An MIT Alumni Association Publication
 
 

At a school known more for its Nobel Prize winners, it’s easy for athletes–even Olympians–to get overshadowed. But the Institute's Olympic history dates back to the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

According to research compiled by the Alumni Association, at least 35 MIT alumni representing 12 countries have qualified for or participated in 11 sports at 28 Olympic Games. MIT's alumni Olympians have won three gold, five silver, and five bronze medals. Click on the infographics below for more details then scroll down to see the full list of alumni Olympians.

  • For the first time since 2008, an MIT alumnus competed in the Games: AJ Edelman '14 represented Israel in the men's skeleton. (Mahmoud Shaker Al-Abood '04, MBA '08 also represented Monaco as an alternate in the two-man bobsleigh).
     
  • Thomas Curtis 1894 won the gold medal for the US in the 110-meter hurdles at the first Olympics. Curtis recounted his Olympic experience in a July 1924 issue of MIT Technology Review.
     
  • American fencer Joseph Levis '26 was MIT's first multiple medal winner, winning the silver medal in men's individual foil and the bronze medal in men's team foil in 1932. His son, Roberto Levis '64, fenced for Puerto Rico at the 1972 games.
     
  • American speed skater Jordan Malone '18 (pictured) is also a double medalist, having won bronze (2010) and silver (2014) before matriculating to MIT in 2015.
     
  • Three MIT alumni have competed in three separate Olympic Games: Levis; Bermudian sailor Paula Lewin '93, and Cypriot skier Alexis Photiades '91, SM '92.
     
  • Six Institute alumnae have participated in the Olympics, including 2008 silver medalist rower Michelle Guerette MBA ’12 (USA).
     
  • 11 alumni have medaled in the Olympics, including gold medalists Curtis, Swedish fencer Johan Harmeberg '81; and American rower Alden "Zeke" Sanborn SM '28.
     
  • Since 1992, MIT alumni have represented at least seven different countries: Bermunda; Cyprus; Great Britain; Israel; Lebanon; Trinidad and Tobago; and the United States.
     
  • The most common Olympic sport for alumni: rowing (10) followed by sailing (7).

MIT Alumni in the Olympic Games

  • Ackerman

    Nate Ackerman PhD '04

    Great Britain

    Wrestling
    Men's Middleweight, Freestyle

    Athens, 2004

  • Antaki

    Pat Antaki '84

    Lebanon

  • Bertrand

    John Bertrand SM '72

    Australia

    Sailing
    Mixed One Person Dinghy

    Munich, 1972
    Montreal, 1976 (Bronze Medal)

  • USA Flag

    Harry Blieden '57

    USA

    Rowing

    Rome, 1960 (alternate)

  • Bradley

    Elizabeth Bradley '83, SM '86, PhD '92

    United States

    Rowing
    Women's Coxed Fours

    Seoul, 1988

  • Camejo

    Peter Camejo '62

    Venezuela

    Sailing
    Mixed Two Person Keelboat

    Rome, 1960

  • Curtis

    Thomas Curtis 1894

    USA

    Men's 100 meters
    Men's 110 meters hurdles

    Athens, 1896 (Gold Medal)

    "Olympic color from 1896"

  • Edelman

    AJ Edelman '14

    Israel

    Men's Skeleton

    2018, PyeongChang

    "MIT Alumnus Competes in Winter Olympics"

  • Evans

    Ralph Evans '48

    USA

    Sailing
    Mixed One Person Dinghy

    London, 1948 (Silver Medal)

  • USA Flag

    John Everett '76, PhD '91

    USA

    Rowing
    Men's Coxed Eights

    Montreal, 1976
    Moscow, 1980

  • Frailey

    Jack Frailey '44

    USA

    Rowing (coach)

    Mexico, 1968
    Montreal, 1976

  • Freedman

    Nicole Freedman '94

    USA

    Cycling
    Women's Road Race

    Sydney, 2000

  • Guerette

    Michelle Guerette MBA '12

    USA

    Rowing
    Women's Quadruple Sculls
    Women's Single Sculls

    Athens, 2004
    Beijing, 2008 (Silver)

  • Goldman

    Janet Goldman '89

    USA

    Speed Skating
    Women's 1,500 meters
    Women's 3,000 meters
    Women's 5,000 meters

    Sarajevo, 1984
    Calgary, 1988

  • Harmenberg

    Johan Harmenberg '81

    Sweden

    Men's Fencing

    Moscow, 1980 (Gold Medal)

  • USA!

