Range of emotions at the Olympic Games

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

The Olympic Games invokes a full range of emotions; from the absolute joy of the two high jumpers who chose to share the Olympic gold medal, to the despair of failure to live up to personal expectations.

There was plenty to celebrate for Kiwi sports fans when the Black Ferns Sevens triumphed in the gold medal match against France.

The icing on the cake with the Black Ferns Sevens victory, was that it was New Zealand's 50th Olympic Gold Medal in 101 years of Olympic competition.

What was special about the Kiwi Olympic milestone, was the attention given to New Zealand's first gold medal winner of boxer Ted Morgan at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Sideline Sid is an unashamed boxing fan, who has written about New Zealand amateur boxing for three decades, with the recognition of Ted Morgan's achievements bringing joy to his being.

Ted Morgan was one half of a two-man boxing team selected for the Amsterdam Olympic Games.

The Olympic team arrived in England five weeks after departing on the SS Remuera, before journeying to Amsterdam.

Not for them was the relative comfort of a 24 hour flight of today, but five weeks at sea where fitness had to be maintained in far from suitable training conditions.

Sparring at the famous Blackfriars gym in London brought disaster, with the New Zealand boxer dislocating the first knuckle of his left hand.

Searching the historian’s companion of papers past, revealed a piece from a 'Post' correspondent on board the SS Remuera, on the Olympic team trip home.

Ted Morgan told the correspondent that his left hand was practically useless when he entered the ring in the final.

"No sooner had the fight started than I saw a lovely opening. I did not know whether to hit or not, but I let drive with all my strength. The pain in my hand was terrific and as the fight went on the glove seemed to be swelling and swelling".

In spite of the pain, the 21-year-old Wellington plumber went on to outbox the Argentinean Landini, who was regarded as a knockout specialist, to give New Zealand their first Olympic Gold Medal.

It was also interesting to find another piece in papers past from the Christchurch Press dated October 15, 1928.

"E Morgan's win at the Olympic Games was the subject of warm congratulations at a meeting of the (New Zealand) Boxing Council and it was resolved to send him a fitting telegram."

"It was resolved to make a recommendation to the New Zealand Boxing Association, that a New Zealand challenge cup to be known as the Morgan Cup be added to the Welterweight championship."

First presented at the 1928 National championships, the names of further New Zealand Olympic representatives in Bert Lowe (1932) Tommy Arbuthnott (1936) Graham Finlay (1956) Jeff Rackley (1972) and David Jackson (1976) have been engraved on the Ted Morgan Cup.

David Nyika, following in the traditions of overcoming adversity set by Ted Morgan, will become just the fourth Kiwi boxer to receive an Olympic medal when he is awarded a bronze medallion at the Tokyo Olympics Heavyweight medal ceremony.


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