Michigan in the Olympics


1908 - London

Ralph Rose, shot put

Ralph Rose won a second gold medal in the shot-put in London as Michigan men took three of the top four places in the event. The 6 ft. 7 in., 250 lbs. Californian attended U of M from 1903 to 1905. He won six medals in four events over three Olympics: 2 golds and a silver in the shot put, a gold in the combined left and right handed shot put in 1912, the only time it was an Olympic event, a silver in the discus, and a bronze in the hammer throw. He also finished 6th in the 56 pound weight throw in 1904.

Rose's only year of competition for Michigan was 1904 when he won both the shot put and discus at the Big Ten Championships. In the Fall of 1904 Rose was coaxed into trying out for the football team but apparently was not quick enough to play the line on coach "Hurry Up" Yost's point-a-minute team.

Jn Garrels winning hurdles
John Garrels was a double medalist, winning a silver in the 110 meter hurdles and a bronze in the shot put. Garrels was a star halfback on the 1905-1906 football team and lettered in track 1904-1907. He won the conference title in the 120 yard hurdles in 1906 and the discus in 1905 and 1906. William Coe, who earned his track "M" in 1906, finished fourth in the shot put in London after taking a silver in 1904.

John Garrrels, on the right, winning silver in the hurdles.

Gayle Dull,

shipboard training
Gayle Dull leads practice enroute to London.
Gayle Dull took part in the three mile team race which was scored like a cross country race; the times of the top three finishers for each country were combined to determine the final standings. The U.S. took the silver medal, but Dull was not among the top three finishers. Dull was also entered in the 3200-meter steeplechase, and the 1500-meter and 5,000-meter races but it is unclear if he actually competed.


1906 relay team Gayle Dull
left: 1906 Four Mile Relay Team - J. W. Maloney,
Horace Ramey, Harry Coe, Floyd Rowe

right: Gayle Dull
Harry "Spider" Coe competed in the 800 and 1500 meter races and the 400 meter hurdles but did not place. Horace Ramey ran in the 400 and 800 meter races but was eliminated in the preliminary heats in both events.

Ramey (1905-1907), Coe (1905-1908) and Dull (1908) were the heart of Michigan four mile relay teams that captured six consecutive titles at the Pennsylvania Relays, which was then considered the national championship.

The 1906 team featuring Ramey, Coe, J. W. Maloney and Floyd Rowe set and broke the world record several times. The sixth title in 1908 came by default when the eastern teams agreed to concede to the heavily favored Wolverines on condition that Michigan enter a team in the two mile relay. The eastern strategy failed as the Michigan team of Donald May, Dull, Coe and Rowe set an intercollegiate record of 8:04.2, finishing 60 yards ahead of second place Pennsylvania.

John Neil Patterson   Patterson in Oympic jersey
John Neil Patterson, who was enrolled at U of M in 1906/07-1907/08, competed in the London games representing the Chicago Athletic Club. He placed 7th in the running high jump with a leap of 1.83 meters. Patterson graduated from Detroit University School in 1906. He won the Penn Relays in 1905 with a National Scholastic record of 6'1 1/4". In June of 1906 he set the World Scholastic mark at 6'2". Patterson was a member of the U of M track team his freshman year and though he could not compete in varsity meets, he did win the high jump in several intra-squad competitions.

right: John Neil Patterson as U-M Freshman and U.S. Olympian.

Ralph Rose, London 1980
Rose competing in London

Rose starts a tradition
In addition to his medals, Rose is usually credited with beginning an American Olympic tradition in London. Even before the games began there had been disputes between the British and the U.S. over rules and scheduling. Matters became worse when it became apparent there were no American flags among the hundreds that decorated the stadium for the opening ceremony. Team captain Martin Sheridan, Rose's rival in the discus, had been selected to carry the U.S. flag in the opening parade but was replaced by Rose at the last moment. (Possibly because team trainer Mike Murphy ordered athletes competing the next day not to march in the parade, or perhaps because Sheridan, representing the Irish-American Athletic Club, could not be counted to show proper respect towards King Edward VI.)

In any event, as Rose passed the royal reviewing stand he did not dip the flag as protocol required. In some accounts of the event Rose and in others Sheridan is quoted as saying, "This flag dips for no earthly king." For years the U.S. flag bearer followed the precedent set by Rose.

The U-M Results-1908

Ralph Rose
   shot put1st, 46 ft. 7.5 in
   discusdid not place
John Garrells
   shot put3rd, 43 ft. 3 in.
   110 hurdles2nd, 15.7 sec.
    discus did not place
William Coe
   shot put4th, 42 ft. 10.5 in.
   tug of war
Harry L. Coe
   800 meters did not place
   1500 metersdid not place
    400 metersadvanced to semi-finals
Horace Ramey
   400 metersdid not place
   800 metersdid not place
John Neil Patterson
   running high jump7th
   110 m. hurdles

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