Robert Thompson is a former president of the NYAC and the American Olympic Association, and a 1981 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
Robert Thompson was born on March 2nd, 1849, in Corsica, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1868, he served in the Navy, reaching the rank of Master before his resignation. Thompson left the Navy to study law at Harvard, and ultimately became chairman of the International Nickel Company of Canada. Because of his service and advocacy of Naval Academy athletics, the Navy named the Thompson Cup – awarded annually to the winner of the Army-Navy football game – and the USS Thompson DD-627, in his honor.
Unlike many NYAC Hall of Fame inductees, Thompson’s place in the Hall of Fame was secured not by athletic prowess, but for his leadership and commitment to amateur sport. Thompson served as president of the American Olympic Committee – the precursor to the USOC – before becoming president of the New York Athletic Club.
In 1912, Thompson chartered a boat for the Club's Olympians to ensure safe passage to the Games in Stockholm. Moreover, because Sweden did not have an official Olympic village, Thompson decided that the boat would serve as the team’s “hotel” for the duration of the Games. He paid for all of the expenses out of his own pocket.
For his generosity, the NYAC rewarded Thompson handsomely: the Club won a combined 21 medals in Stockholm, 15 of which were gold.
Thompson died on September 5th, 1930. He was 81 years old.