Sports Physician - Athlete 1888-1889


Nils Silfverskiöld (1888-1957) won gold with the Swedish gymnastics team at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. After graduating in 1911 at the University of Uppsala, he specialized in Orthopedic Surgery. He described that the force required for the dorsiflexion of the ankle in a spastic equinus contracture decreased with knee flexion in isolated gastrocnemius contracture. He pleaded for loosening the origin of the gastrocnemii of the femur and attaching them back to the tibia. The Silfverskiöld knee bending test is known to distinguish between an isolated gastrocnemius contracture and a combined shortening of the gastrocnemius-soleus complex in a non-spastic contracture by measuring the series of ankle dorsiflexion with bent and straight knee. In 1925 he was appointed as Professor, in 1927 he became chief physician at Sabbatsbergs hospital and in 1940 at Karolinska Hospital. He also led an aristocratic and reverberating life and married four times.


Briton Charles Atkin (1889-1958) won with his national hockeyteam the tournament at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. In addition, he was also a gifted tennis player, fisherman and archer. He graduated from London's St. Bartholomew's Hospital. During World War I he was captain-physician at the Royal Army Medical Corps, after which he established himself in Sheffield as a general practitioner in the practice of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather.


As a 15-year-old, the American Henry Richardson (1889-1963) was the youngest participant at the 1904 Olympics in St Louis. With the national team he took third place in archery. Four years later at the London Games he won bronze again. He graduated from Harvard Medical School and became staff member of Internal Medicine at Cornell University Medical School. In 1945 he specialized in psychiatry at Columbia University, after which he worked as a psychiatrist at Columbia College and the Medical College of New York University.