Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

TBT: Villanova and the History of Running Shoes

By Ethan Shea

"World Record Two Mile Relay Team"

Villanova’s World Record Two Mile Relay Team
Left to Right: Chris Mason, Marty Liquori, Andy O’Reilly, Frank Murphy

It goes without saying that athletic footwear has developed in leaps and bounds over the past several decades, but did you know Villanova is connected to one of the most innovative running shoes ever built?

"Brooks Villanova"

1974 Villanova by Brooks

In fact, the name of this groundbreaking shoe is the Villanova, and it was made in 1974 by the running shoe company Brooks. The Villanova was the first shoe to use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) in its midsole as an alternative to heavier and less responsive rubber. Since the Villanova was released, EVA has become commonplace in the production of running shoes.

This game-changing shoe earned its name through a connection to Olympic middle-distance runner and Villanova alumnus Marty Liquori. The Villanova’s design was guided by the input of Liquori, who has a long list of athletic accolades, including American record holder in both the two mile and five kilometer distances.

At the age of 19, Liquori was also the youngest person to compete in the 1500 meter Olympic finals. Liquori’s Olympic debut took place during the summer of 1968 in Mexico City.

In 1979, Liquori published his autobiography, On the Run: In Search of the Perfect Race, which is held in Falvey’s Special Collections. The above photo of Liquori can be found in the 1969 edition of Belle Air, which can be accessed through Distinctive Collection’s Digital Library. The recently updated Digital Library can also be used to read previous issues of The Villanovan, faculty and student publications or even University commencement material dating back to 1850.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant Falvey Library.



Peek at the Week: February 7, 2022


By Jenna Renaud

Word of the Week: Salchow 

(n) a figure-skating jump with a takeoff from the back inside edge of one skate followed by one or more full turns in the air and a landing on the back outside edge of the opposite skate 

This move is named after Ulrich Salchow (1877-1949), the winner of the first-ever Olympic medal in men’s figure skating as part of the 1908 games in London, representing Sweden. The Winter Olympics didn’t begin until 1924; however, until that point, figure skating was a part of the Summer Games. 


This Week at Falvey  

NOW–Wednesday, Feb. 15 

“That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory Exhibit / Falvey First Floor & Online / Free & Open to the Public 

Monday, Feb. 7

Mindfulness Mondays | 1–1:30 p.m. | Virtual |  

Tuesday, Feb. 8

The Bible in Black, Part 1 on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament | 12–1 p.m. | Room 205 | More info here 

Friday, Feb. 11

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting | 2:30–4:30 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public  

This Week in History 

February 11, 1990 – Nelson Mandela Released from Prison 

Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, was released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990. 

June 1964, Mandela was convicted along with several other African National Congress leaders for treason, illegally leaving the country, and sabotage while fighting against apartheid and sentenced to life in prison. 

During his 27 years in prison, he did not allow his resolve to break and continued to be a symbolic leader for the anti-apartheid movement, despite being able to only send two letters and have one visit per year.  

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became South African president began to dismantle apartheid, including through lifting the ban on the ANC, suspending executions, and ordering the release of Nelson Mandela. 

In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. A year later, in 1994, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country’s first free elections, electing Mandela as South Africa’s president.

To read more about Nelson Mandela, view the full article here. 


Jenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


Weekend Recs: Winter Olympics

By Jenna Renaud

Happy Friday, Wildcats! After a year off, Falvey Memorial Library is bringing back Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Jenna, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

It feels as though we were just talking about the Tokyo Olympics (because we are), but nevertheless, it’s that time again, when athletes from all over the world are in Beijing, preparing to compete. Between COVID-19 and diplomatic boycotts, the Olympics may not be exactly the harmonious, international event we hope for, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get excited and tune in to support our athletes! This weekend, I’m providing recs for everything Winter Olympics-related, whether you have 2 minutes or 2 hours (or all weekend, because let’s be honest, I could watch curling for HOURS).

If you have 2 minutes… read about what the robot chefs will be serving up in Beijing this year. 

If you have 9 minutes… skim everything you need to know about the Olympics from the controversies to which U.S. athletes to keep your eyes on. 

If you have 10 minutes… read about the latest Olympic snow sport arms race taking place following an environmental ban on toxic ski waxes. 

If you have 1 hour and 38 minutes… and want to celebrate the Olympics without actually watching (or paying for additional streaming services) watch Cool Runnings on Disney+ or any of these other seven movies based on the winter Olympics (some more loosely based than others). 

