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In the Olympic Spotlight

The Summer Olympics are just around the corner (opening ceremonies on Friday, July 27th), but before we make the leap to London, looks back 80 years to the Olympics of 1932.

Left to right: Glenn Cunningham, Wilson "Buster" Charles (Haskell), Coach Brutus Hamilton, Jim Bausch, and Clyde Coffman.  Image: University Archives

The summer of '32 put the spotlight on Lawrence and KU due to a collection of great athletes assembled in the region.  Haskell University was represented by Wilson Charles, the defending AAU champion in the decathlon.  Wilson was joined by KU's Glenn Cunningham in the 1500 meter run, Clyde Coffman and James Bausch in the decathlon, and Pete Mehringer, a 191.5 lb. wrestler. Yes, KU has had wrestling programs a few times over the years!

1932 gold medal winner Pete Mehringer

Bausch, once considered KU's greatest athlete, had been competing in the decathlon for a little over a year.  He first competed in the event during the 1931 Kansas Relays where he set a new Relay's record.  KU junior Clyde Coffman would join Bausch and Wilson in the Olympic Trials in June '32, where they would go on  to sweep the trials and represent the entire U.S. decathlon team at the 1932 game in Los Angeles.


Read more about additional Olympic athletes in the following articles on KUHistory:

Billy Mills
Al Oerter
1952 Basketball Team
Pete Mehringer
Jim Ryun
Glenn Cunningham
Lynette Woodard
James Bausch

KU Olympic Athletes:

1904, Fay Moulton, 60 meters, Third
1904, Fay Moulton, 100 meters, Fourth
1904, Fay Moulton, 200 meters, Fourth
1920, Everette Bradley, Pentathalon, Second
1924, Merwin Graham, Triple Jump, Did not place
1924, Tom Poor, high jump, fourth
1924, Emerson Norton, Decathlon Second
1932, Clyde Coffman, Decathlon, Seventh
1932, James Bausch, Decathlon, First
1932, Glenn Cunningham, 1500 meters, Fourth
1932, Pete Mehringer, Light-heavyweight Wrestling, First
1936, Glenn Cunningham, 1500 meters, Second
1948, Adolph Rupp, Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Wes Santee, 5,000 Meters, Did not medal
1952, Bill Hougland, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Bill Lienhard, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Charlie Hoag, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Clyde Lovellette, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Dean Kelley, Men's Basketball, First
1952, John Keller, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Phog Allen, Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball, First
1952, Robert Kenney, Men's Basketball, First
1956, Bill Hougland, Men's Basketball, First
1956, Bill Nieder, Shot Put, Second
1956, Al Oerter, Discus, First
1960, Bill Alley, Javelin Did not place
1960, Allen Kelley, Men's Basketball, First
1960, Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg (team manager), Men's Basketball, First
1960, Dean Nesmith (athletic trainer), Men's Basketball, First
1960, Bill Nieder, Shot Put, First
1960, Al Oerter, Discus, First
1960, Cliff Cushman, 400 I. Hurdles, Second
1960, Terry Beucher, Javelin, Did not place
1964, John McLendon, Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball, First
1964, Billy Mills, 10,000 Meters, First
1964, Al Oerter, Discus, First
1964, Jim Ryun, 1,500 Meters, Did not place
1964, Kent Floerke, Triple Jump, Did not place
1964, Billy Mills, Marathon, 14th
1968, John McLendon, Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball, First
1968, Jim Ryun, 1,500 Meters, Second
1968, Al Oerter, Discus, First
1968, Jo Jo White, Men's Basketball, First
1972, Jim Ryun, 1,500 meters, Did not place
1972, Jan Johnson, Pole Vault, Third)
1972, John McLendon, Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball, Second
1976, Dean Smith, Coach, Men's Basketball, First
1976, Jan Johnson, Pole Vault, Did not place
1976, Mark Lutz, 200 Meters, Did not place
1976, Sam Colson, Javelin, Fifth
1976, Terry Porter, Pole Vault, 13th
1980, Cliff Wiley, 200 meters, USA Boycott
1980, Lynette Woodard, Women's Basketball, USA Boycott
1980, Darnell Valentine, Men's Basketball, USA Boycott
1984, Lynette Woodard, Women's Basketball, First
1988, Danny Manning, Men's Basketball, Third
1996, Pierre Lisk, 200 Meters, Did not place
1996, Pierre Lisk, 4 x 100 Relay, Did not place
1996, Marian Washington, Asst. Coach, Women's Basketball, First
1996, Scott Huffman, Pole Vault, Thirteenth
2004, Charlie Gruber, 1500 meters, Did not place
2008, Scott Russell, Javelin, Tenth
2012, Diamond Dixon, 1,600 Meters, N/A
2012, Sasha Kahn (Russia), Men's Basketball, N/A
2012, Liana Salazar (Columbia), Women's Soccer, N/A
2012, Ingrid Vidal (Columbia), Women's Soccer, N/A

Missing Olympians?  Let us know at

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