Two former members of the Great Britain men’s hockey team today received the Olympic bronze medals they have waited 58 years for.
In a ceremony staged to coincide with the current British squad’s four nations tournament in Nottingham, British Olympic Association Chairman Lord Moynihan presented replica bronze medals from the 1952 Olympic Games to Sir Derek Day, 82, and Neil Nugent, 83.
Day and Nugent were teammates in the Great Britain men’s team that beat Pakistan 2-1 in the bronze medal playoff at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. However, with only 11 medals presented to the team, Day and Nugent selflessly sacrificed theirs so that two teammates, Graham Dadds and John Taylor, could receive them.
At a lunch attended by former British international hockey players from the past six decades, Lord Moynihan presented the two men with their medals in the presence of Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation, Martin Gotheridge, President of the European Hockey Federation and Richard Leman, President of Great Britain Hockey.
Following the reception, Day and Nugent were welcomed on to the pitch at half time in Great Britain’s match against Germany.
Speaking at Highfields Sports Club after receiving his medal, Sir Derek Day said: “An awful lot of research went into this both here in the British Olympic Association and then the International Olympic Committee. It’s a happy end to a long story. It was a very special day because all of the family were here, old hockey playing friends were here and I’m very honoured to have the Chairman of the British Olympic Association and the President of the International Hockey Federation here.”
Neil Nugent, said: “Today has been very emotional; the presentation at half-time was wonderful and suddenly what it was all about flooded back to me and it was very moving. I’m very proud.
'Wonderful memories have come back. There was no bitterness. We were all so proud of what we had done – I always said we should have won the gold so it’s brought back wonderful memories.”
Richard Leman, President of Great Britain Hockey said: “It’s great that we’ve helped the team and in particular these two great individuals. To see the look in their eyes was wonderful. The reaction of the crowd - giving them a standing ovation - was very special.”
Lord Colin Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: “It was a wonderful day for British hockey. These two great players have rightly been honoured after nearly 58 years – an Olympic record in itself!”
The issue was first brought to light during a conversation between Tony Nunn, another member of the 1952 team, and Leman, himself an Olympic gold medal winner from 1988. Promising to investigate, Leman sought out the advice of Jan Paterson of the BOA, who is an expert on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its workings.
After thorough investigative work taking several months, it was determined that the rules in place in 1952 were similar to those in place today whereby any athlete taking part in the preliminary round of competition, within a team event, qualifies for a medal.
Now, just over a year after the enquiry to the IOC, the two men and their families have the medals their efforts in Helsinki deserved.
Credit: Ady Kerry/GB Hockey
Caption: Neil Nugent (second from left) and Sir Derek Day (second from right) were presented with their Olympic bronze medals by Lord Colin Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Assocation (centre). Also in attendance were Richard Leman (far left), President of Great Britain Hockey, and Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation (far right).
SOURCE: GB Hockey
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