1952 Olympic Basketball
Olympic Games: 1952 Summer Games (Helsinki)
Team Members (and graduation year):
Bill Pataky, Glen Pettinger (1952), Chuck Dalton (1950), Bob Phibbs (1949), Harry Wade (1951), George Wearring (1950) and coach Paul Thomas (1950)
The 1951-52 season was a successful one for Western's senior boys' basketball team. After beating Alberta to win the Canadian senior intercollegiate basketball championship, they faced off against the Tillsonburg Livingstons for the chance to represent Canada at the upcoming Olympics in Helsinki. Although Western was defeated in the series 3-1, both Bill Pataky and Glen Pettinger were asked to join the Canadian Olympic team. Remarkably, they would be joining five former Mustangs: Chuck Dalton, Bob Phibbs, Harry Wade and George Wearring, along with coach Paul Thomas.
Only the top ten seeded teams were guaranteed a spot in the Olympic tournament, so Canada had to play an elimination round to secure its spot. The team defeated their first three opponents, Italy (68-57), Romania (72-51) and Egypt (63-57) to advance to the next round.
The next round was tougher on team Canada, but made for great basketball. Canada lost by just two points in their game against Brazil and by one point in their game against Argentina. By their match against the Phillippines their strength, and perhaps hope, was lessened and they lost the game 81-65.
Although the Canadian team did not advance into the semifinals, their performance was noteworthy and even received attention from the Olympic Committee. The official report of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remarked that the Canadians played an "unforgettable" game and "the kind of game that makes basketball fascinating." Former Mustang and Olympic team captain, Bob Phibbs, also received special mention after "a superb display of youthful keenness."