Monday, August 15, 2016

Ted Huntley: An Elmira Olympian

by Kelli Huggins, Education Coordinator

Last week, we all cheered on Elmira's own Molly Huddle when she broke the American record in the Women's 10,000 Meters at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Congratulations, Molly! Molly's success got me thinking about other Elmirans with ties to the Olympic games, and I discovered Clarence "Ted" Huntley, an alternate for the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Like Molly, Ted competed in track and field, but his specialties were pole vault and javelin.

Ted graduated from Elmira Free Academy, where he was a standout athlete. He attended Syracuse University, where he was the president of the track team and was viewed as one of the best pole vaulters. He previously spent two years in the Navy during World War I, and afterwards, trained and competed with other Navy veterans.

During the Olympic trials, Ted qualified as an alternate for the team. He did attend the games in Antwerp, but he didn't get to compete. Still, the 1920 games were important, especially for veterans, because the war had greatly impacted the Olympics. The 1916 games in Berlin were cancelled and some countries, like Germany and Austria, were barred from competing in 1920. Ted returned from Antwerp on October 7, 1920.
Huntley pole vaulting at Syracuse University's stadium
After the Games, he turned down offers to play professional baseball and instead went to work in investment banking, opening his own firm in Elmira in 1926. He worked as a consultant for commercial banks and later, became president of the Central Railroad of Tennessee.

Ted believed that athletics were crucial and he supported local sports teams and endeavors. In a speech at the YWCA in 1930, he said, "Success in any kind of endeavor cannot be obtained without the necessary strength given by a fine physical development; neither can the goal of success be realized unless one is trained in the ideals of fair play, honesty, integrity, and loyalty as taught in athletics." He died in Washington, D.C. in 1961.

No comments:

Post a Comment