If you have 1 hour and 40 minutes… watch the opening ceremonies! Beijing is 13 hours ahead, so the opening ceremonies technically happened at 6:30 a.m. this morning, but if you were sleeping then, check out this article about where you can stream. NBC also offers a full schedule that you can customize, so you know what times you need to be watching! 

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


Winter Olympics: It’s Time to Include Cross Country Running

By Ethan Shea

It feels like we just finished watching the Summer Olympics … because we basically did. As we all know, the 2020 Summer Olympics were severely delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, so these 2020 Summer and 2022 Winter Olympics are occurring remarkably close to each other. During normal years, there would be a two-year gap between the events, as they both take place every four years, with two-year offsets between them.

In general, the Summer Olympics seem to be more popular. There are 339 different events a the Summer Olympics and only 109 at the Winter Games, so there are more awards and excitement to go around in the summer. Not to mention that many winter events require a specific climate and hefty funding to garner the equipment needed to take part. It follows that the Summer Olympics generally get better television ratings than its colder counterpart, as more people are apt to become emotionally attached to athletes competing in events they are familiar with.

This does not mean we should not look forward to the Winter Olympics! There are countless entertaining events, such as ice hockey, snowboarding, and curling, among 106 others, but the disparity in ratings does present an opportunity for change.

"Former Villanovan Patrick Tiernan Competing in 2020 Olympics"

Former Villanovan Patrick Tiernan Competing in the 2020 Olympics

In the 2020 Games, Villanova continued its streak of Olympic representation as four former and current Villanovans (Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, Summer Rappaport, Patrick Tiernan, and Jay Wright) competed on sport’s biggest stage. Aside from Jay Wright, who was the assistant coach of Team USA’s men’s basketball team, three of these athletes competed in events involving long-distance running. Villanova continues to produce world-class track and cross country athletes, so would it not be wonderful to watch these runners compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics? I, for one, believe this should be the case, and the best way to make this dream a reality is to add cross country running (XC) to the Winter Olympics! I am not alone in this belief, as several professional runners have voiced support for XC’s Olympic inclusion. There are many reasons why this would be beneficial not only for athletes but for fans, television producers, and Wildcats alike.

The most obvious reason why XC should be in the Winter Olympics is because it is traditionally a winter sport. Most international XC events occur between December and March, and since the Winter Olympics take place in February, this addition would fit perfectly into athletes’ race schedules. Track athletes would have enough time after the games to train for the outdoor season and marathoners would still be able to prepare for the big fall marathons. Training would be cutting it close for the Boston Marathon, which takes place in April, but I am sure athletes could make exceptions for the Olympics.

We can also deduce from the popularity of running events in the Summer Olympics that adding XC to the Winter Games would draw more viewers than ever to the global spectacle. Not only would runners around the world become invested in the games, but countless nations that are underrepresented in the Winter Olympics due to their warm climates would be drawn to the event for the first time in history.

From a competitive perspective, adding XC to the Olympics would create an opportunity for athletes of diverse running disciplines to race against each other for the first time. During the Summer games, marathoners do not compete against milers or steeplechase competitors, but if XC becomes and Olympic sport, fans would be able to see all different sorts of runners compete on a unique and rugged course over an 8-10 kilometer distance.

Unfortunately the International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently defines winter sports as “only those sports which are practiced on snow or ice,” but the recent addition of sports such as surfing and skateboarding to the Summer Olympics and women’s monobob (single person bobsled) to the Winter Olympics shows that the IOC is open to making changes. If any representatives of the IOC happen to be reading this blog, I hope they will consider the benefits of adding XC to the Winter Games.

On a more personal note, I would love to watch this event, and I hope I am able to do so at some point in my lifetime. For now, I’m looking forward to watching a lot of hockey, figure skating, and ski jumping next month!

If you would like to learn more about the Olympics and Villanova’s history with the world’s greatest sporting event, check out these blogs curated here at Falvey Memorial Library!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

1 People Like This Post

Villanova Olympians: 1908-2021

The summer Olympic Games began Friday, July 23, and will continue through Aug. 8. To celebrate the games, Shawn Proctor, Communication and Marketing, shared an article highlighting Villanova’s famed Irish Pipeline. Proctor writes, “In all, 66 Villanovans have competed representing 15 different countries, winning 10 gold and five silver medals in the Olympics, and the University has been represented in every Summer Olympics since 1948.”