    Larry Hough SM '72

    USA

    Rowing
    Men's Coxless Pairs (Silver Medal)

    Mexico City, 1968
    Munich, 1972

  • Levis

    Joseph Levis '26

    USA

    Fencing
    Men's Foil

    Amsterdam, 1928
    Los Angeles, 1932 (Silver Medal, Bronze Medal)
    Berlin, 1936 

  • Puerto Rico

    Roberto Levis '64

    Puerto Rico

    Fencing
    Men's Foil

    Munich, 1972

  • Lewin

    Paula Lewin '93

    Bermuda

    Sailing
    Women's One Person Dinghy
    Women's Three Person Keelboat

    Barcelona, 1992
    Atlanta, 1996
    Athens, 2004

  • USA

    Mary (Kellogg) Lyman SM '78

    USA

    Rowing
    Women's Coxed Fours

    Montreal, 1976

  • Malone

    Jordan Malone '18

    USA

    Short Track Speed Skating
    Men's 5,000 Meters Relay

    Vancouver, 2010 (Bronze Medal)
    Sochi, 2014 (Silver Medal)

    "10 Questions with MIT Olympian Jordan Malone ’18"

  • USA

    John Marvin '49

    USA

    Sailing
    Mixed One Person Dinghy

    Melbourne, 1956 (Bronze Medal)

  • USA

    Ed Melaika '53

    USA

    Sailing
    Mixed One Person Dinghy

    Helsinki, 1952

  • USA

    Eric Olsen '41

    USA

    Sailing
    Mixed Two Person Heavyweight Dinghy

    Melbourne, 1956

  • Osuji

    Chinedum Osuji PhD '01

    Trinidad and Tobago

    Taekwondo
    Men's Welterweight

    Athens, 2004

  • Photiades

    Alexis Photiades '91, SM '92

    Cyprus

    Alpine Skiing
    Men's Giant Slalom
    Men's Super G

    Sarajevo, 1984
    Calgary, 1988
    Albertville, 1992

    "10 Questions with MIT Olympian Alexis Photiades ’91, SM ’92"

  • Piantedosi

    Gary Piantedosi '76

    USA

    Rowing
    Men's Coxless Fours 
       

    Montreal, 1976

  • USA

    Chester Riley '62

    USA

    Rowing

    Tokyo, 1964

  • Mahmoud Shaker Al-Abood '04, MBA '08

    Mahmoud Shaker Al-Abood '04, MBA '08

    Monaco

    Bobsleigh
    Two-Man 
    (alternate)

    2018, PyeongChang

  • Sanborn

    Captain Alden "Zeke" Sanborn SM '28

    USA

    Rowing
    Men's Coxed Eights

    Antwerp, 1920 (Gold Medal)

  • Smith

    Mark Smith '78

    USA

    Fencing
    Men's Foil, Team

    Moscow, 1980
    Los Angeles, 1984

  • Ilkka

    Ilkka Suvanto '68

    Finland

    Swimming
    Men's 400 Meters Freestyle
    Men's 1,500 Meters Freestyle
    Men's 100 Meters Medley Relay
    Men's 200 Meters Freestyle Relay
    Men's 400 Meters Individual Medley

    Rome, 1960
    Tokyo, 1964

  • USA!

