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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Thursday, July 19, 2012 02:40 PM, by Noraleen DuVall Young
Ann Curtis Cuneo
Omega/UC Berkeley
When the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27 in London, many will be following the progress of our favorite athletes and sports (I really enjoy the rowing and sculling competitions.) Theta was represented the last time the Summer Olympics were held in London. In 1948, swimmer Ann Curtis Cuneo, Omega/UC Berkeley, won Gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter relay and a Silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle. You can catch one of her Olympic swims in this video. Her wins made her an household name. If you read Newsweek, the "Periscope" column of the July 16, 2012 issue has a picture of her when she graced the July 26, 1948 front cover.

An article in the Magazine recounted her visit to Buckingham Palace with the other Olympic athletes. She met King George who asked her where she lived, and when she replied San Francisco, he commented "Oh, that place with the best and worst climate." She also met Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II).

Prior to the 1948 Olympics, Ann had already made a name for herself, winning the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award in 1944 at age 18. The Sullivan Award is given each year to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S. Ann was the first woman and first swimmer to receive the award.

Initiated in March 1946, Ann coached the members of Omega Chapter for a synchronized swim show for attendees at the 1946 Grand Convention held at Pasadena, California. After her retirement from competition, she, with her husband, established the Ann Curtis School of Swimming in San Rafael, California. Two of the school's students went on to compete in the 1972 and 2008 Olympics.

We know of ten Thetas who have participated in past Summer Games (four additional ones in the Winter Games), but we have not yet heard if there are any Thetas connected with the 2012 Summer Olympics. So let us know if there is a Theta we can all follow during these Games.

The archives are financially supported by Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation.

Noraleen Duvall Young, Alpha Chi/Purdue, is staff archivist at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and is a charter Life Loyal member.