With the 2016 Summer Olympic Games just about here, we decided to take a look through history at a few of the summer gold-medal Olympians that have called New England home. We found stories of inspiring courage, determination, and perseverance. We found some of sheer luck, and even one of a celebratory adventure that made us laugh. Here are some highlights of New England’s summer gold medalists. Of course, if we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments!
NEW ENGLAND’S SUMMER GOLD MEDALISTS
Joan Benoit Samuelson | Cape Elizabeth, ME
Joan Benoit became the first woman to ever win an Olympic marathon by winning gold in 1984 Los Angeles games – the first year the race was open to female athletes. She completed the 26.2 miles in just 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds. She’s held three world records, won the Chicago and Los Angeles marathons, and won the Boston Marathon twice, among a lengthy list of other notable accomplishments.
READ MORE:Runner’s World | An Interview with Joan Benoit Samuelson
Marie Corridon Mortell | Norwalk, CT
While not born in CT, Corridon spent much of her life in the nutmeg state – her family moved there when she was very young. She began learning to swim in Westport, CT at the age of 5, where her instructors noticed that she had an incredible natural affinity for swimming. Corridon won gold as part of the U.S. women’s swimming team in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay in the 1948 London Olympics.
Richard Andrew “Butch” Johnson | Born in Worcester, MA; Resident of Woodstock, CT
This Worcester, MA native and longtime resident of Woodstock, CT, has been called the greatest archer in the world. He competed in the Olympic Games five times, winning gold during the 1996 Atlanta games. He was 56 years old when he competed in the London games in 2012.
Harriet Metcalf | Providence, RI
Harriet “Holly” Metcalf won gold as part of the U.S. women’s rowing team in the 1984 Los Angeles games. She was born in Providence, RI and studied at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University. Metcalf has devoted lots of time and energy to various non-profit, charitable projects, including the Row As One Institute, G-ROW, and WeCanRow programs. She currently coaches the MIT women’s crew team.
Aileen Riggin | Newport, RI
Riggin was just 14 years old when she made the 1920 U.S. women’s Olympic swim team. The 4’7”, 65-pound diver went on to win gold in the Antwerp, Belgium 3-meter springboard dive.
Albina Osipowich | Worcester, MA
This Massachusetts swimmer took home two gold medals from the 1928 Amsterdam games – one for her part in the U.S. women’s 4×100 meter freestyle swimming relay, and another for her record-setting performance in the 100 meter freestyle event. After the games, she attended Pembroke College, where she continued to swim as a hobby.
Aly Raisman | Needham, MA
Needham native Aly Raisman became a household name when she took home two gold medals (for the women’s gymnastics artistic team all-around and for her individual floor performance) in the 2012 London games. Look for her in the 2016 games!
David “Skippy” Browning | Boston, MA
David “Skippy” Browning won the gold for men’s springboard diving in the 1952 Helsinki, Finland games. Overcome with excitement, he climbed his way up a flagpole to steal one of the Olympic flags, and was promptly arrested. (Don’t worry, we don’t think they kept him for long – he was able to receive his degree from the University of Texas the following January.)
No resident of either Vermont or New Hampshire has ever brought home the gold after the summer games, but these two snowy states reign in the winter. Out of all 50 states, Vermonters have earned the fifth highest number of gold medals in winter games, and New Hampshire natives come in tenth. Maybe Jericho’s cyclist Lea Davison can change Vermont’s summer record in Rio this year. Tune into the games beginning Friday, August 5 to cheer her (and the many other aspiring gold-medalists) on!
Who did we miss? Who are your favorite New England gold medalists?