    Steve Tucker '91

    USA

    Rowing
    Men's Lightweight Double Sculls

    Sydney, 2000
    Athens, 2004

  • USA

    Erland Van Lidth De Jeude '77

    USA

    Men's Wrestling

    Montreal, 1976 (alternate)

  • Vespoli

    Nancy Vespoli SM '79

    USA

    Rowing

    Moscow, 1980

  • Herbie

    Herb Voelcker '48

    USA

    Shooting
    Men's Free Rifle, Three Positions, 300 meters

     

    Melbourne, 1956

  • Weaver

    Andrew Weaver MArch '86

    USA

    Cycling
    Men's 100 Kilometers (Bronze Medal)

    Los Angeles, 1984

    This list includes MIT alumni who were Olympic alternates and alumni who were members of the 1980 US team, which did not participate in the games that year. MIT's alumni Olympic records may be inexact. If there is alumnus Olympian that is not included in the list, notify us in the comments below, Facebook, or Twitter.

    Update: This story was originally published in July 2012 and was updated in 2016 and 2018.

    Comments

    Beaver

    Sat, 02/22/2014 3:20pm

    How about some designation for those who competed for MIT? Most of the Olympian alums with only graduate degrees never wore an MIT uniform.

    alum

    Sat, 02/22/2014 3:13pm

    Erland Van Lidth De Jeude may have been an alternate, but he was not on the '76 Olympic Team.

    In reply to by Jay London

    Mike J.

    Sat, 02/08/2014 3:12pm

    Nice article, Jay. Would also have been nice to see Henry Steinbrenner's name mentioned in the article. He is on the MIT full list of Olympians, though his class year ('27) is missing. I had the pleasure of meeting Henry at an alumni reunion in Boston the weekend Steinbrenner Stadium was being dedicated, in 1978. Had a great conversation with him that day!

    Here's an article from 1996:
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1996/olymp1896-curtis.html

    You may want to consider finding stories from The Tech at the time these men and women participated in the Olympics and update your 2014 article with those links.

    David

    Fri, 02/07/2014 2:51pm

    Didn't the US boycott the 1980 olympics?

    In reply to by Jay London

    Gwen Sisto

    Wed, 08/22/2012 2:51pm

    Thank you for doing an article on this topic.

    Look for me, Gwendolyn Sisto SM 2010, in 2016 in women's weightlifting. I competed at the 2010 World University Championships, while a student at MIT. I placed in the top 3 63kg women at the 2012 US National Championships (fun fact: My results at the 2012 National Championships would have placed me 9th at the Olympics, which is higher than 2/3's of the team that the USA fielded in London for weightlifting).

    Mike

    Wed, 08/22/2012 2:20pm

    Janet Goldman '89 was a two-time Olympic speedskater, competing in Sarjevo 1984 and Calgary 1988.

    http://tech.mit.edu/V104/PDF/N13.pdf

    http://www.usspeedskating.org/athletes/alumni/olympians?field_alumni_year_value=1984

    Thomas L. De Fazio

    Wed, 08/22/2012 2:47pm

    Johnny Marvin won a bronze medal (3rd) in the Finn in 1956.

    al umnus

    Wed, 08/01/2012 11:19am

    Gary Piantedosi, alternate, straight four crew, '76 Montreal,
    http://www.rowingrigs.com/pubsite/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=3

    John G Everett, men's eight crew, '76 Montreal and '80

    Call the boathouse for other alumnae Olympians.

    Jay London

    Mon, 08/08/2016 11:24am

    Hello Robert,

    Apologies for the oversight. Accumulating a comprehensive list of MIT alumni who have competed in the Olympics is an inexact science! We will updated accordingly and your name to our ever-growing list. Thank you--Jay London

    In reply to by ROBERT LEVIS

    Jay London

    Mon, 08/06/2012 9:27am

    Thanks again! I will personally forward this information over to DAPER and ask them to add it to their master list. Any more names, please keep them coming!

    In reply to by al umnus

    Jay London

    Fri, 02/07/2014 1:51pm

    Thank you Joe,

    Sorting Olympians by their college affiliation is a difficult process, especially during the 1980 games! Thanks again and we will updated Mark on our lists.

