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Issue 31 – Spring 2020

Affable Bears
Meet the athletes
Five minutes with a Fellow – Dr Marcus Tomalin


Meet the athletes

When Emma Pooley (2001) and Tom James (2002) became Olympic medallists in 2008, they joined an impressive group of 27 Trinity Hall Olympians since the 1900 Games in Paris.

Trinity Hall Olympians have competed in disciplines ranging from athletics, cycling and skiing to, perhaps unsurprisingly, rowing and, more surprisingly, the bobsleigh. Bobsleigh champion, Billy Fiske’s short life was packed with action. Born in 1911 in New York, Fiske was educated in Europe and, aged 16, captained the US bobsleigh team to win gold at St Moritz in 1928. He repeated the victory at the Lake Placid Olympics in 1932, where he carried the flag, and declined a third opportunity in 1936. In 1928 he arrived at Trinity Hall to read Economics and History, and subsequently joined (by a subterfuge) the RAF in 1939 at the start of World War II as its first American pilot. He died of injuries sustained in battle in 1940, the first American to die in the war.

But Olympic success is only a part of the College’s sporting story. Sporting endeavours provide much more than medals: a release from academic pressures, a sense of wellbeing and a lifelong appreciation of cooperation and collaboration.

In the following articles, we hear from alumni, students and Fellows for whom sport is an integral part of their life, whether for competition, supporting charities or their own wellbeing. Will Trinity Hall have someone to cheer on in the Tokyo Games? Paralympic hopeful Jan Helmich (2016) certainly hopes so.

Article uses text about Billy Fiske written by Bridget Wheeler (1977) from The Hidden Hall.

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