Monthly Archives: October 2010

Dad’s Closet: From the 1968 Summer Olympics

My father was a graduate of Yale University, class of ’69.  One of his roommates was a fellow named David Johnson from Wilmington, DE.  David was Yale’s star swimmer and starter in the individual medley.  Making the US Olympic Team as an alternate, he went to down to Mexico City in the summer of ’68.  During their qualifying meet, the Medley relay team nearly broke the world record.  One of the relay swimmers, however, came down with dysentery the day before the finals.  The culprit: Mexico City’s tap water.  David was inserted into the relay lineup, and with the strength and talent of his team members, all he had to do was fall into the pool, swim a leg, and collect a gold medal.

Disaster struck for David when his diarrhea kicked up the evening before the meet.  He spent the rest of the night on the porcelain throne and by morning he had lost nearly 12 lbs and could barely walk.  Unable to compete, David missed out on his chance for gold that summer.

The t-shirt was a gift to my father.  It is the absolute genuine article, made by Hanes expressly for members of the 1968 Olympic team.  The shirt is unbelievably soft, beautiful 100% cotton.  Raglan sleeves too.  Perfect, but it’s a little too precious to wear very often.