Golfer and Laureate

by Jay Nordlinger

In a post earlier today, which mixed the Masters and the Nobel Peace Prize, I said that no golfer had yet won the prize. Several readers have written, “What about President Obama? Isn’t he a golfer?”

Oh, yeah, true — I forgot. O is not the kind of golfer I had in mind, but still . . .

Several outstanding athletes have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Fridtjof Nansen — a real-life Indiana Jones (as I explain in my interview with K-Lo today) — set a world speed-skating record. He was also one of the best cross-country skiers in Scandinavia. Philip Noel-Baker ran track for Britain at the Olympic Games of 1912, 1920, and 1924. (The 1916 Games were canceled, obviously.) In the 1920 Games, held in Antwerp, he won the silver medal in the 1500 meters.

Noel-Baker was unsound about disarmament, but the guy could run.

Ralph Bunche was amazing. He was the star athlete at Jefferson High in L.A., as well as the valedictorian. That’s a little weird: Usually, you’re a jock or a brain. But this is weirder: He went to UCLA on a basketball scholarship, where he was again a star athlete. And the valedictorian.

And we’re talking about a young black man in the 1910s and ’20s. His grandmother had been a slave. When Bunche earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, he was the first black person in America to earn a Ph.D. in political science.

Talented fellow. Nothing like the One, though . . .

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