Henry Ficken is the creator of the NYAC’s winged foot emblem and a 1981 Hall of Fame inductee.
Henry Ficken was born in England on May 25th, 1852. He immigrated to the United States to become an architect.
Ficken joined the NYAC as an athletic member on the track and field team. Specifically, he competed in the running high jump and the 120 yards hurdle.
Although Ficken contributed to the Club’s reputation for athletic excellence, his most significant contribution came off of the track. At a Club meeting in 1876, Ficken mentioned his disapproval with the NYAC’s trefoil emblem. To other athletic clubs, the emblem appeared to be the ace of clubs; consequently, some adopted logos with the ace of diamonds and the ace of spades. Ficken thought such an emblem was unbecoming of the NYAC.
As an alternative, Ficken suggested the winged foot of mercury. To Ficken, this new emblem better represented the refined nature of the NYAC. Admittedly, he was surprised that no athletic club had ever thought to use “so beautiful and fitting an emblem.” Moreover, Ficken associated Mercury and his winged foot with the NYAC and its leading role in amateur athletics. Since then, the winged foot has become synonymous with the NYAC.
Above all, however, the Club's emblem symbolizes excellence. As the four-time Olympic Champion Al Oerter said: “Great things are expected of you when you wear the winged foot.”