UC Davis and the Olympics
The Special Collections Department presents highlights from the Colby E. “Babe” Slater Collection as well as several faculty and alumni who are connected to the Olympic Games.
Colby E. “Babe” Slater (1896-1965) was the first University of California, Davis alumnus to win an Olympic gold medal. Slater graduated from the University Farm School (now the University of California, Davis) in 1917. An outstanding athlete, Slater played on the U.S. Olympic Rugby Team and won gold medals for rugby in 1920 and 1924. At the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, the inexperienced U.S. Rugby Team beat the skilled French team to win the gold. The disappointed French fans rioted in the stands and since that time rugby has not been an Olympic event. After returning from the Olympic Games, Slater bought land in Clarksburg, California, where he farmed for many years.
More information about the Slater Collection may be found in the finding aid available on the Online Archive of California.
More recent participation in the Olympic Games by UC Davis alumni and faculty includes:
- Catherine Carr West (Class of 1977), a gold medal swimmer in the 1972 Olympic Games.
- Peter Snell (Class of 1977), a gold medal runner in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games.
- Linda Somers (Class of 1983), a marathoner who competed in the 1996 Olympic Games.
- Womens’ Track and Field coach Deanne Vochatzer, the head coach of the U.S. women’s track and field team at the 1996 Olympic Games.
- The husband and wife veterinary team of Jack Snyder and Sharon Spier, who will coordinate the equine veterinary facility for the 2008 Olympic Games.