Thursday, May 15, 2008

一个真正的自由奥运英雄 William Fiske - an American Olympic Hero

Kai Chen on Freedom 陈凯论自由

Lake Placid, February 1932, III Olympic Winter Games. The team USA I, winner of the 4-man bobsleigh event: William FISKE, Edward EAGAN, Clifford GRAY and Jay O'BRIEN. Credit: IOC

一个真正的自由奥运英雄 William Fiske - an American Olympic Hero

The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games, were celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted the Summer Olympics the same year in Berlin.


Bill Fiske 是一个真正的美国英雄,真正的自由奥运的传播者,真正的有良知的体育运动家。 作为两次奥运金牌得主(1928,1932) 的百万富翁,Bill Fiske 以个人的良知抗议了美国奥委会对纳粹德国的软弱和绥靖,抵制了1936年的德国纳粹冬季奥运。 1939 年他志愿加入了英国空军。 1940 年战死于保卫英国的与纳粹的空战中。 一个伟大的体育家,一个伟大的人。 --- 陈凯

Bill Fiske is a real American hero, a real Olympia, a real athlete who refused to give up his conscience for glory. Two time Olympic gold medalist, a millionaire, Bill Fiske protested American Olympic Committee's decision to expel two American athletes with Jewish background from 1936 Olympic roster. He personally boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany, giving up the chance for the third gold medal. In 1939 Bill Fiske joined the Royal Air Force. He was killed in battle defending England. A true great athlete. A true great man. --- Kai Chen


Dear Visitors:

William Fiske III is a lesser known Olympic gold medalist today. But he is a hero and an example of how a true athlete should think and act, according to his individual judgment by his own conscience.

Bill Fiske never lost sight when the whole world was engulfed and enamored by the emerging Nazi power in Germany in the 1930s. A heroic individual act of conscience might not prevent WWII from happening. But the world of good and humanity survived because of millions of such individual act of conscience. The world will never forget what Bill Fiske had accomplished in his short life -- preservation of what is worthy in all endeavors of mankind.

I hope you enjoy his story and remember him in your heart. Best. Kai Chen 陈凯


William Fiske III

Birth: Jun. 11, 1911
Death: Aug. 18, 1940

Pilot Officer Fiske was an American pilot who joined the Royal Air Force. He became the first U.S. citizen to be killed in World War II.

The son of William and Beulah Fiske, he was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a wealthy banking family whose ancestors had come from Suffolk, England in the seventeenth century.

He attended school in Chicago, went to France with his family in 1924, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1928 where he studied Economics and History. He was well known on the Cresta run at St Moritz and for many years was the unbeaten champion. He was the driver of the 5-man bobsled team for the USA in the Winter Olympics of 1928 at St Moritz at the age of 16, and the now 4-man bobsled team in the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. At this event, he carried the flag for the Americans at the opening ceremonies, presided over by Governor Franklin D Roosevelt of New York. The Billy Fiske trophy is named for him, the youngest Gold Medal winner in the sport. In 1933, he took a turn at the movies, coproducing "White Heat" with Whitney De Rhan, starring Virginia Cherrill, the first wife of Cary Grant.

In 1939, using the ruse of Canadian citizenship, he join Britain's Royal Air Force. He wrote in his diary: "I believe I can lay claim to being the first US citizen to join the RAF in England after the outbreak of hostilities."

He became Acting Pilot Officer Fiske (Service number 78092) on 12APR1940 and 3 months later on July 12 he was assigned to No. 601 Auxiliary Air Force Squadron at Tangmere. Bill Bond of the Battle of Britain Historical Society argues that while Fiske was a remarkable character, it was important to remember that he recorded no confirmed kills. On August 11 he claimed his first probable kill of a Bf-110 and on August 13 he claimed the probable kill of a Ju-88. On August 16, 1940 his squadron was scrambled to repel an attack against the Tangmere aerodrome. Following the successful mission, Fiske was severely burned when his Hurricane (P3358) crash-landed and caught fire. "Billy" Fiske died a day later from shock while in the Royal West Sussex Hospital in Chichester.

On August 20, 1940 he was laid to rest in the Boxgrove Cemetery in Sussex. He is honored as the first American airman in British Service to die in World War II. In 1941, during the unveiling of a tablet in his honor in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair said, "Here was a young man for whom life held much. Under no kind of compulsion he came to fight for Britain. He came and he fought, and he died."

"An American who died so England can live."

Cause of death: Casualty of war

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Saint Mary and Saint Blaise Churchyard
West Sussex, England

Record added: Feb 1 2002
By: Jim Tipton

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