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Oliver "Butch" Martin - USI Great

It's always cool when we hear about a piece of our history being retold. If you've picked up a Velo News back in the print days of publishing or read about cycling anytime in the last half century then you've most likely read some of John Wilcockson's work.


As noted on the Velo site which is not part of the Outside brand group, John has been reporting on the Tour de France for 45 years and is the author of numerous books on racing. Many are on the Le Tour. He's also written extensively about Lance Armstrong and had a biography on Lance's sometime rival and tragic figure, Marco Pantani.


John's interests also include the history of our sport and highlighting greats who deserve more attention which brings me to the reason I'm writing about John. His subject in February of this year was Butch Martin. As John wrote for Velo, Butch was on the U.S. track pursuit team at the 1964 Tokyo Games, and was the first African American to compete for the U.S. Olympic road team.



I'd like to place these events in our club timeline. In the post-WWII era USI was transitioning from Manhattan to our present home in Westchester County. It had a leading place on the US cycling scene thanks to leadership including Otto Eisele Sr and the club's playing a prominent role in the development of USA Cycling's predecessor, the USCF. The USI ran the Olympic trials in this period and Otto Sr was the US's Olympic Team's coach at the '64 games in Tokyo. (My only connection to the Olympics is the team pin that Otto Jr gave me a while back. It is a very cool memento!)


We don't have as much detail as we probably should on this period, Butch is not featured for example, but you can learn a bit more from our timeline on our About USI page which features a nice picture of Otto Sr from the '64 games. Please read John's great story about Butch to help remedy the situation!

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