Four Villanovans will continue this tradition, participating in the summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan: Jay Wright (Men’s Basketball, USA) Summer Rappaport (Triathlon, USA) Patrick Tiernan (Track, Australia) and Síofra Cléirigh Büttner (Track, Ireland).

View the complete list of Villanova Olympians below (Source: VU Hoops). Keep scrolling for some images of former Olympians (courtesy of the Villanova University Archives).

List of Villanova Olympians

Year Event Villanovan Medal
1908 Track & Field J.F. O’Connell
1948 Track & Field Cummin Clancy
1948 Track & Field John Joe Barry
1948 Track & Field Jimmy Reardon
1948 Track & Field Browning Ross
1948 Track & Field George Guida
1952 Track & Field Browning Ross
1956 Track & Field Charles Jenkins, Sr. GOLD Medal in 400 Meters & 1,600 Meter Relay
1956 Track & Field Rolando Cruz
1956 Track & Field Ron Delany GOLD Medal in 1,500 Meters
1956 Track & Field Phil Reavis
1956 Baseball Ken Lowe
1960 Track & Field Don Bragg GOLD Medal in Pole Vault
1960 Track & Field Alex Breckenridge
1960 Track & Field Frank Budd
1960 Track & Field Rolando Cruz
1960 Track & Field Ron Delany
1964 Track & Field Noel Carroll
1964 Track & Field Rolando Cruz
1964 Track & Field Paul Drayton GOLD Medal in 400 Meter Relay; SILVER Medal in 200 Meters
1964 Track & Field Vic Zwolak
1964 Rowing William Knecht GOLD Medal
1968 Track & Field Noel Carroll
1968 Track & Field Marty Liquori
1968 Track & Field Frank Murphy
1968 Track & Field Dave Patrick
1968 Track & Field Larry James GOLD Medal in 1,600 Meter Relay; SILVER Medal in 400 Meters
1968 Track & Field Erv Hall SILVER Medal in 110 Meter Hurdles
1968 Swimming Tom Aretz
1968 Swimming Olaf G. von Schilling
1972 Track & Field Frank Murphy
1972 Track & Field John Hartnett
1972 Track & Field Donal Walsh
1972 Swimming Tom Aretz
1972 Swimming Olaf G. von Schilling
1972 Modern Pentathlon John Fitzgerald
1976 Track & Field Glenn Bogue
1976 Track & Field Dick Buerkle
1976 Track & Field Eamonn Coghlan
1976 Modern Pentathlon John Fitzgerald
1980 Track & Field Dick Buerkle
1980 Track & Field Eamonn Coghlan
1980 Track & Field Don Paige
1980 Modern Pentathlon John Fitzgerald
1984 Track & Field Sydney Maree
1984 Track & Field Eamonn Coghlan
1984 Track & Field John Marshall
1984 Track & Field Marcus O’Sullivan
1984 Swimming Frank Keefe – Coach
1984 Handball Stephen C Kirk
1984 Basketball George Raveling – Coach
1988 Track & Field Sydney Maree
1988 Track & Field Eamonn Coghlan
1988 Track & Field Gerry O’Reilly
1988 Track & Field Marcus O’Sullivan
1988 Track & Field Salaam Gariba
1988 Track & Field Vicki Huber
1988 Swimming Frank Keefe – Coach
1988 Handball Stephen C Kirk
1988 Basketball George Raveling – Coach
1992 Track & Field Charles “Chip” Jenkins, Jr. GOLD Medal in 1,600 Meter Relay
1992 Track & Field Marcus O’Sullivan
1992 Track & Field Sonia O’Sullivan
1992 Track & Field Salaam Gariba
1992 Swimming Lisa Flood
1996 Track & Field Maulan Byron
1996 Track & Field Kim Certain
1996 Track & Field Kate Fonshell
1996 Track & Field Vicki Huber
1996 Track & Field Marcus O’Sullivan
1996 Track & Field Sonia O’Sullivan
1996 Swimming Kire Filipovski
1996 Swimming Lisa Flood
2000 Track & Field Sonia O’Sullivan SILVER Medal in 5,000 Meters
2000 Track & Field Jen Rhines
2000 Baseball Mike Neill GOLD Medal
2000 Swimming Frank Keefe – Coach
2000 Swimming Maddy Crippen
2004 Track & Field Sonia O’Sullivan
2004 Track & Field Carmen Douma
2004 Track & Field Jen Rhines
2004 Track & Field Carrie Tollefson
2008 Track & Field Adrian Blincoe
2008 Track & Field Jen Rhines
2008 Swimming Kristina Lennox
2012 Basketball Lisa Karcic
2012 Basketball Andrew Sullivan
2012 Track & Field Sheila Reid
2012 Track & Field Marina Muncan
2012 Cycling Dotsie Bausch SILVER Cycling Team Pursuit
2016 Track & Field Sam McEntee


George Guida, 1948.


