Horace Davenport

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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

A tremendous all-around athlete, Horace Davenport will forever be remembered as one of the most celebrated members of Columbia's famous rowing eight of the late 1920's.

Davenport played three seasons of varsity football and competed on the swimming team for four years.  However, it was as an oarsman that Davenport excelled and gained his greatest accolades.

As a first-year, he captained the boat that won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association two-mile freshmen race by 10 seconds over California at the IRA Championship at Poughkeepsie in 1926.  He later sat as the No. 7 oar in a boat that won the varsity IRA Championship twice in three years, over a four-mile course in the Hudson River that was one of the major sports attractions in the nation in the 1920s.  In 1927, the Columbia shell finished in 20:57 to beat national powers Washington and California.

In 1929, Davenport and his crew took home another National Championship in Poughkeepsie on a day where four of the eight competing teams were swamped by rough water.  That Columbia team would eventually go on to win the Childs Cup Regatta against Princeton and Pennsylvania in both 1928 and 1929, giving Columbia two straight victories in the race for the first time since the competition began in 1879.

Davenport was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 1964 and received rowing's most prestigious honor, the Jack Kelly Award, in 1969.  Just months before his passing in 1991, he was inducted into the New York Sports Hall of Fame.

Perhaps Davenport's biggest contribution to his sport was the founding of the National Rowing Foundation in 1966.  Serving as the chair, he personally covered the expense of sending the US team to European World Championships for many years.  

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