Olympic Preview: Archiving Sports History


December 30 2013, 1:40 PM

What Teri Hedgpeth, archivist for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, enjoys most about her job is discovering relics of the past that were believed to be lost forever. She spends her days filling in gaps in Olympic history by either locating misplaced items in the 3,300 square foot archives (from when the USOC relocated from New York in 1978 to its current location at the Olympic Training Center) or unearthing new treasures. She sees the work—which she’s been doing for just over a year—as crucial to the country's sporting narrative, with pieces dating back as far as the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. "How do you tell future generations what occurred?" Hedgpeth says. "Each artifact, each piece of clothing, each record, each image, captures a snapshot of history, and when you tie them all together, then you're weaving a story."

Read "To Russia, With Love," from our January issue to learn about the Colorado athletes seeking spots on U.S. Olympic Squads.

Click through to see nine of the archives' rarest pieces.

—All images courtesy of USOC Archives

Tokyo 1940 Olympics Japanese Athletic Federation Badge: The XII Olympiad was canceled due to WWII so objects from it are, understandably, very rare. Last year, a recognized Olympic artifacts appraiser set the estimated value of this badge at more than $6,500.