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USC Olympians saluted at Campus Center

1932 Olympics program
Continuing USC’s Olympic tradition, 41 Trojan athletes are headed to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this month. Pictured here is the official program of the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles. (Photo/Nathan Carter)

A 16-foot display case in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center contains an homage to the many Olympians who are also Trojans.

Housed in the Sample Hall corridor, The Olympics and USC showcases memorabilia from the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, both held in Los Angeles, and a variety of photographs and medals earned by Trojan athletes.

The display case, one of 37 in the Campus Center, is part of Art and Trojan Traditions, a program that presents art to enhance the educational experience of the university community.

“A great part of our program is being able to take important artifacts and exciting collections from the libraries to put them out in the public because otherwise students and visitors wouldn’t be able to see them,” explained Cindy Robinson, manager of the program and educational program coordinator for the Campus Center. “We have more than 1,000 visitors at the Campus Center each day, so we can show off the great things the university has.”

Robinson enlisted the help and expertise of Claude Zachary, the university archivist, to select items to display. The University Archives contain several boxes and flat-file cases full of Olympic artifacts that have been donated over the years.

“As we went through everything, I knew we were going to have way more than we were able to display,” Robinson said. “At any given time, we have so many Trojans competing in the Olympics.”

Since 1904, 393 Trojan athletes have represented 57 different countries in the Olympics, taking home 122 gold medals, 76 silver and 60 bronze. Continuing USC’s long tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes, more than 40 Trojans are headed to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this month. From July 27 to Aug. 12, 41 Trojan athletes will represent 18 countries at the games, with seven others serving as coaches (See the Trojan Olympics viewing guide at USC’s new Olympics Central site).

Among the medals, T-shirts, backpacks, programs, trading cards and flags on display are photographs of former track and field coach Dean Cromwell, for whom USC’s Cromwell Field was named, with the USC men’s track team on a ship bound for Berlin to compete in the 1936 Olympiad; a photograph of Rebecca Soni ’09, 2008 gold medalist in the 200-meter breaststroke, who will compete again in this year’s Olympic Games; and a photograph of more than 100,000 spectators at the opening ceremony of the 1932 games held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“We have medals, a torch, the banners and a few pieces of decorations that were up around Olympic Village, which was here on campus,” Zachary said of the extensive archive collection. “We get donations from alums and from the kids of alums who have passed away, and the news services have fed us a lot of material.”

The display case will be up until August. For more information, visit

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USC Olympians saluted at Campus Center

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