100 Years as Trojans

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100th_logo1.jpgFriday, February 24, 2012, marks a special anniversary for USC athletics.  A century ago, we were dubbed Trojans for the first time and we've embodied the fighting spirit ever since.

The "100 Years as Trojans" celebration begins tomorrow as USC's undefeated baseball program and No. 1 men's tennis team are in action to kickoff the year-long tribute to Troy.

The Trojan moniker was given to USC by then Los Angeles Times sports editor Owen Bird, who recognized that the underdog track team had a fighting spirit that belied its stature and disadvantages.  Without announcement or fanfare, Bird casually referred to the USC Trojans in a story previewing the track meet with Occidental (click photo of article to enlarge!).

100 years trojans highlighted newspaper.jpg"I came out with an article in which I called attention to the fighting spirit of USC athletes and named them 'Trojans.' From then on, we used the term 'Trojan' all the time, and it stuck," Bird later explained.  "The term 'Trojan' as applied to USC means to me that no matter what the situation, what the odds or what the conditions, the competition must be carried on to the end and those who strive must give all they have and never be weary in doing so."

Before Trojans, USC had been dubbed the Wesleyans and Methodists, which were labels then university officials were happy to shed.  In the same article as the historic first Trojan reference, the LA Times also called USC "the cards," which referred to our school's primary color.

Since adopting the name, USC teams have won 116 national championships.  Trojan athletes have captured 363 individual NCAA titles, 123 Olympic gold medals (including at least one gold in every summer Olympics from 1912) and four Rhodes Scholarships.

"What an incredible 100 years it has been since we adopted the Trojans name," said Pat Haden, USC's Charles Griffin Cale Director of Athletics' Chair.  "'Fight On,' Trojan Family, 'Trojan for life,' all those things resonate with me.  Saying you are a Trojan is not just a moniker, it is a way of life."

The 1912 USC Trojans track relay team.

1 Comment

Hey Jordan,

I am in the process of joining the Trojan Knights and we are supposed to know how many olympic golds USC has won. According to many sites we have 122, but the Knights are saying that you are correct with 123. How did you get to that total?



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