West Pointers Make an Impact on the Olympics

Nov 18, 2020

Every living graduate is familiar with General Douglas MacArthur’s famous dictum: “Every cadet an athlete.” MacArthur, Class of 1903, introduced this philosophy when he became West Point Superintendent in 1919, realizing the importance of physical fitness and intramural athletic programs in the wake of the modern warfare he witnessed in World War I. The battlefields of France during the Great War also led MacArthur to devise his well known “Upon the fields of friendly strife” inscription for the old West Point gymnasium. In a 1939 letter, he explained the origin of this inscription by saying, “The training of the athletic field which produces in a superlative degree the attributes of fortitude, self-control, resolution, courage, mental agility, and, of course, physical development, is one completely fundamental to efficient soldiery.” In simpler terms, good athletes make good soldiers. Employing the symmetric property of mathematics, good soldiers then should make good athletes. West Pointers’ participation in Olympic games—approximately 100 West Pointers (89 athletes and numerous supporting players) over the course of 25 Olympiads—proves this logic. Full Story.


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