Vicki Huber, 1989.


Eamonn Coghlan.


Jen Rhines, 1996.


Lisa Flood, 1994.


Kate Fonshell, 1991.


Charles Jenkins.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.





The Origins of the Olympic Games

Ancient Olympic Runners

“Ancient Olympic Runners” by History Maps is marked with CC PDM 1.0.

With the arrival of one of the most anticipated events of the summer, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, people from all over the world are anxiously watching the competitions unfold.

A wide variety of sports are being played, from well-known ones like swimming/diving, gymnastics, basketball and cycling, in addition to less familiar events like sailing, shooting, sport climbing, and table tennis. Although the Games were delayed from 2020 to this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are an impressive number of athletes participating. According to NBC Sports, “there are 206 National Olympic Committees with a projected 11,360 athletes at the Tokyo games.” Each athlete is hoping that their training pays off with a medal win in their respective sport.

As in years past, Villanova is well represented in the summer Olympic Games. The sacrifice and dedication of our fellow Wildcats have demonstrated to be able to compete on this worldwide stage is undeniable.

The Olympic Games have long been a staple of our culture, but did you ever wonder where it all began? What is known as the “modern” Olympics began in 1896 in Athens, Greece; however, that is not when this prestigious competition actually originated.

Fast Facts about the Ancient Olympic Games:

  • The first recorded date of the Olympics is 776 BC in Olympia in the district of Elis in Greece.
  • The Games were held in honor of the king of the gods, Zeus.
  • Greek males were permitted to compete; women could not attend or compete.
  • The original competition was a foot race, but the Games evolved over time, with more sporting events added each year.
  • Running, jumping, throwing, boxing, and chariot racing were common games.
  • Pankration (a brutal combination of boxing and wrestling) was also popular. “No biting and no gouging” were the only rules of this game.
  • Competitors were naked.
  • Original prize for winners was an olive wreath.
  • 40,000 spectators attended the Olympics at the height of their popularity.
  • Winning athletes were like modern-day celebrities, earning recognition and other perks.
  • The Games were banned by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in 394 AD.
  • The Olympic Games were resurrected in 1896 by Pierre de Coubertin as a way to bring nations together to celebrate sport and friendship.
  • The first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix (France).

Dig Deeper: 

Be sure to check out some of Falvey’s helpful online resources to learn more about the history of the ancient Olympics!

(The above facts were drawn from these resources.)

Global Olympics: Historical and Sociological Studies of the Modern Games (Kevin Young and Kevin B. Wamsley)

The Olympic Games Explained: A Student Guide to the Evolution of the Modern Olympic Games (Jim Parry, Vassil Girginov, and Craig Reedie)

The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies (Helen Lenskyj and Stephen Wagg)

Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement (Bill Mallon and Jeroen Heijmans)

The Olympics,  A Very Peculiar History (David Arscott)

A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics (Neil Faulkner)

Olympia: The Story of the Ancient Olympic Games (Robin Waterfield)

The First Olympics (Betsy Carpenter)

The Modern Olympic Games and their Model in Antiquity (Louis Callebat)

Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games (Stephen R. and Gerald P. Schaus)

When were the first Olympics? (Paul Christesen)

First Olympian (Cameron Balbirnie, Alexander Street Video)

The Real Olympics (PBS, Alexander Street Video)

Welcome to the Ancient Olympic Games (International Olympic Committee)

Let the Games Begin: The First Olympics (National Geographic)


headshot picture of regina duffy

Regina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.





1 People Like This Post

Photo Friday: Ron Delany Wins Olympic Gold in 1956


Photo courtesy of University Archives.

Ron Delany, part of Villanova’s famed Irish Pipeline, sprints to gold in the 1500 meters event at the 1956 Summer Olympics setting a new Olympic record. He went on to compete in the 1960 Olympics, finishing sixth.


1 People Like This Post

Four Villanovans Chase Their Olympic Dreams

By Shawn Proctor

All eyes are on Tokyo as the 2020 Summer Games opening ceremonies commence tonight. Four Villanovans will be among the athletes competing for gold, adding to 108 years of Villanova glory at the Olympics.

