George Goldie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1841. He emigrated to America when he was a boy of thirteen. In 1860, he began to practice gymnastics and three yers later became a professional gymnast. He held the all-around athletic championship of the Caledonian Club from 1871 to 1875, and held the world's record in the standing broad jump.
He was often called the "father of the pole vault" and is said to have been the first to use a vaulting pole in organized sports. He also invented several other athletic appliances, including what has been called the first rowing machine. He was the first athletic director at Princeton and organized the first intramural track and field sports for undergraduates. One of the playing fields at Princeton was named in his honor.
William Arrott, a member of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society sent us this story in 1995. George Goldie was his maternal great grandfather. His other great grandfather, James West Arrott, discovered a process for binding porcelain to iron to make bathtubs. He later founded the Standard Sanitary Company now known as American Standard.