Rugby’s greatest Olympian? Dan Carroll

In the run-up to this year’s Rugby World Cup, I thought I’d share every now and then one of my favorite American rugby stories. Of course, the only proper way to start is with the legendary Daniel Carroll. By Ambassador David Huebner

Dan_Carroll_1908

Dan_Carroll_1908

As I’ve mentioned before, the United States Eagles are the two-time defending Olympic rugby gold medalists. What I haven’t mentioned, and what too few people recall these days, is that rugby’s greatest Olympian — Dan Carroll — had a hand in both of those US gold medals.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that our Australian friends claim Dan as well. He was born in Flemington, Victoria, and won a rugby gold medal for the Australasians in 1908.

When the Wallabies later went on tour in the United States, he decided to stay on in America. He settled into American life and became a naturalized US citizen. When World War I broke out, he joined the US Army as a lieutenant, winning a Distinguished Service Cross.

After the war, Carroll went to Stanford University, in my home state of California. He studied geology and coached rugby at the university.

He was selected as a playing-coach for the US Olympic team that competed in the 1920 Summer Games in Antwerp. The French were huge favorites to win the gold medal, but the United States scored an upset, 8-0, with Marcus Palmisano making the only try. Carroll played at first five-eighth. (For the rest of this amazing story, go here.

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