Marcus O'Sullivan competes in 1982, two years before competing in the Olympics, his first of four..

Marcus O’Sullivan, part of the legendary Irish Pipeline, races in 1982, two years before competing in the Summer Olympics, his first of four appearances. O’Sullivan is now Head Coach of Villanova Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field.

In all, 66 Villanovans have competed representing 15 different countries, winning 10 gold and five silver medals in the Olympics, and the University has been represented in every Summer Olympics since 1948. For more than five decades, beginning that year, this running dominance was, in large part, powered by the famed Irish Pipeline, which saw an influx of Irish runners competing in U.S. collegiate track and field. This included, in all, 715 athletes who enrolled in programs in all 50 states, and made Villanova a destination for the fleetest of feet.

Siofra Cleirigh Buttner, the newest member of this pipeline, will represent Ireland in the 800-meters event. Australian Patrick Tiernan takes to the track for his second Olympics where he will run for gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters races, only the 22nd Villanovan to compete in multiple Olympics. “Every young athlete dreams about the chance to represent their country at the Olympics,” Tiernan told Villanova Magazine in 2016.

Sports writer Joe Boozell once quipped, “Water is wet, and Villanova is good at basketball.” This summer will add to Villanova’s Olympic memories on the hardwood, which most recently saw alumnus Kyle Lowry and Jay Wright win gold as player and coach, respectively, in the 2016 Olympics. Wright takes up the clipboard again as Assistant Coach of the USA Men’s Basketball Team, guiding a team brimming with veteran NBA talent.

Lastly, Summer (Cook) Rappaport will swim, bike, and run against the world’s best as she represents the United States in the triathlon, both in women’s individual and mixed relay.

Learn more…


Shawn Proctor Head shot
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

1 People Like This Post

Throwback Thursday: Villanovan Phil Reavis, High Jumper in the 1956 Summer Olympics

Phil Reavis High Jump

Photo courtesy of University Archives.

“Track and field was the premiere sport at Villanova in 1950. That era alone boasted many Olympians, starting the tradition of Villanova greatness at the epitome of competition.”

“Phil Reavis was particularly special. Reavis, born and raised in Somerville, Mass., found himself competing in the great sport. He did some miles and competed on relays, but eventually, found his niche in the high jump.”

“Back then, high jumpers didn’t clear the bar as they do now either—they did the western roll and not the Fosbury flop, as most high jumpers do today.” – Excerpt from “Honoring An Alumnus Trailblazer: Phil Reavis,” written by Samuel Ellison, published in The Villanovan, February 21, 2013.

Special note: Samuel Ellison, author of the article, was a Men’s Track & Field All-American and Fulbright winner.

1 People Like This Post

Learn to fence (and more!)

The London Olympics officially open tonight and just this week we’ve digitized a short book on fencing and other sports. The lengthy title of this book seems like it’s in inverse proportion to its diminutive size: How to Fence: containing full instruction for fencing and the use of the broadsword also instruction in archery, described with twenty-one practical illustrations. A complete book. And that’s not even all there is in the book!

Illustration of "The Engage" (fencing position)
“The Engage” (fencing position).

At just about 60 pages, this “complete book” includes instructions for fencing (p. 5), archery (p. 43), hurdle racing (p. 57), pole-vaulting (p. 58), hammer throwing (p. 59), and shot put (p. 60). The “practical illustrations” only appear in the fencing section, however, so you must use your imagination for the other sports (or perhaps watch some Olympic athletes in the next few days).

Photo of the books we rescued

The books we rescued.

This book was part of a collection of extremely fragile late-19th- and early-20th-century publications that we recently found in a forgotten corner of the library basement, where they would have been destined for the trash if we hadn’t saved them. Many of these publications are extremely rare and have not been digitized elsewhere, so we are excited to be preserving and sharing them. Among these books are short plays, humorous anecdotes, and “dime novels.” We’ll be posting more about some of these titles as we digitize them and Demian will be adding some to our ongoing Project Gutenberg proofreading project, so stay tuned for more!

P.S.: For more Olympic spirit, you can read about Villanova athletes in the Olympics in our digitized collection of The Villanovan. For instance, in the 1956 Summer Olympic Games, held in Australia from November 22 to December 8, two Nova track stars (Charley Jenkins and Ron Delany) brought home 3 gold medals — making Villanova track coach “Jumbo” Jim Elliott “the first American college coach to produce two Olympic winners” (p. 1). You can find more articles by searching the Digital Library’s Villanovan collection.



Last Modified: July 27, 2012

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top