    Jay London

    In reply to by Joe Paige

    Joe Paige

    Fri, 02/07/2014 12:12pm

    Mark J. T. Smith, '78, was on the 1980 U.S. Men's Fencing Team.

    Jay London

    Thu, 02/27/2014 9:34am

    Hi Beaver,

    That's a great idea. We may add another designation on the full list of Olympians page that indicates that the athletes participated in the Olympics while attending MIT.

    Thanks again,

    Jay

    In reply to by Beaver

    Jay London

    Thu, 02/27/2014 9:28am

    Hello alum,

    Olympic alternates proved especially tricky to confirm. Since they did not compete, this is no record of their participation. In Van Lidth De Jeude's case, we relied on a variety of sources, most notably a 1979 article in Sports Illustrated and a 1981 article in People magazine, both of which mention his Olympic participation.

    Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have any additional Olympic alumni.

    Jay

    In reply to by alum

    Jay London

    Mon, 02/10/2014 10:47am

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your note. We do have Mr. Steinbrenner on our list but did not outright mention him in the story because it's been difficult to determine which events he participated in. Some articles reference his competition in the 220-yard hurdles but that event has never been contested in the Olympics. Also, there is no mention in any archived <em>Tech</em> articles or in Mr. Steinbrenner's <em>New York Times</em> obituary about his Olympic participation. The website www.sports-reference.com/olympics does not have him listed as a U.S. Olympian.

    However, there are multiple articles that mention his Olympic participation, including the MIT News article that you reference. For that reason, we have kept him on our list. (I will add his graduation year.) Hopefully, we will find out more information about Mr. Steinbrenner's participation. Olympic records, especially in the early days, are very spotty, and we're working to find out more information. Thank you for reading and please let me know if you come across any additional MIT alumni Olympians!

    Sincerely,

    Jay

    In reply to by Mike J.

    Jay London

    Thu, 08/23/2012 12:22pm

    Good luck Gwen! Please keep us updated! Thanks for letting us know.

    Jay

    In reply to by Gwen Sisto

    Jay London

    Wed, 08/22/2012 2:52pm

    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the addition. DAPER has Johnny Marvin listed as competing in 1956, not as a medalist. We'll make sure that gets updated.

    In reply to by Thomas L. De Fazio

    David Silberstein

    Wed, 02/14/2018 8:42am

    I thought he qualified for the '80 games but US boycotted.

    In reply to by alum

    Jason London

    Wed, 02/14/2018 9:54am

    Hello! The US did not participate in the 1980 games in Moscow, but still recognizes anyone who qualified for the games as an official Olympian. Thank you for reading! --Jay

    ROBERT LEVIS

    Mon, 08/08/2016 2:26am

    Hey.... you forgot about me..

    Robert Levis'64,
    son of Joseph Levis'26,the 3-time Olympian

    I represented Puerto Rico in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

    Robert Levis

    Mon, 08/08/2016 12:25pm

    No apologies are needed. Thank you for all the fine work you are doing in recognizing us MIT Olympians.

    In reply to by Jay London

    Jay London

    Fri, 02/07/2014 4:34pm

    Hi David,

    The U.S. did not participate in the 1980 Summer Games but any athletes who qualified for the games were recognized and honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    Jay London

    In reply to by David

    Jay London

    Wed, 08/01/2012 11:34am

    Hello - Gary Piantedosi '76 and John Everett '76 are listed in the MIT Olympic History graph that we link to in the second paragraph. Thanks again! It was a tough list to collect, as there is no master database of MIT alumni Olympians.

    In reply to by al umnus

    Hajime Sano

    Wed, 02/28/2018 12:15am

    Yes, Jimmy Carter withheld the US Olympic Team from the 1980 Moscow Games, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In return, the Soviets boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

    In reply to by David

    Hans Hoeflein

    Mon, 01/05/2015 10:49am

    I think Nick Newman '56 Course XIII competed in sailing in 1956

    Jay London

    Wed, 08/22/2012 3:59pm

    Thank you, Mike. I have contacted DAPER and asked to add Janet to the list. Thanks again!

