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    1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics USA Basketball Gold Medal Presented to Robert Kenney with Participation Certificate. Despite winning the first two Olympic basketball gold medals, in 1936 and 1948, the U.S. men's basketball team had something to prove coming into the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. First, the Americans had been stunned at the inaugural FIBA World Championships in 1950, finishing a disappointing second to Argentina. Second, with the Cold War in full swing, the Soviet Union would be competing at the Olympics for the first time. As the games approached, there was a sense of heightened expectations, as both basketball supremacy and political bragging rights hung in the balance.

    Warren Womble, the head coach of the AAU Champion Peoria Caterpillar Diesels, earned the right to lead Team USA after his team won the Olympic playoffs at Madison Square Garden, defeating Phog Allen's Jayhawks in the final game. The fourteen-man roster and staff, chosen by Womble, included seven players from the NCAA champion Kansas Jayhawks (including future Hall of Famer Clyde Lovellette), five players from the Diesels, two players from the NIBL champion Phillips 66ers (including future Hall of Famer Bob Kurland), and assistant coach Allen.

    Basketball at the 1952 Games, the last Olympics not to be televised, consisted of a round-robin format with all the games played at Exhibition Hall II and the Tennis Palace between July 14th and August 2nd. In the semi-final pool, the USA crushed the Soviet Union, 86-58, in a game that saw ten players foul out. However, the Cold War rivals would meet again in the finals, and this time Team USSR responded by stalling to hold down the score. At halftime, the score was only 17-15, but the USA pulled away in the second half to win 36-25, despite a sit-down strike at half court by one of the Soviet players. The U.S. finished with a perfect 8-0 record and a third straight Gold Medal.

    One of Phog Allen's seven Jayhawks named to the squad was Robert "Trigger" Kenny, a forward renowned for his quick release and deadly long range accuracy. A key player on Kansas' 1952 NCAA championship team, Kenney was Team USA's second leading scorer (10.6 points per game) during the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, finishing between Hall of Famers Lovellette (13.9) and Kurland (9.9). Kenny is also a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

    Offered here is the 1952 Helsinki Olympics Gold Medal for men's basketball, presented to Robert Kenny. One of the toughest of the post-war models, it was minted in a quantity of just 320. A seated victory figure holds aloft a laurel against a backdrop of the Roman Colosseum on the obverse, with a winning athlete held aloft by fellow competitors on the reverse. Designed by Giuseppe Cassioli, it measures fifty-one millimeters (51 mm) in diameter, 3.3 mm in thickness, weighs sixty-eight grams (68 g.), and displays a "916M/Y6" factory stamp on the edge. Letter of provenance from Kenny's family states that the medal has been in the family's possession since 1952. Also included is a framed oversized certificate (15x21") commemorating his participation in the Olympics. Letter of provenance from Kristen Kenney.

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    October, 2018
    18th-19th Thursday-Friday
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