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Walt Daugherty's bronze medal

from Vanamonde #668 (2006)

Walt Daugherty indeed earned a bronze medal for men's gymnastics at the 1932 Olympics, but he carefully explains "I got it, I didn't win it; I received it, I wasn't awarded it," and he wants no misunderstanding. That year in Artistic Gymnastics the U.S. won 5 gold medals, 6 silver, 5 bronze; Italy won 4 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze; Hungary won 2 gold, 2 silver; Finland won 1 silver, 4 bronze; Switzerland 1 silver; on the parallel bars, Romeo Neri of Italy won gold, István Pelle of Hungary won silver; Heikki Savolainen of Finland won bronze, nor was that a pseudonym of Daugherty's.

The Los Angeles Coliseum, site for the Xth Olympiad, was so big that organizers thought the competitive event of the moment might not occupy the attention of all the audience. Thus athletic feats which were worth looking at, but were not in competition, were also arranged. Daugherty's junior-high-school gym teacher had been an Olympics coach. For the opportunity of reaching exhibition standard Daugherty readily promised to train hard. One day during the Games he went to the Coliseum and, while competition was going on, added to the occasion by working on the parallel bars.

Like other athletes who had helped provide display he was given a cast bronze medal, not a trophy of achievement but a token of ancillary participation; distinct from winners' medals, it was e.g. not engraved. Naturally LASFSans wanted to see, Morojo and 4e Ackerman and the rest. I think he should be and I trust he has been proud of it.

Walt Daugherty (1916-2007) chaired the Worldcon in 1946, and was Fan Guest of Honor in 1968. LASFS is the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.