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Brundage, Averylocked

(28 September 1887–08 May 1975)
  • Allen Guttmann


Brundage, Avery (28 September 1887–08 May 1975), athlete, businessman, and sports administrator, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Charles Brundage, a stonecutter, and Amelia “Minnie” Lloyd. After a move to Chicago, Charles Brundage deserted his family, leaving the five-year-old Avery and his brother Chester to be reared by their mother. Thanks to some fairly affluent uncles, the Brundages endured genteel rather than desperate poverty. Brundage worked his way through the University of Illinois, earning a B.A. in engineering in 1909. In college and after, he was a dedicated and successful track-and-field athlete. His participation in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, in the decathlon and pentathlon, was a defining experience. In an unpublished autobiography he wrote that his “conversion, along with many others, to [founder Pierre de] Coubertin’s religion, the Olympic Movement, was complete.” The choice of the word “religion” was deliberate. For Brundage, the Olympic Games were a utopian contrast to the sordid worlds of business and politics....

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