Alice Lord Landon (USA)
Honor Pioneer Swimmer (1993)
FOR THE RECORD: 1920 high platform diver; Olympic Official: 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936; Coached and chaperoned many teams: WORLD RECORDS: 1919 (400yd freestyle relay); U.S. OLYMPIANS: 20 years at Olympic House in New York City; Secretary, 1959-1982.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Alice Lord brought honor and prestige to her hometown as a member of the 1920 U.S. Olympic Diving Team.
Alice’s career began in 1919. As a member of the New York Women’s Swimming Association, Alice Lord and three of her teammates, Ethelda Bliebtrey, Charlotte Boyle, and Leslie Bunyan, set the world record in the 400-yard freestyle relay in four minutes, 59 seconds–the first relay team to swim under the five-minute mark. Also, in 1919, Alice won the United States Junior National Diving title which set the stage for her participation as a diver on the 1920 Olympic Team to Antwerp, Belgium.
Alice did not win an Olympic medal, but she won an Olympic champion, her future husband, Dick Landon, a member of the U.S. Track and Field Team in route to Antwerp. Dick won the gold medal in the high jump after a whirlwind shipboard romance with Alice. Three years later, Alice and Dick were married.
Alice, being from a family that revered physical fitness and sports, participated in all of the activities that were considered unladylike in the early 1900s. Besides swimming workouts at the W.S.A., she swam the Long Island Sound in New York, walked ten to twenty miles each day, whooped it up horseback riding, and learned how to shoot a rifle.
After her athletic career ended in 1920, Alice officiated many national and international competitions for swimming and track and field, in addition to serving as the official starter for women’s National and Olympic swimming competition from 1924 through the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. In 1984, Alice’s former teammate, 1920 Olympic gold medalist Aileen Riggin, marched at the Los Angeles Games, wearing replicas of the 1920 uniforms and helped to carry the United States flag.
She and her husband, Dick, helped to found the U.S. Olympians, an alumni organization of former Olympic athletes and associates. She became secretary and remains an active member of the National Body.
Alice continues her athleticism today as a participant in the Golden Age Olympics. She also hosts and teaches student programs in various schools, colleges and clubs. She was the head chaperone for the 1967 United States Pan American Team at Winnipeg, Canada and played an active role in the 1968 winter and summer Olympic Games.
Born in the gay ’90s of the 19th century, Alice Lord Landon is still going strong in the ’90s of the 20th century.