There has been no shortage of Boilermakers in the Olympics. In fact, Purdue Olympians have accounted for 13 gold medals, four silver medals and five bronze medals. The following is an overview of the performances of Purdue athletes and coaches in past Olympaids.
1900 - Paris, France - Purdue's Ray Ewry came away with three gold medals. The Lafayette, Ind., native captured the standing long jump with a distance of 3.21 meters (10 feet, 6.25 inches). Ewry also won the standing triple jump with a jump of 10.58 meters (34-8.5). Finally, he set a world record with his gold medal-winning standing high jump of 1.65 meters (5-5).
1904 - St. Louis, United States - Ewry again stole the show in Olympic athletics competition. Tabbed the "Human Frog," Ewry again won gold medals in the standing high jump (1.60 meters/5 feet, 3 inches), standing triple jump (10.54 meters/34-7.25) and standing long jump. His long jump mark of 3.476 meters (11-4.875) bested his previous Olympic distance, as well as the world record at that time.
1906 - Athens, Greece - Old Gold Black Olympians. The intention of the Greek people was to hold an Olympic Games midway between each of the "official" Games. The '06 Games, however, marked the only time in Olympic history in which this type of celebration was held. With Ray Ewry still competing in the standing jumps and the emergence of pole vaulter Ed Glover, Purdue was well represented in Athens. Ewry won the standing high jump and standing long jump with distances of 1.56 meters (5 feet, 1.125 inches) and 3.30 meters (10-10), respectively. Glover suffered a somewhat different fate. After Glover cleared 3.35 meters (10-11.75), the competition was sent into a "jump-off." As the former Big Ten champion was on his approach at 3.50 meters (11-5.75), an official crossed his path. Thrown off by the distraction, Glover lost his balance and was injured, ending his hopes for a gold medal. Unable to continue, Glover settled for third place.
1908 - London, England - "Phantom" Olympic games. Ray Ewry won his Olympic record ninth and 10th gold medals at the London Games. Ewry won the standing high jump with a distance of 1.575 meters (5 feet, 2 inches) and the standing long jump with a leap of 3.335 meters (10-11.25). To this day, no other athlete has won more Olympic gold medals. The standing jumps, in which Ewry won all 10 of his gold medals, are no longer in existence.
1920 - Antwerp, Belgium - After winning the Big Ten indoor and outdoor two-mile runs in 1920, Cliff Furnas earned a spot on the United States' Olympic team. Furnas competed in the 5,000 meters. The record of his exact placing is not available. However, he is not listed among the top eight finishers.
1936 - Berlin, Germany - There was an absence of Boilermaker athletes at the '36 Games but not for lack of an opportunity. The Purdue basketball team was invited to the Olympic Tournament in 1935 to determine which team would represent the U.S. as its first Olympic basketball squad in Berlin. Head coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert and the team declined the invitation. Lambert did not believe in postseason play. He felt the regular season contained plenty of games and that the players did not need to miss any more classes. The winner of the tournament was a squad from Universal Studios in Hollywood, Calif. They went on to an 8-0 record and a gold medal at the Berlin Games.
1948 - London, England - The '48 Games featured Purdue swimmers for the first time in Olympic history. Keith Carter, Jeanne Wilson-Vaughn and Carol Pence-Taylor each earned a place on the USA's Olympic swimming squad. Carter had the most success as he took fourth place in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 58.3 seconds. The two-time national champion rebounded to capture the silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:40.2). Also in attendance at the London Games was future Purdue women's track coach Fred Wilt. He finished 11th in the 10,000-meter run.
