It is the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Rio tonight and so we have found some University of Glasgow alumni who have competed in past Olympic Games!
Silvanus (or Sylvanus) Olatunde Williams (1922-2006) was born in Abeokuta, south-west Nigeria, son of Joseph, a watch repairman. He studied Civil Engineering and graduated from the University with a BSc (Hons) in 1951.
During his time at the University of Glasgow Williams was an active member of the athletics section of the GUAC. He excelled at long jump and was awarded Full Blues in 1949. That year he won the first of three consecutive Scottish long-jump titles. In 1950 he was also British Universities’ champion, won his event when representing the UK against France and won a silver medal in triple jump at the Scottish Championships. In 1951 and 1952 he was UK long-jump champion.
Representing Nigeria, Williams competed in the long jump at two major global games: at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, he did not make the final; however success came at the 1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada, where he won bronze, joining fellow countryman and silver medallist, Karim Olowu, on the podium.
Williams returned to Nigeria to pursue his career, serving as a Civil Engineer in the country’s Public Works Department. Williams also took an active role in sports’ governing bodies in Nigeria, serving as the first chairman of the Amateur Athletics Association of Nigeria (AAAN), president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria 1969-79 and a member of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) from 1954 to 1974. Williams’ contributions to sport and national development were recognised with the awards of the Officer and later Member of the Order of the Niger (O.O.N and M.O.N.).
George Gladstone Robertson graduated MB ChB from the University in 1923 and MD in 1943. He was born at Shanghai, China, son of the Reverend Charles Robertson. Upon the death of his father in 1904, the family returned to Scotland, where Robertson was educated at Hutcheson’s Grammar school, before matriculating at the University in the summer session of 1918. As a student at the University, Robertson represented Britain in swimming at the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp. Upon graduating in 1923, Robertson entered a GP practice in the Gorbals before returning to the University, obtaining a MD degree in 1943.
George Haswell Wilson graduated from the University of Glasgow MBChB 1906. He was a very talented Pathologist who was appointed Assistant Pathologist to the Western Infirmary. He was a very good student at the Univeristy and was also a talented athlete. He played rugby for the University and later for Kelvinside Academicals. He was skilled at the high jump, so much so that he was chosen to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games of 1908!
Best of luck to all the athletes at RIO this year and especially those from UofG!
Categories: Archives and Special Collections