Hall of Fame

Eddie Eagan

Bobsledding, Boxing

Olympian in Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, Paris 1924 Olympic Games, Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games

Born:
April 26, 1897
Birthplace:
Denver, Colorado
Died:
June 14, 1967
College:
University of Denver
Yale University
Harvard College Law School
University of Oxford

hall of fame

Eddie Eagan

Bobsledding, Boxing

Olympian in Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, Paris 1924 Olympic Games, Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games

Born:
April 26, 1897
Birthplace:
Denver, Colorado
Died:
June 14, 1967
College:
University of Denver
Yale University
Harvard College Law School
University of Oxford
Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee
Eddie Eagan won a gold medal in boxing at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games and took a mid-life break to claim gold in the Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games in the only bobsledding race of his life.
SHARE

Eddie Eagan had won an Olympic gold medal in boxing, graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School, been named a Rhodes Scholar and studied at the University of Oxford, served in the U.S. Army and started a healthy law practice.

And yet, things felt a “little cobwebby” and Eagan wanted a break. So he joined the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team a short time before the Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games.

It didn’t matter that Eagan, then 34 years old, had never before ridden in a bobsled, let alone competed in a bobsled race.

A member of the American four-man bobsled team had decided to race in the two-man competition instead, leaving an open seat in the four-man competition for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Jay O’Brien, who was the head of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Committee and a member of the four-man team – as well as a good friend of Eagan — asked Eagan to join the group. Because of warm weather, there was no time to hold any trials to fill the spot.

Eagan, of course, was a natural. His first – and only – bobsled competition resulted in a gold medal. Eagan remains the only person to win a gold medal in the Winter Games and Summer Games in different events. (Gillis Grafstrom of Sweden won gold medals in the Antwerp 1920 Olympics and Chamonix 1924 Winter Olympic Games and St. Moritz 1928 Winter Olympic Games – all in figure skating, which was held in the summer until 1920 and added to the Winter Olympic Games thereafter.)

Eagan led a remarkable life, from his childhood in Denver, when he learned to box. He began college at the University of Denver before enlisting in the Army and serving as an artillery lieutenant in France during World War I. He returned home and enrolled at Yale, where he was still a student when he won the light-heavyweight gold medal at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games.

Eagan furthered his education and continued to box for a few more years before turning his attention to a career as an attorney. After taking off a few months for the Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games, Eagan served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps, served as head of the New York Athletic Commission, chaired President Eisenhower’s People-to-People sports committee and directed the sports program at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

Eagan died of a heart attack in 1967. He was 69.



MEDAL RESULTS
1920AntwerpLight-HeavyweightGold
1932Lake PlacidFour-ManGold
RELATED GALLERY
  • Sint excepteur
connect with us
NEXT UP
  • SPORT: 
  • Swimming
  • BORN: 06.29.1985
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
Swimmer Erin Popovich is a three-time Paralympian; 14 of her 19 Paralympic medals were golds. She is a two-time winner of the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
  • SPORT: 
  • Volleyball
  • BORN: 07.30.1977
  • Los Angeles, California
Misty May-Treanor was a college star at indoor volleyball, then successfully transitioned to one of the best beach volleyball careers of all-time, teaming with Kerri Walsh Jennings to win three Olympic gold medals and retiring with a then-record 112 wins.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.06.1944
  • Clarksville, Texas
Tommie Smith's courage to protest for racial equality continues to be remembered throughout the sports landscape.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.05.1945
  • Harlem, New York
John Carlos and Tommie Smith's protest for racial equality has echoed throughout the sports world since the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games.
Skip to content