    In reply to by Mike

    Joe Davis

    Sat, 02/22/2014 1:34pm

    Perhaps as a footnote, we should add that Oscar Hedland, MIT Track and Field Coach in the 1950's, though not an alumnus, was an Olympic miler.....ran in the 1922 Olympics, or sometime about then. He was a fine coach.
    Joe Davis
    Class of '61, Hurdles and High Jump

    Roy Roth

    Sat, 02/22/2014 10:55am

    Jay, didn't MIT's track coach in the 1950s, Oscar Hedlund, have a connection with the Olympics -- maybe a runner back in the early 1900's. Seems to me that was the rumor.

    al umnus

    Sun, 08/05/2012 11:53am

    Sorry about missing the Olympic History web page.

    It's still missing Erland Van Lidth De Jeude, '77 who went as an alternate to WRESTLE at Montreal in '76.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erland_Van_Lidth_De_Jeude

    N Vespoli

    Wed, 08/22/2012 3:36pm

    Nancy Vespoli, MS ChemEng 1979, Rowing, 1980

    Also, the myth in the MIT weight room at the time was that the bent bar in the corner was left behind by Chris Taylor, Wrestling 1976. However, I can't find any historical information stating that he attended MIT. Perhaps you can look through MIT records to see if he was in fact, most likely, a graduate student.

    Igor Belakovskiy

    Fri, 02/09/2018 8:06pm

    The photo you have for Steve Tucker is actually his team mate, Greg Ruckman, who is actually an alum of that other school in Cambridge. :)

    Jason London

    Sun, 02/11/2018 9:17pm

    Hi! Steve had been misidentified in that photo. Thank you for the correction and thank you for reading! --Jay London

    Lyman Hurd

    Fri, 02/09/2018 11:50pm

    I am guessing that "Andrew Weaver MArch " may be a typo, also I was a classmate of Liz Bradley and I am almost certain her PhD (here listed as '82) did not come a year before her bachelor's in '83!

    Jason London

    Sun, 02/11/2018 9:12pm

    Hello! In MIT nomenclature, MArch (with a capital A) stands for master's of architecture. Andrew received his master's of architecture from MIT in 1986. --Jay London

    In reply to by lyman.hurd

    Elizabeth Bradley

    Sat, 02/10/2018 6:21pm

    I think you meant 1992 (not 1982) for my Ph.D.
    Liz Bradley

    Jason London

    Sun, 02/11/2018 9:19pm

    Hi Liz! Thank you--we've updated your PhD year. Thanks for reading! --Jay London

    M Mitsuoka

    Mon, 02/12/2018 7:49am

    In the late 80s, Rafael Nickel, Gold Medalist in Team Epee for Germany in 1984, was a researcher and assistant coach for the MIT Fencing Team

    John Everett

    Sat, 02/24/2018 6:59pm

    Chester Riley was alternate for Tokyo Olympics in 1964 (not 1962)
    John Everett '76 is also PhD '91
    Mark Smith was also on 1980 Fencing
    Thanks.

    Jason London

    Tue, 02/27/2018 4:44pm

    Hi! We've updated our story. Thanks for your updates and thanks for reading.

    -- Jay London

    Hajime Sano

    Wed, 02/28/2018 12:21am

    Great article on MIT Olympians! I first met Jordan Malone '18 when he came to train with us (Southern California Speed Skating Association) around 2002. I am a skater, coach, and administrator with the SCSSA (1984-present). I also helped him navigate the MIT admissions process after he retired from international competition in 2014. I see there are mixed references to his sport as both short track speed skating and speed skating. His sport is in fact short track speed skating. I see a speed skating logo in the 2014 By The Numbers chart, but not short track speed skating. I don't know if the chart has been updated since then.

    If you are still tracking MIT Olympians, or have developed the MIT Olympians database you previously mentioned, please update to reflect his sport.

    Thank you!
    Hajime Sano '82

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