1952 - Helsinki, Finland - The 15th Olympiad saw the introduction of Boilermaker basketball as former Purdue guard Howie Williams played his part on the gold medal-winning USA basketball team. Team USA tallied a record of 8-0 as it cruised though the competition. Purdue swimming was present for the second straight Olympiad as coaching legend Richard "Pappy" Papenguth headed the United States' women's swimming and diving team. One of Pappy's swimmers was Purdue backstroker and student Coralie O'Connor. Papenguth returned to West Lafayette, Ind., where he coached the Boilermakers until 1969. Fred Wilt competed in the Olympics for the final time as he finished 21st in the 10,000 meters. Wilt would go on the coach the Purdue women's track team from 1978 to '89. For the third time in Olympic history, Purdue basketball was represented. Former Boilermaker women's basketball coach Lin Dunn was an assistant coach for the bronze medal-winning USA women's basketball team. Also, current assistant volleyball coach Ruth Lawanson culminated a four-year stint with the U.S. National Team as a member of the bronze-medal winning Olympic team.
1956 - Melbourne, Australia - For the third straight Olympiad, Purdue swimming was present, but not just for the United States. American Betty Mullen-Brey competed in the butterfly while fellow Purdue student Beth Whittal swam for Canada. Whittal finished seventh in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:17.9.
1960 - Rome, Italy - Before the emergence of the modern day USA Dream Team basketball squad, the 1960 American Olympic squad was known as the best ever. USA was led by former Ohio State star Jerry Lucas, former Cincinnati legend Oscar Robertson, former West Virginia Mountaineer Jerry West and Purdue's very own Terry Dischinger. The United States blew past the opposition by an average margin of 42 points. Dischinger, along with other members of the 1960 Olympic team were inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame.
1976 - Montreal, Canada - Joe Corso becomes the first Boilermaker to wrestle in the Olympic Games. Corso won his first match in the 125.5-pound weight class over Allah Ditta of Pakistan, 20-8. After the initial victory, Corso took over the No. 1 world ranking. Unfortunately, the former Boilermaker fell to Zbigniew Zedzicki of Poland in 1:02 and then to Masao Arai of Japan in 8:54. The 1975 Big Ten Wrestler-of-the-Year finished the competition with a record of 1-2.After a 52-year hiatus, a Purdue track athlete represented the USA in the Olympics. Larry Burton finished fourth in the 200-meter dash (:20.37). Earlier in the summer, Burton was known as "The Fastest Man on Earth" when he tied the world record for the 60-meter dash at 5.9 seconds and also posted the world's fastest time of 20.3 seconds in the 220-yard dash. Doubling as a lightning quick receiver for the Purdue football team, Burton went on to play several years in the NFL after graduation.
1980 - Moscow, Russia - The United States' boycott of the 22nd Olympiad in Moscow cost Purdue's Mark Virts his chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal in men's diving. Virts earned his place on the team after finishing third at the Olympic trials on platform.
1992 - Barcelona, Spain -For the third time in Olympic history, Purdue basketball was represented. Women's basketball coach Lin Dunn was an assistant coach for the bronze medal-winning USA women's basketball team.
1996 - Atlanta, United States - Purdue All-America men's basketball Glenn Robinson was selected to the USA Dream Team but was forced to withdraw due to an ongoing condition of right Achilles tendinitis.
2002 - Salt Lake City, United States - Former Boilermaker pole vaulter Douglas Sharp made his mark on the Winter Olympic Games, helping end a half-century drought for the United States men’s bobsled team. The U.S. took both the silver and bronze in the event as Sharp contributed to the third-place squad.
2012 - London, England - David Boudia led an outstanding Olympic Games for Purdue, becoming the first American to win gold in the men’s 10-meter platform dive since 1988. Boudia won the event in dramatic fashion, scoring 90-plus points on five of his six dives, including a 102.60 on his final dive. He also collected a bronze medal in the synchronized men’s 10-meter platform, teaming with Nick McCrory, becoming the first American team to earn a medal in the event since its addition to the games in 2000. Boilermaker soccer standout Lauren Sesselmann added a bronze medal as well at the games, helping Canada to a third-place finish in women’s soccer as they blanked France, 1-0, in the bronze-medal game to earn their first Summer Games medal in a traditional team sport since 1936.