Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Olympian Tigers

Trivia question - The first sport in which Princeton athletes competed in the Olympic Games was track and field, in the first modern Games of 1896. In fact, Princeton track and field was represented in the 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1912 Games. The 1916 Games, originally scheduled for Berlin, were cancelled because of World War I, and it was in the 1920 Games where Princeton was represented by track and field and two other sports. Name the other two sports.

Before he gets to the answer, TigerBlog remembers a football game in Palmer Stadium for which there was a live tiger in attendance.

There were some great pictures of the tiger, including one in which he was crushing a football. Imagine what that Tiger could do to, say, a human head.

That tiger was in a cage and then on a very, very strong leash, under the care at all times of a group of people who clearly seemed to know what they were doing. This is in contrast to the tiger that was seen roaming around a residential neighborhood in Houston.

See for yourself:

As it turns out, this was a bit of a murky situation. It doesn't appear to be a tiger who wandered away from a zoo. The owner came and brought him back inside the house.

As TB read more about it, he learned that the neighbor with the gun was an off-duty police officer and that the "owner" of the tiger was seen fleeing in a van with the tiger. So yes, it appears to be a bit murky.

Princeton has been the Tigers since the 1880s, when the football team added orange stripes to black shirts in honor of William of Nassau of the House of Orange. This led to a newspaper story that complimented Princeton as "playing like tigers," and it just stuck from there.

Seeing a live tiger wandering around, even in those murkier circumstances, is an amazing sight. Have you ever seen live tigers at the zoo? There's a reason people love to see the big cats.

The tiger is a powerful, imposing beast and yet a beautiful one as well. It's easy to not give much thought to Princeton's nickname, as it's been the nickname for 140 years or so, but it really is a great moniker for your teams.

As for the trivia question, the answer is shooting and fencing. Karl Frederick of the Class of 1903 won gold in the 50m free pistol, 50m team free pistol and 30m team military pistol, and Henry Breckenridge of the Class of 1907 won bronze in team foil fencing.

Princeton fencing will be well-represented at the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.

On the men's side, Mohamed Hamza will be part of the Egyptian team and will compete in the individual and team foil events. Hamza, a sophomore at Princeton, competed four years ago for Egypt as well, finishing seventh in the team event.

At Princeton he has been an All-American after finishing sixth at the NCAA championships in 2018-19.

The other three Princeton fencers headed to Tokyo were all teammates on the 2013 NCAA championship team. Two of them were NCAA individual champions, and the third was an NCAA runner-up (from an all-Princeton final) and a 2016 Olympian herself.

Eliza Stone was the 2013 NCAA saber champion. Anna van Brummen was the 2017 NCAA epee champion. Kat Holmes was the 2017 NCAA epee runner up after being a 2016 Olympian.

All three will be on the U.S. team in Tokyo. 

They will be looking to join Susie Scanlan and Maya Lawrence as Princeton women's fencers who have won Olympic medals, after they won bronze in team epee in 2012. On the men's side, Hamza will be looking to join Breckenridge and Tracy Jaeckel (bronze in 1932 in team epee) as Princeton Olympic men's fencing medalists.


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