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Bill Boddington

Sport: Soccer & Field Hockey

Born: November 22, 1910

Died: November 15, 1995

Town: Jersey City

William Westcott Boddington was born November 22, 1910 in Jersey City and grew up north of New York City. He was a tremendous all-around athlete with a wiry frame and great strength and stamina. A fine lacrosse and soccer player, Bill became intrigued by field hockey in his early 20s. Men’s field hockey had been an Olympic sport since 1908, but not until 1932 did U.S. athletes begin taking it seriously.

The sport was moved forward by coach Henry Greer, who organized matches and began scouting for players on the eastern seaboard. The best players were experienced in lacrosse and shinny. Greer coached the Rye Field Hockey Club. Bill played for the newly formed Westchester Field Hockey Club. He made the team and traveled west with the U.S. team to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Along the way, he amazed teammates by descending to the bottom of the Grand Canyon hand-over-hand on a water pipe.

In the opening match, inexperienced and totally untested Team USA lost to japan 9–2. Next came India, the defending Olympic champions. The Indians had won gold in 1928 without allowing a single goal. With the score 5–0, Bill broke the streak with a blistering shot past the Indian goalie. India then went on to score 19 unanswered goals. Because Japan and India were the only countries that sent field hockey teams to the Summer Games, the Americans actually won a bronze medal.

The 1936 Olympics, in Berlin, saw a total of 11 teams enter, the Americans went down in flames, losing all three of their matches and scoring just twice. Bill did not score either of the goals.

An accomplished skier, Bill enlisted in the army in 1941 and trained in the mountains of Colorado for an elite unit


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