Past Olympics Athletes >> Edward Eagan
- Date of birth
Olympic Games (2 medals - 2 gold)
- Boxing (light-heavyweight): 1st (1920)
- Bobsleigh (four-man): 1st (1932)
Making Summer and Winter Olympic history
American Edward Eagan is the only athlete to have won Olympic gold in both the Summer and Winter Games, first in boxing and later in the bobsleigh.
For his first exploit in Antwerp in 1920, 22-year-old Eagan won a boxing gold in the light-heavyweight division following a difficult points decision over Norway's Sverre Sörsdal.
In 1924 he made a foray into the heavyweight division for the Paris Games but was beaten on points by Britain's AJ Clifton in the first round. But it was a brutal fight and the Briton was unable to continue in the competition due to the particularly violent nature of the bout, and ultimately, injured hands.
Eagan is a prime example of the self-made man. He was born into a family of modest means in Denver, Colorado, and his father was killed in a railway accident when he was just a year old. His mother though managed to bring up the family by teaching languages.
Without a father young Edward chose a fictional role model in Frank Merriwell, an upright hero of best selling novels, and it was in following his example that he never smoked or drank alcohol.
He was also a great scholar and with the help of bourses and grants attended Harvard and Yale Universities in America and Oxford in England, graduating in 1928. Eagan then married a wealthy automobile company heiress.
In 1932 he made his career debut as a lawyer, a profession he would continue working in until the Second World War.
The same year, Eagan, having abandoned boxing in favour of bobsleigh, was selected for the four-man American team which included the experienced figures of William Fiske, Clifford Grey, and the 48-year-old veteran Jay O'Brien.
In Lake Placid, the foursome won gold ahead of the second American team.
Subsequently, Eagan was engaged in and survived the Second World War while sadly, his three bobsleigh team-mates perished in combat. Eagan was later promoted to the rank of colonel.
He died in 1967 at the age of 69.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.