronze medal in wrestling

Sunday Uti (Nigeria): 1984 bronze medal in 4×400 relay

Although it would be too extensive to highlight all the medal winners listed above, there are a few we’ll take not of in this post.  More on current and past Olympians with Iowa State connections can be found in the Thursday, July 26, 2012 issue of the Iowa State Daily.

We should not leave out Ron Galimore from this post.  Galimore (1981 speech communications) was the first African American to be named to the U.S. men’s gymnastics Olympic team.  Unfortunately, he was unable to compete in the 1980 Olympics due to the United States’ boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.  This was due, in part, to the USSR invading Afghanistan.

Ron Galimore is pictured (far right) on the cover of the 1981 Cyclone Gymnastics Media Guide (RS 24/08, box 1, folder 7).

Nawal El Moutawakel (1988 physical education) has a very impressive list of firsts, in addition to winning a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympics for Morocco.  She was the first Iowa State woman, the first Arab woman, the first African woman, the first Muslim woman, and the first Moroccan of either gender to win an Olympic gold.  Not only that, she had a perfect 1984 season at Iowa State, and won the gold medal after her freshman year at Iowa State.  1984 was also the first year the 400 meter hurdle race was held for women.  She is active internationally in promoting sports for women, and in 2004 served as Chair of the Olympic Evaluation Commission.  In the 2016 Olympics she will chair the Olympics coordination commission (and her impressive list of firsts continues – she is the first woman to ever chair the Olympics coordination commission)!

Nawal El Moutawakel was honored in the 1985 Women’s Track Media Guide on page 10 (RS 24/23/00/06, box 1, folder 1).

Iowa State’s current wrestling head coach, Kevin Jackson (1991 human sciences), won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  He transferred to Iowa State for his senior year and became Iowa State’s wrestling Head Coach  in 2009.

Cael Sanderson, ISU student-athlete in wrestling, finished his Iowa State career as the only undefeated four-time champion in NCAA history (159-0) in 2002.  Two of Cael’s brothers, Cody and Cole, also wrestled at Iowa State with impressive records of their own.  Cael won a 2004 Olympic Gold Medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and was formerly Head Coach of Iowa State Wrestling (2006-2009).

And one cannot forget Dan Gable who won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 1972.  More on Dan Gable can be found in a previous blog post.

One resource for finding information on Dan Gable is the 1969-1970 Iowa State Wrestling Media Guide, where he is pictured on the cover and has a feature on him inside (RS 24/12/00/06, box 1, folder 1).

More on Iowa State wrestlers who competed in the Olympics can be found in a recent Iowa State Daily article.

Wondering about how you can find more information on Iowa Staters who have competed in the Olympics?  The University Archives maintains biographical files on Iowa State students where you can find news clippings and other publications (RS 21/7/1).  Please note that the files on alumni and former students are not comprehensive, but if they made the news there is a decent chance we will have a file with news clippings.  Additional information on the athletic career here at Iowa State of current and former Olympians can also be found in various records found under the Department of Athletics.  Good places to start are often the media guides, programs and news clippings.  Alumni who have gone on to work at Iowa State, such as Cael Sanderson and Kevin Jackson, can be found under the departments where they  worked.  Sanderson has his own collection (RS 24/12/51), which primarily contains news clippings (1999-2011).  We also have a folder of news clippings related to Kevin Jackson under RS 24/3/1.

Photographs can also often be found in the University Photograph Collection, although sometimes you will need to look in other places for images, such as the media guides or the Bomb (Iowa State yearbook).

Occasionally you will find photographs unrelated to the athlete’s sport.  Shown above is a photograph of wrestler Glen Brand (gold medal in 1948 freestyle wrestling).

For more on another Iowa Stater who was very much involved in the Olympics, please see our post on Barbara Forker or the finding aid describing the Barbara Forker Papers.

A selection of recent Iowa State publications related to the Olympics, many of which are articles in the Iowa State Daily, can be found in the library’s new Digital Repository (a blog posting by our new Digital Repository Coordinator, Harrison Inefuku, can be found on the Preservation Department’s blog).

If you’re curious about other athletes from the state of Iowa who have won Olympic medals, the recent issue (July 2012) Iowa History Journal has an article by Don Doxie, “Olympic dreams blossom in Iowa”.  The periodical is available both in the General Collection (most recent issues in the Periodical Room) and here in Special Collections under call number F616 I59x.  In addition, the July 5, 2012 issue of the Iowa State Daily has a listing of ISU alumni who have recently competed in the Olympics.  Curious about other Olympic medalists?  The official website of the Olympic movement has a database of medalists.

We wish all the current 2012 Olympians who attended Iowa State the best of luck in the 2012 Summer Olympics!

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