Torquay Winter Olympian: Oslo, 1952

oslo 1952 Olympic poster

The 1952 Winter Olympics was held at Oslo in Norway with athletes from 30 nations competing. The Australian delegation consisted of nine athletes, three in the figure skating and alpine skiing, two in the Cross-country skiing and one in the speedskating.

Alpine skiing (sometimes called downhill skiing) is one of the signature competitions at the Winter Olympics. Competitors regularly reach speeds of up to 152km/h (95mph), all while navigating a winding course full of sharp turns and soaring jumps. There are 11 events in the Alpine competition at the Games for 2022.

1952 ski team

In the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympics, Barry Beauchamp Patten (1927-2003) participated in three of the six Alpine Skiing events – Downhill, Giant Slalom and Men’s Slalom but did not progress to the medal rounds. He completed the downhill course in 3 min 53.1 secs after losing a ski in a bad fall just before the finish.

It was Australia’s second appearance at the Winter Olympics after the pioneering participation of speed-skater Kenneth Kennedy in 1936. Barry was a patrolling Torquay Surf Life Saving Club member for five seasons and became a prominent architect. Many of his projects are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, such as the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

His son Samuel Patten is an Australian former World Champion rower and Olympic medallist. From 1990 to 1991 he was a member of Australia’s prominent world class crew – the coxless four known as the Oarsome Foursome.

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