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Robert VAN OSDEL

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A Very Good Friend

Bob Van Osdel and Duncan McNaughton were good friends and fellow students and high jumpers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. At the 1932 Olympics, held in Los Angeles, Van Osdel represented the United States and McNaughton represented Canada. In the Olympic final, the battle for gold came down to a duel between the two friends. With the bar at 1.97m, Van Osdel approached McNaughton and advised him on improving his technique. "Get your kick working," he concluded, "and you will be over". That piece of advice and encouragement did the trick. McNaughton cleared the bar and won the gold medal, while Van Osdel missed and won the silver medal. In 1933, McNaughton's gold medal was stolen from his car. Van Osdel, now a dentist, made a mold from his own silver medal, poured gold into the mold, and sent the replica gold medal to McNaughton.


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