Exhibit ‘Expanding Horizons: Penn Staters in the Olympics’ opens Aug. 3

Rose Carter
July 22, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As athletes around the world prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Penn State University Libraries’ University Archives exhibit, “Expanding Horizons: Penn Staters in the Olympics,” presented from Aug. 3 through Dec. 16, in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, includes artifacts from the Olympic Games and celebrates the Penn Staters who have competed in both the summer and winter quadrennial Olympic games since 1904.

The exhibit, which features the collections of Harold Wilson, Class of 1951, and the late John A. Lucas, professor emeritus of exercise and sport science and official Olympic historian, is free and open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with additional hours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays beginning Sept. 11. An updated fall semester schedule will be available on the University Libraries hours and locations website soon.

Wilson has developed a substantial Olympic Games collection that includes programs, tickets, brochures, maps, pins, mascots and medals from the games in 1912 in Stockholm through those held in Sochi in 2014. Notable items in Wilson’s collection are a relay torch used in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and a plush mascot, “Amik,” from the 1976 Montreal games.

Lucas, honored with the Olympic Order Medal in 1996 for his distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement, had been designated as the official Olympic historian for his extensive expertise and knowledge. The Lucas collection features books, journal articles, magazines, research publications, original documents and artifacts. The exhibit also will feature collection materials from the Eberly Special Collections Library’s University Sports Archives as well as the papers of Elizabeth Hanley and Eugene Wettstone.

In addition to the exhibit in the Special Collections Library, a photo exhibit of Penn State Olympics will be installed in the Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall. This exhibit also is open for public viewing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5, and Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24 and 25. During Penn State home football weekends, the Hintz Family Alumni Center opens at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and closes one hour prior to kickoff for early games and at 5 p.m. for night games. On Sundays after home games, the Hintz Family Alumni Center is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two events, sponsored by the Penn State Department of Kinesiology, will be held in conjunction with this exhibit. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, renowned scholar and Canadian Olympian Bruce Kidd will be the speaker for the John H. Lucas Memorial Lecture. Kidd competed in the famous 10,000 meter run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which resulted in an upset win by American Billy Mills. From 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, also in the Mann Assembly Room, will be the location of the Sports History Colloquium: The Olympic Movement. Event details will be available at a later date.

At the most recent summer Olympic games, Penn Staters medaled in women’s volleyball and women’s soccer while Jake Varner earned a gold medal after training with current Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson. Megan Hodge and Christa Dietzen (Harmotto) were silver medalists for USA Women’s Volleyball, and Erin MacLeod and Carmelina Moscato earned bronze medals for Canada in Women’s Soccer, its highest finish ever. Penn State alumni have qualified for every Summer Olympics since 1948, with a record 22 Penn Staters who will represent four countries in 2016.

Nate Cartmell, coach of the track and field and cross country teams at Penn State from 1923 to 1933, was the first individual with Penn State ties to compete in the Olympics, winning two medals in the 1904 games in St. Louis and two more in London in 1908. That same year, Lee Talbot was the first Penn State alumnus not only to participate in the Olympic Games, but the first and only to have qualified in three sports: track and field, wrestling and the tug-of-war.

The most decorated Penn State alumnus was Barney Ewell, who won a gold medal as a member of the 400 meter relay team and two individual silver medals in the 100 and 200 meter sprints. Gene Wettstone, coach of the Penn State men’s gymnastics team, served as the U.S. men’s gymnastics coach for both the 1948 and 1956 summer games and had three of his own Nittany Lion team members on the Olympic squad: Bill Bonsall, Lou Bordo and Ray Sorensen. Walter Bahr, men’s soccer, and Bill Koll, wrestling, competed in the Olympics before they began their Penn State coaching careers.

Special Events:

Photo Exhibit, "Penn Staters in the Olympics," Aug. 3-Dec. 16, 2016, Robb Hall, Hintz Family Alumni Center.

John A. Lucas Memorial Lecture, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. Co-sponsored with the Department of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Development.

Speaker, Bruce Kidd, Sports History Colloquium: The Olympic Movement, 2-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, Principal, University of Toronto/Scarborough and founding dean of the faculty of kinesiology, University of Toronto. An officer of the Order of Canada, an honorary member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, founding member of the Olympic Academy of Canada, and chair, Selection Committee, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Kidd represented Canada as a track and field athlete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Co-sponsored with Penn State’s Department of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Development.

For additional information about the exhibits, contact Paul Dzyak at pjd106@psu.edu or 814-865-2123 or Paul Karwacki at ppk107@psu.edu or 814-863-9870. For additional information about Bruce Kidd’s presentations, contact Mark Dyreson at mxd52@psu.edu or 814-863-3683.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 18, 2020