Saturday, February 5

Greatest Forgotten Moment in Sports History

Even the U of W has Forgotten This Proud Moment
PaddyAnne prompted this post. She humorously mentioned curling as a means to help with ice biking. THAT reminded me of the 2010 Winter Olympics, in which "Team Bernard" took on the rest of the world and brought home a silver medal for Canada in women's curling. I dearly wish they'd managed to get the gold, but it was not to be in 2010. Still, it represented an approach to sports that has largely disappeared. The era when it was not simply government teams, but individual teams that got to compete. An era such as in "Chariots of Fire," when athletes competed as much for their school or locality as for their country.

This prompted my recollection of the "greatest forgotten moment in Sports History." The day the University of Washington Crew beat Nazi Germany.

We all know about Jesse Owens beating the Nazis in "the Hitler Olympics," but few remember other events in which Adolf was upstaged. My own favorite was the victory of the Husky crew over Germany and Italy. The English were involved as well, but they didn't win a medal. The Huskies beat the world.

To make a long story less long, the Huskies came, and they won. The video shows the ways that progaganda tries to spin things after the fact. I suggest watching the first few seconds, and then fast forward to the part after a minute into the video. In all fairness to the Germans, they DO play part of the US National Anthem at the end. Go Dawgs!

This is a reason why one of the acquisitions that I plan, but have yet to make, is a single-seat scull. In the one and only time I called in to a radio talk show, when the Seahawks were on their way to a loss in the Superbowl, I prompted faint recollections of this event. Others also still remember occasionally such as below:

"Germany, Italy, and Britain all moved ahead, with the leader, Germany, at least a length up. Fighting the quartering headwind in lane six, the Huskies began to increase the stroke rate. Finally, with about 500 meters left in the race the lakeshore changed, disrupting the lee in which Germany and Italy were racing. The quartering headwind was now evenly felt, at about the instant Hume and his crew began to sprint. By now we know what happens when this crew would sprint, and the confidence they had in each other; every race in 1936 this crew had fallen behind, only to gain it back. The last 200 meters were a blur, with Hume bringing the stroke rate up to an unheard of 44, the crowd chanting "Deutsch-land, Deutsch-land, Deutsch-land", and yet it was in that last 200 meters that the United States went from third to first, crossing the line about ten feet in front of Italy, with Germany third.

"The exhausted crew rowed in front of the grandstand, then to the dock, where a wreath was placed over the head of each oarsman and the coxswain. There were no interviews. The men stayed in their quarters that night. The next day they received their medals in the Olympic stadium; after the games were over, they went home various ways, some choosing to travel Europe, others going straight home.

"Historically speaking, the 1936 Washington crew would have been memorable without the Olympic victory. By sweeping the Hudson for the first time, the crew established itself as the deepest to date; with the varsity coming from lengths back in the last half mile, it established itself as one of the strongest.

"But with the almost surreal Olympic victory in pre-war Germany, the crew became legendary. And although the story itself seems to have a life of it's own - every perspective is different, and the years blur some of the details - the fact remains that this is the first Husky eight-oared crew to complete their season as undefeated National Champions - and - World and Olympic champions. And forever will they hold that honor."

If you watch the German propaganda video below, I suggest you watch the first several seconds to get a feel for the tone, then fast forward to a minute into it, where the "big eight" race is about to begin. After a lot of German rowing, somehow the Huskies suddenly win a bit after three minutes into the video as the crowd chants "Deutschland, Deutschland." Regardless of Husky Pride, I salute the 2010 Women's Canadian Curling Team. A throwback to a bygone era. Team Bernard! Go Canada! Alberta!
UW Beats the Nazis in Germany in 1936.
I Wish "Team Bernard" Could Have Repeated the Moment in Canada in 2010
Sill, IMO, the Greatest Forgotten Moment - They Even Play "The Star Spangled Banner" a little in this German Video

In all seriousness, it is not the numbers of people that pay attention that measure greatness, nor even the final record. Greatness is within each of us. Ignore the Husky crew if you will, but watch the video below and remember. We were all to young to see the Huskies win. The last Husky crew member is now gone, but we can all remember the Alberta women of 2010 and how they almost beat the world. Regardless, y'all would be wise not to make fun of curling in front of me...
At the Moment I Posted THIS Video, It Had Seen 224 Total Views in Over Three Months. Hardly Viral. A Future Greatest Forgotten Moment in Sports History?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post! When you first mentioned the Huskies, I thought you were talking about Football, and thought "gee, I didn't know Germany played N.American football? Soccer for their football, yes. But grid iron Football? Thats new". So I learned a few things by reading this post and watching the clips.

Thank goodness for our Men's Curling Team! I only wish they'd bring back the kilts, hand knitted sweaters, and proper brooms to the sport. Ah, the good ol' days.

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