Celebrated and history-making Yale Olympians
Five-time Olympic competitor and member of the U.S. equestrian team William Steinkraus ’49 won an individual gold medal for jumping in 1968, becoming the first American rider to win an individual gold medal. He also competed in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1972.
Here are some others who became Olympic stars:
• One of the first Yale-connected Olympians to make history is Edward Eagan ’21, who achieved some notoriety for switching his sport. He won a gold medal as a boxer in the 1920 Antwerp Games and competed in the same sport in the 1924 Paris Games. He later became a member of the four-man U.S. bobsled team that competed in the 1932 Lake Placid Games.
• Famed for winning a total of seven gold medals (at the 1964 Tokyo games and the 1968 Mexico City Games), swimmer Don Schollander ’68 is the first swimmer in Olympic history to win four gold medals in the same games. Over the course of his swimming career, he also broke many Olympic and world records, including those he set himself.
• Another prominent Yale Olympian is Frank Shorter ’69, who won the marathon for the United States at the 1972 Munich Games and had a second-place finish in the 1976 Montreal Games. He later became an Olympic commentator and served as chair of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
• Dr. Benjamin Spock ‘25, the legendary pediatrician whose books on child care influenced generations of parents, was a member of the men’s crew team (Men’s Eight) that won an Olympics gold medal in 1924.