As the crowds gather in Sochi for this year’s winter Olympics, let us cheer on current Aggie Olympians and those who have competed in the past. Thanks in part to a donation to UC Davis, Aggie fans will have something new to look forward to in the summer of 2016, when rugby makes its exciting return to the Olympic Games.
Rugby hasn’t been played at the Olympics since 1924, when a tall California Aggie named Colby “Babe” Slater ’17 led the U.S. team to victory and the gold.
Babe’s legacy as UC Davis’s first Olympic gold medalist (1920 and 1924) can now be enjoyed by our entire community, thanks to a generous gift of historic research papers and memorabilia made by Babe’s daughter Marilyn (Slater) McCapes ’55 and her husband Dick ’56, D.V.M. ’58. It’s a legacy that has inspired other Aggie athletes to go for gold themselves. And, as a centerpiece for a USA Rugby organization’s and the International Rugby Board’s marketing campaign in 2005, it played a role in the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bring rugby back to the games.
The Colby E. “Babe” Slater Collection is available for research in Special Collections at the University Library and his two gold medals are on display at the Colby E. “Babe” Slater Athletic Hall of Fame on the UC Davis campus.
“From our family’s standpoint, this is a priceless collection and knowing that it will be preserved in perpetuity was important to Marilyn,” Dick McCapes said. “We are grateful to Shields Library, Intercollegiate Athletics, and others on campus who worked with us to make this a reality.” Dick and Marilyn were so impressed with the work to preserve and exhibit the Slater collection that they created a dedicated fund to further support the activities of the Special Collection Department at Shields Library.
When we watch team USA out on the field, let’s give an Aggie cheer that would make Babe proud.
For more information about the research collection see: http://www.lib.ucdavis.edu