Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Found in the Villanova Archives: Charlie Jenkins wins gold at Melbourne

I had been looking for footage of this for quite a while because it was one of the missing pieces of the Villanova Olympic puzzle. 

On November 29, 1956 in Melbourne, Australia, Charlie Jenkins earned the distinction of being Villanova's first ever Olympic gold medalist, winning the 400m dash two days before his teammate Ron Delany of Ireland won gold in the 1500m. Jenkins also has the distinction of being the only Villanova alum with two gold medals, winning gold in the 4x400m relay in the final event of the Olympic program. Jenkins owns the distinction of being the only American athlete from Villanova to have won an individual gold medal in an international championship. Jenkins also holds the distinction of being the first man to stand atop an Olympic podium where four men were awarded individual medals as Ardalon Ignatyev of the Soviet Union and Voitto Hellstén of Finland were determined to have tied for bronze.

In 1981, Jenkins took over as the head coach of the Villanova track team following the death of legendary coach  Jumbo Elliott. As head coach at Villanova, Jenkins coached his son Charles "Chip" Jenkins, Jr. who would later win Olympic gold as a member of the American 4x400m relay team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. They are the first father son pair to win gold medals in the same event.

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