image of Taffy Abel as a flag bearer at Winter Olympic Games




The Legacy of Taffy Abel: The 1st U.S. flag bearer at an Olympic Winter Games


In 1924, Taffy Abel became the first U.S. flag bearer at an Olympic Winter Games.

Born in 1900 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to an Ojibwe mother and a French-Canadian father, Clarence John “Taffy” Abel faced the harsh reality of racial discrimination from a young age. Despite this early setback, Clarence John “Taffy” Abel was a pioneer in more ways than one.

Not only was he the U.S.’ first flag bearer at the Winter Games, but he was also the first Native American athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics. Abel’s skills as a hockey player were undeniable. He quickly established himself as one of the top players on the team and eventually made the 1924 U.S. Olympic Team. His leadership and skill as a forward helped Team USA win the silver medal.

About the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum offers an immersive and universally accessible look into the journey of Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Through interactive exhibits, innovative displays and a comprehensive artifact collection, the Museum instills the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, as well as the Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration and courage in every visitor.

It honors yesterday’s legends with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame while inspiring tomorrow’s legends through entertaining activities and events. The USOPM is more than a museum but a life-changing experience that will continue to educate and inspire the public to take part for generations to come. 

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