As we count down to Friday’s opening ceremony for the Games of the XXX Olympiad, held in London, we want to highlight a few Olympic Games memorabilia items from the collections of the American Heritage Center. The papers of Eugene Vidal, Olympic athlete and coach in the 1920s, include ephemera, newspaper clippings, and team photographs relating to participation in the Olympic Games.
Eugene Vidal was described in a newspaper article in the collection as “the greatest athlete who ever attended West Point” and competed in football, basketball, and track and field events. He was selected as a U.S. representative to the 1920 summer Olympic Games, held in Antwerp, Belgium, for the decathlon event. American Brutus Kerr Hamilton placed second at these Olympics and Vidal placed seventh in this ten-sport event featuring track and field events.
Four years later Vidal had been named a U.S. coach for the Olympic track and field team and he again returned to the 1924 Olympics, this time held in Paris, France.
While many Olympians compete, only a select few athletes in each event are Olympic medalists. According to news reports, much of the raw material used to manufacture the 2012 London Olympic medals was mined in Utah. While the AHC’s collections related to worldwide mining history may not reference mining of ores for these specific Olympic medals, the collections do provide a broad documentation of the history of economic geology including hard rock mining in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about our holdings in this area, visit https://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/collections/by-subject/geology.html.
–Ginny Kilander, Reference Department Head