Simple Mistake Turns To Bronze

Aug 9, 2013

It was a simple mistake, just a mathematical error, but it turned into Bronze.

Hi, this is Tom Kelly, and I'll be right back with the Olympic story Behind the Gold.

The modern day Olympic games started in 1896, patterned after the ancient Grecian contests. But it wasn't until 1924 that the Olympic site of Paris chose to do a winter exposition-an event that later became the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix. Ski jumping was the Marquee Competition.

The American favorite was team captain, Anders Haugen, a Norwegian native who immigrated to Colorado in 1908. The holder of two world jumping records, Haugen battled his native countrymen but missed the medals podium as Norway went Gold-Silver-Bronze. A full 50 years later, an historian broke up the Norwegian medals sweep. In 1974, Norwegian ski historian, Jakob Vaage, uncovered an error in the scoring calculations while preparing for a reunion of the medalists. Indeed, the American, Haugen, should have been third.

In an unprecedented move, the Bronze medal of Norwegian, Thorleif Haug, was presented to Haugen by the medalist's daughter in a special ceremony in Oslo. It was a tearful moment for the 85 year old Haugen who lived to experience his dream. The historic first U.S. Winter Olympic medal is on display at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard hall of fame in Ishpeming, MI.

This is Tom Kelly with Behind the Gold... Only in Park City... Only on KPCW.

A new Behind The Gold airs Monday mornings at 8:30 AM and repeats Friday afternoons at 12:30 PM.

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