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July 12, 1976

Oarsman No. 7 Recalls 1924 Glory Days

Author Affiliations

From the Medical News Department, AMA Scientific Publications Division, Chicago.

JAMA. 1976;236(2):170-172. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270020040022

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A self-described "miserable highjumper" who became an oarsman on an undefeated rowing crew recalls no particular personal psychological stress at the 1924 Olympics.

The jumper-turned-rower is Benjamin Spock, MD, whose book on infant and child care has sold some 25 million copies in this country alone. He was No. 7 oar in the Yale University shell that won that event on the Seine River in Paris a half-century ago.

That trip to France was the first abroad for the future physician, author, and presidential candidate, and, in his words, "everything was exciting about it." But, in retrospect, he thinks the real competitive tension came before the Yale crew even left the United States.

"The Olympic trials were on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. That was a wildly close race. We came down the whole 2,000-meter [slightly more than a mile] course a quarterlength behind what was called the Navy officers'