Michigan the Olympics

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1928 - Amsterdam

Michigan's string of medal winning performances was kept alive in 1928 by Ken Doherty, Paul Samson and Garnet Ault. Doherty, a U of M graduate student and future Michigan track coach, earned a bronze medal in the decathlon, finishing just 247 points behind the winner. Ault won a bronze medal as part of the Canadian 800 meter freestyle relay team, becoming the first Michigan athlete to medal for a foreign country. Paul Samson swam the first leg of the 800 meter relay for the U.S. in the qualifying heat, but did not swim in the final, which the U.S. won. Samson was also a member of the water polo team.

Ken Doherty  Garnet Ault  Paul Samson
Ken Doherty, Garnet Ault, Paul Samson

DeHart Hubbard could not repeat his 1924 gold medal effort in the long jump. Canadian sprinter George Hester, a two-time Big Ten 100 yard champion for Michigan, participated in three events, but was plagued by ill-luck. He placed second in his qualifying heat in the 100 meter dash but did not advance to the semi-finals. In the 200 meters he again finished second in his heat but was disqualified for running out of his lane. The Canadians had a chance for a medal in the 400 meter relay, but dropped the baton on the last exchange.

DeHart Hubbard George
Hester
William DeHart Hubbard, George "Buck" Hester

Ed George and Robert Hewitt just missed medals in wrestling. Each won two matches before losing to the eventual gold medal winner. George would go on to gain fame as a professional heavyweight champion. Blair Thomas lost the alternate position on the U.S. team at 134.5 on a referee's decision.

Don Ed George   William Hewitt
Ed Don George,  Robert Hewitt

Al Watson and Russ Sauer are sometimes listed in U of M publications as alternates on the U.S. wrestling team. Though they were in Amsterdam, it was hardly in an official capacity. Both men had wrestled in the final U.S. trials held at Battle Creek, but neither made the fourteen man squad; Watson losing to eventual gold medal winner Allie Morrison. Deciding the Olympics was too good an opportunity to miss, the pair hitch-hiked to New York and stowed away on the ship transporting the entire U.S. Olympic delegation. They managed to remain undetected, and even worked out with the wrestling team, until the games were over. Discovered at last and out of money, they were forced to earn their passage home by working in the ship's galley. Sauer wrote an entertaining account of his adventure for the Detroit News (Nov. 11, 1928).


U-M Results
Ken Doherty
    decathlon3rd
Garnet Ault (Canada)
    800 m. relay3rd
    100 m. freestyledid not place
    400 m. freestyledid not place
    1500 m. freestyle6th
Paul Samson
    800 m. relay 1st, swam in qualifying round
    water polo U.S. did not medal
William DeHart Hubbard
    long jump11th, 23 ft. 4 in.
Ed George
    wrestling4th, heavyweight
Robert Hewitt
    wrestling5th, 123 lbs.
George "Buck" Hester (Canada)
    100 metersdid not place
    200 metersdid not place
    4x100 m. relaydid not place

Photo Credits:

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