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The legacy of Taffy Abel, the first Indigenous athlete to carry the American flag at the Olympics

December 1947: Members of the New York Rangers hockey team gather to honor Lester Patrick, who was their first manager, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. From left to right: Bun Cook, Ching Johnson, Bill Cook, Patrick Lester, Taffy Abel and Frank Boucher. (New York Times Co./Getty Images)
December 1947: Members of the New York Rangers hockey team gather to honor Lester Patrick, who was their first manager, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. From left to right: Bun Cook, Ching Johnson, Bill Cook, Patrick Lester, Taffy Abel and Frank Boucher. (New York Times Co./Getty Images)

At the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, the U.S. paraded in behind the flag — then with just 48 stars — carried by hockey player Clarence “Taffy” Abel.

Few knew, however, outside his family and neighbors, that he was the first Indigenous athlete to carry the flag and the first to medal for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.

Feb. 4 is known as Taffy Abel Day. Troy Oppie of Boise State Public Radio reports.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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