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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.


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Dig Deeper: Learn More About the Pipeline of Irish Athletics to Villanova

By Shawn Proctor

George Guida, 1946

George Guida, an early member of the Irish Pipeline to Villanova, in 1946.

Irish runners and Villanova Athletics. For more than five decades, the pairing was synonymous, resulting in medals and championships in the highest levels of collegiate and world track competition.

Yesterday Marcus O’Sullivan ’84, Villanova Men’s Track and Field Coach, and Beaudry Rae Allen ’13 MA, Preservation and Digital Archivist, discussed this era of fleet Irish feet at the talk “Irish Pipeline: Irish Athletics at Villanova,” co-sponsored by the Center for Irish Studies and Falvey Memorial Library.

In all, this pipeline of talent, beginning in 1948, included all 50 states and 715 athletes, and was a benefit to both scholar-athletes and the programs they joined. Dig deeper into this storied tradition with these resources:

Excerpt: “The Pipeline, as the American scholarship trail was originally known, soon spread far beyond Villanova University, the small rural-like campus 12 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Villanova, however, is where the connection still runs strongest.”

Excerpt: “Wildcats also have vaulted to glory in global competitions, including at least one Villanova Track and Field Olympian in every Summer Olympics since 1948. Beginning with the 1956 Summer Games…Villanovans have won 11 gold and silver medals in track and field events.”


Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor, MFA, is a Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: March 5, 2021