Olympic Glory, Illini Style

Avery Brundage

Avery Brundage at the Opening Ceremony at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo

The 2012 Summer Olympics are well underway, and true to form, there have been several upsets, surprises and record-breaking performances.

While you’re kicking back on your couch watching the games, pontificating over just how much time these athletes must dedicate to working out (uh, way more than the average college student, we’re guessing), do you ever stop to wonder just how the Olympics get put together year in and year out? A massive amount of planning and coordination is needed, and at the helm is the International Olympic Committee. Only one American has ever served as the president of the IOC–University of Illinois alum and former Illini track and basketball star, Avery Brundage. (There’s even a scholarship named after him!)

Serving as IOC president from 1952-1972, Brundage witnessed many changes to the Olympics, and his decision¬† to continue the ’72 Munich Games after 11 Israeli athletes were killed by terrorists is still-controversial today. Intrigued to learn more about Mr. Brundage? Us, too! Luckily, the University Archives houses a vast collection of Mr. Brundage’s personal papers, photographs and paraphernalia, along with loads of other Olympic-related goodies.

To search for Olympic-related items (and anything else you might want to research) within the University’s archival collection, here are a few search tips to get started:

The Archives database can be searched via keyword or by record series. We searched for the term Olympics in the search box on the front page of the Archives web site. From there, we got a list of different types of materials, including:

  • Records and Manuscripts
  • Digital Images and Records
  • Unprocessed Materials
  • Subject Headings

We clicked on “Records and Manuscripts,” which brings up a list of collections that are related to our search for Olympics. Scrolling through the list, we found a link to the Avery Brundage Collection. If you click on the link into the collection, you’ll be greeted with a page that looks like this:

screenshot: "service location" means which Archives location has the records you need.

The series number, location of the folders/boxes and description of the collection are all highlighted. If you scroll further down the page, you’ll see a link to the PDF finding aid, which will generally give you a folder listing of everything in the collection. Those finding aids can be keyword searched in adobe as well.

screenshot: the PDF lists and describes the items in the collection.

After a little bit of searching, here are a couple more Olympics-related collections worth checking out:

You can also contact the Archives or visit in person if you would like further help (they’re located in Room 19–in the tunnel between the UGL and the Main Library)!



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