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Olympic Scrapbook

Richard A. Glendon
1920 Navy Olympic Crew
By Susan Saint Sing © 2004

The following slides contain many photos of previously unpublished and unrecorded glimpses of Glendonís life. The notes are written in his hand, and the photos and family genealogy are graciously provided by Duncan Glendon and Wayne Geehan.

Richard A. Glendon


Richard Alfred Glendon Family

  • Richard Alfred Glendon (father of the Navy coach, Dick Glendon) was from the West Coast of Ireland

  • He left Ireland and briefly settled in Canada where he married Alice McNulty in 1860

  • They moved from St. Johnís, New Brunswick and went to Harwich, Mass

  • They had five children: Thomas, Mary, Richard A. (Coach of Navy), Alice, and John

  • Dick Glendon, born in 1870, Harwich, MA
  • Married Mary Winn
  • They had seven children Ė In order of birth: Richard John, Mary Marguerite, Alice Theresa, Thomas Alfred, Hubert, Charles Francis, Kathleen "Rose"
  • They lived in Chatham, MA, on Cape Cod
  • Dick Glendon, died 8 July 1957 at Hyannis Hospital on Cape Cod
  • Richard J. coached the Plebe crew at the Naval Academy and briefly coached the varsity. Richard and Hubert coached the bulk of their careers at Columbia. Hugh coached the Lightweights.
  • Richard J. was killed in a hunting accident 12/21/1937 in Chatham at Christmas and his son, Thomas A. Glendon along with Thomasí school friend, were lost at sea when duck hunting in 1938 at Chatham, in November.

The three coaches: Richard J, Richard "Dick" A, and Hubert Glendon


Richard A. "Dick" Glendon

  • Known as "Old Dick", "The Old Man", and "Pop"
  • Beloved, respected
  • Enjoyed a popular rivalry in the press with his sons
  • Master craftsman of the American Orthodox Rowing Stroke
  • Born in Harwich, Mass. - son of a fisherman
  • Went to sea on a mackerel schooner
  • Left fishing and began coaching at the Boston Athletic Association on the Charles River
  • At 18, Boston Globe in 1892 declares him the nationís youngest professional coach
  • He coached Noble Academy crew
  • Considered "advanced", "different"
  • Coached Navy from 1904-1923, stepped aside to give his son Richard a chance at Navy
  • Coached Columbia as did sons Hubert and Richard
  • Returned to Navy in 1927, retired 1931


The Crew

Navy had a long history of rowing, as rowing was considered one of the greatest of the military arts and is one of the oldest forms of naval transportation. In 1896, trailing second to Britain in sea power, the American novelist,and midshipman/rower, Winston Churchill, declared that the US Naval Academy should, "Rule the world in oaring" and so, Navy crew set its sights on beating Britannia, the mightiest naval presence on earth, by symbolically ruling the seas through oaring. Glendon, combined an American boat, oars, stroke, and men to form an All-American effort. This is significantly different from other US eights, such as Harvard, who occasionally beat English crews previous to 1920, but who prided themselves in rowing a predominately English Orthodox stroke, coached mainly by English schooled coaches, and sometimes in English boats.


U.S. Naval Academy Varsity Season
Over mainly straight courses of a mile and 5/16ths


  • Defeated Penn
  • Defeated Harvard and Princeton
  • Defeated Syracuse
  • Navy won American Henley


  • Defeated Harvard, Columbia, Univ. Pennsylvania
  • Syracuse defeated Navy
  • Won Childís Cup at American Henley
  • Defeated Syracuse and won the Olympic trials

1920 Childís Cup - Navy, an invited guest, won prestigious American Henley
(They transported their boats on submarine chasers to the Port of Philadelphia)

Navy won Olympic trials at Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester, MA -- leaves Syracuse behind


The Olympic Experience

Olympic trip to Belgium - Newport, London, Belgium aboard the USS Frederick
The Navy crew, symbolic of the Nationís hopes to beat the British, were transported in high style while the other Olympic athletes were transported on infested transport ships

Olympic athletes training along with Navy Crew
on Narragansett machines beside covered shells

Port of Antwerp

Olympic Stadium

Navy marching in Olympic Stadium



The Navy 1920 Olympic Crew
(The press considered it an "All American Crew" because the men were from across the US)

  • Bow - V. Jacomini, Pasadena Cal.
  • No.2 - E.D.Graves, Capt.,Washington, DC
  • No.3 - W. Jordan, Cleveland, Ohio
  • No.4 - E.P. Moore, Ringgold, Virginia
  • No.5 - A.R. Sanborn, Jefferson, Wisconsin
  • No.6 - J. Johnston, Albany, New York
  • No.7 - V.J. Gallagher, Brooklyn, New York
  • Stroke - Clyde King, Grinnell, Iowa
  • Coxswain - S.R. Clark, Baltimore, Maryland

V. Jacomini

W. Jordan                                                E.P. Moore

A.R. Sanborn                                          J. Johnston

          V.J. Gallagher                 Stroke-Clyde King

                 Captain "Eddie" Graves                    Coxswain - S.R. Clark

The Race Course


The Competition

Great Britainís Leander Crew
E.D. Horsfall(past Olympic gold medalist), G.O. Nickalls, R.S. Lucas, W.E.C. James, J.A. Campbell, S. Earl, R.S. Shrove, Rev. S.E. Swann (past Olympic gold medalist), cox - R.T. Johnstone

  • Rowed English Orthodox Style
  • Leander Club is located on the Royal Henley Regatta Course-colors pink and white, mascot-hippo
  • Olympic Gold, 1908 Henley
  • Set world record of 6.10 in a heat at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics
  • Considered one of the greatest, undefeated in 1920, until the Games

  • Navy beat Belgium in the heats and France by five lengths in the semis
  • Leander beat Switzerland in the heats and Norway in the semis.
  • Navy and Leander meet in the finals at 5pm Sunday August 29

Navy defeating Leander for Gold Medal

"Cox Clark goes overbaord"

Joy in the streets

Belgian Newspaper from 1920 showing Kelly, Kelly and Costello in the double,
the Swiss coxed-four and Navy eight

  • Richard Glendon receiving the 1920 Olympic medals
  • Notice he is standing on the platform numbered "1"
  • Note in upper left reads, "Uncle Richard"

American Olympic Committee Certificate


  • Admiral Nimitz, "To Dick Glendon with best wishes and warmest regards"
  • Nimitz - Fleet Admiral, stroke 1905
  • Signing of the Japanese Surrender (on deck, notice the ship in the background) USS Missouri, Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945
  • Nimitz, "To Dick Glendon old friend of long standing - the best crew coach the Navy ever had-best wishes and warmest regards"
  • CW Nimitz, Fleet Admiral (Chester)
  • Nimitz is reported to have said: Dick Glendon, by what he put into successive generation of Navy midshipmen, undoubtedly helped us win the naval battles of WWI and WWII
  • To Dick from Doug with fond recollections of many years of friendship and deep appreciation of your wonderful record as "Coach of Navy Crew 1920-1922, World Champions, National Champions, and twice Intercollegiate Champions during my tour as Athletic Director US Naval Academy. Your co-operation was only exceeded by your success."
    Doug Howard


    Dick Glendon coached Navy for 2 more years. He tried retirement and cranberry farming. Returned to rowing to coach Columbia, briefly, turned Columbia back over to Hubert and Rick Jr., and then back to Navy in 1927



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