The Olympic Dream



Billy Speary-Pugilist
The A.A.U
The Olympic Dream
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"...He is a familiar figure from coast to coast and is headed for international fame as Uncle Sam's representative at the Olympics...."

After 3 consecutive years of collecting every award & title available to him, Billy was set to go to Finland for the 1940 Olympics.  His widow, Dorothy Speary, remembers the excitement of his "Olympic" uniform, trunks & robes being made & ready to go.  However, it was not meant to be.  

The 1940 Olympic Games, were originally awarded to Tokyo. After the Japanese invasion of China the Games were taken from them. The Winter Games,  were rescheduled for Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) but were cancelled when Germany invaded Poland. The Summer Games (which Billy would have participated in),  were rescheduled for Helsinki  but were cancelled when Soviet troops invaded Finland.  Nobody realized it at the time but the Olympic games would not be held again until 1948.

As much as I would have loved to include pictures of these uniforms here, Dorothy Speary is not quite sure what ever happened to them.  She believes they may have been stored at his parents home - which still stands & is still in the Speary family.  With any luck I may find them yet.


A FUN FACT: While many people believe Esther Williams was an Olympic medallist (she was actually billed as such on many occasions) the truth is that she never did  win an Olympic medal for swimming or for diving.  As a member of the 1940 Olympic team, she also never made it to Helsinki.



Strictly Sports

Little But Lethal Speary, Ring Champ Looks to Olympics Ignoring Pro Career

--By Cy Peterman--
Feb 1939

The calmest fellow in the room was Billy Speary, when by rights he should have been excited. For in the babble and clamor the winner of his third straight Middle Atlantic A. A. U. and Diamond Belt championship remained characteristically cool.

Full Article



Nanticoke Boy Turns down Offer of Babe Cullen for Olympic Chance

New York, March 1 (-Babe Cullen's offer to have Bill Speary, Nanticoke, Pa., national A.A.U. and defending Golden Gloves flyweight champ, desert amateur ranks and turn pro, will not interest the battler in the least, it was learned last night at the Park Central Hotel, New York City, where Speary, under the supervision of Golden Gloves Coach Art Thomas, is priming himself for his semi-final scrap with Basil Jones, New York, at the Hippodrome tonight.

Speary intends to remain amateur until the 1940 Olympics, which team he hopes to become eligible for. Said Speary:


by Jerry McCormack

Billy Speary, Nanticoke entry in the Golden Gloves tournament at New York tonight, sends word from the metropolis he intends to remain an amateur until after the 1940 Olympics. Speary also states that if he does turn pro, he will retain his present manager, Art Thomas. The announcement from Speary is splendid.

Full Article


Full Article


Speary's Objective Is to Make Olympic Team for 1940 Games


Upon his arrival in this city yesterday afternoon from San Francisco where he won his third A.A.U. title last week, Billy Speary, 20-year-old Nanticoke 118-pound amateur boxing titleholder of this country, said that he would not turn professional, despite many enticing offers, but continue in the amateur ranks with hopes of making the U.S. team which will compete in the Olympics at Finland next year.

Speary Will Try Pro Boxing If War Blacks Out Games

Billy Speary, national amateur boxing flyweight and bantamweight champion for the last three years and holder of practically every amateur title available in the United States, is headed for the professional ring.


Full Article


Speary Plans to Turn "Pro"

Will Quit Amateur Ranks If 1940 Olympics Are Called off


Nanticoke, Pa., September 7th (AP) - The war may send Bill Speary, Nanticoke amateur flyweight and bantamweight boxing champion, into the professional ring.

It all depends on whether the 1940 Olympic Games are called off.

"I have remained in the amateur ranks until now for the sole purpose of making a place on the Olympic team," Speary said tonight, adding that if the games are called off he would turn professional.

The coal regions fighter, who in the last three years has won close to 200 doubts, said his decision was in no way influenced by the controversy over the amateur boxing situation in the Middle-Atlantic district A.A.U.


To Join Money Fighters

They say that Billy Speary, sensational little Nanticoke boxer will desert the amateur ranks and join the money fighters after his appearance in Allentown next Monday night. If he doesn't change his mind amateur boxing circles will lose one of the most colorful and successful Simon-pures ever to don the mitts.



Announces Intentions After Winning Amateur Bout from
Reading Fighter.

Bill Speary is giving up his topflight amateur boxing standing for a professional fistic career.
The popular National A.A.U. champion announced last night he would forsake the ranks of the Simon-pures at Scranton January 31 against an opponent yet to be selected.


Full Article

Full Article


... When Billy Speary turns professional the latter part of this month it will be for Promoter Latzo in Scranton... Asked why he didn't go into New York for his professional debut, Speary said he wanted to stay as far away from New York as possible...

"That's a fine crowd over there; they'll pat you on the shoulder with their left hand, and cut your heart out with their right hand"... Speary never fails to pack in the spectators here, and last night was no exception... He drew probably the biggest indoor gate for an amateur card ever seen here... It would be interesting to know how he would draw as a professional, in a ten-round bout with a fellow like Billy Davis or Johnny Gall... It's a fact, though, that he is a popular little fighting machine, a classy boxer with a punch in either hand... And one thing we like about Speary; he never gets hit any more than is absolutely necessary.


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