Let the Games Begin

by Jim Reisler ’86JRN
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Just where Waldstein learned to shoot is unclear. He was unlikely to have done so growing up in New York City; more likely he practiced as an adult on his farm and estate in Newton Hall, near Cambridge, England. Nor is there a record of how he made the team; probably he asked Coubertin, who found a spot. Of the fourteen members of the American shooting team, Waldstein was one of only two who did not win medals.

Waldstein returned to Cambridge in 1895, where he would teach, off and on, for the rest of his career. He was knighted in 1912 and changed his name during World War I to Walston, perhaps to distance himself from his family’s German heritage. He died of a heart attack in 1927, at the age of seventy, while on a Mediterranean cruise, not far from several of the archaeological sites that he had uncovered.

This summer, the Olympics are being held fifty miles from Waldstein’s Cambridge, in London, with the shooting events to take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks. There are nine events: three apiece for rifle, shotgun, and pistol.

Waldstein would likely be surprised at the growth of the sport. The US national team alone has fifty members, and nearly half of them are women.

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