The American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) received a donation that includes 59 valuable copies of official Olympic Reports and other publications dating back to 1896, a complete collection of art from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and several sport sculptures from Lorrie and Richard Greene.
“We are very happy to have our art and Olympic Reports displayed at ASAMA,” said Greene, an attorney who lives in San Francisco. “I hope to one day travel down to Daphne, Ala., to see the museum and our collection on display.”
After reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about ASAMA, Greene decided it would be the perfect place to house his collection.
“I read the article in The Wall Street Journal right before I attended the 2012 London Olympics,” Greene said. “At that time, we were thinking about moving our law firm and considered ASAMA the perfect place to move our collection. The books were just sitting on the shelves in my office for no one to see.”
Greene’s hobby of collecting Olympic art and reports started with spending quality time with his father as a child. His father shared stories of his experience as a spectator at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Those stories sparked an interest for Greene to finally attend the Olympics one day himself. Starting with the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Greene has attended a total of seven Olympiads.
“Being at the Olympics as a spectator is special to me because I love sports,” Greene said. “But I wanted to learn more of the history behind the Games. As I traveled to Los Angeles to visit my parents one day, a sports bookstore caught my eye. That’s where I bought my first official report.”
From there, Greene went on to collect a total of 59 official Olympic Reports and publications, including the rare 1988 Summer Olympic Reports from South Korea.
Including the reports, Greene also donated four sport wire sculptures created by Gregory Hill of San Jose, Calif.
“I commissioned Greg to build three sculptures, of which my favorite is a replication of American sprinter Carl Lewis at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul,” Greene said. “Lewis ended up winning the gold that year in the 100-meter final, after Ben Johnson was disqualified because of drugs. I even had the chance to see Lewis win four golds at the 1984 Summer Olympics in L.A., as well as all his other Olympic golds.”
Greene had the opportunity to share the sculpture with Lewis, when Lewis was in San Francisco for a charity event. Greene called Hill to tell him the news, and Hill informed Greene that the sculpture, “Carl Lewis – Out of the Blocks,” replicated Lewis coming out of the blocks with the wrong foot.
“Hill easily fixed the sculpture to show Lewis stepping out on the left foot in time for Lewis’ visit,” Greene said. “When Lewis came to my office to see the sculpture, I asked him which foot was the first out. Lewis took a moment and said, ‘It was definitely my right foot.’ I shared the story of the sculpture’s original replication and Lewis completely understood. In fact, the sculpture that ASAMA has is the original piece with Lewis coming out of the blocks on the right foot.”
Greene has a story to tell for many of the pieces he donated to ASAMA and hopes that his collection will inspire others to learn more of the history behind the Olympics.
“I really enjoyed the journey of collecting the books and art throughout the years,” Greene said. “As I love sports and love the Olympics, collecting the reports have helped me learn so much more.”
ASAMA, a division of the Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 1,700 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. It is arguably the largest sport art collection in the world. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at One Academy Drive in Daphne, Ala. For more information about the Academy’s sport art museum, please visit www.asama.org.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.