Penn professor Michael M. Dorizas competed in the 1908 Olympics for what country?

Home Blogs Question of the Week Penn professor Michael M. Dorizas competed in the 1908 Olympics for what country?

Penn professor Michael M. Dorizas competed in the 1908 Olympics for what country?

2012-07-29 00:02


Answer: Greece


As the London Olympics begins, Memory Stream remembers an Olympian and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania—Michael M. Dorizas. Dorizas, competing as a member of the Greek Olympic team, won a bronze medal in the men’s stone throw in 1906 and silver medal in the javelin throw at the 1908 Olympic Games.

Dorizas was born to Greek parents in Constantinople (now Istanbul) where his father was First Secretary of the Greek Legation. He was educated in Turkey and attended Robert College, an American institution in Istanbul. During his college years, Dorizas was a member of the Greek Olympic team, when he competed in the men’s stone throw, javelin, discus throw, shot put, and other events.

Dorizas enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania for graduate school and became famous for his skills at wrestling and weight throwing. He broke a strength-testing machine there, earning him the reputation as the strongest man at UPenn. Dorizas received his M.A. degree and Ph.D. from UPenn and later became an assistant professor of geography at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. He traveled extensively each summer as he studied and gathered materials for his geography lectures. He worked at the Wharton School until his death in October of 1957.

The society's Michael M. Dorizas papers (MSS022) include correspondence, clippings, notes and writings, and course materials.  Photographs from the collection have been separated under collection number PG119.

Image: Michael Dorizas in an undated photograph


Submitted by Don Sayenga on

When Prof. Dorizas competed in 1906 I believe he was listed with the Turkish team but I am not certain of this. In the 1906 Games I think it was possible to enter as an individual. Can anyone confirm?

Submitted by on

I don't know enough about the history of the Olympics to fully answer your question. The information on Dorizas mostly came from our collection's finding aid. (And if someone comes forth with a correction, we'll certainly make it.)

Thanks for reading!

Submitted by Richard Lewis on

The question cannot be answered, as athletes were not identified by national affiliations between 1896 and 1906 – not officially, at least.

How many among us would welcome an end to "medal counts", professionals masquerading as amateurs, and the jingoistic theatricality associated with the contemporary Olympic Games?

The moment memebers so-called "Dream Team" set foot on the court in 1984, the Olympic dream was over, in my opinion.

Submitted by Melis (not verified) on

I'm currently working on an article about the history of athletes from College where Dorizas went to school.From what I've read, he competed as a member of the Greek team in the 1906 Summer Olympics.

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