Former USC Olympic Shot Put Champion Wilbur "Moose" Thompson Dies

    Wilbur "Moose" Thompson

    Dec. 31, 2013

    Wilbur "Moose" Thompson, a member of USC's 1942 NCAA championship track and field team who won a gold medal in the shot put at the 1948 Olympics, died on Christmas Day. He was 92.

    Services are pending.

    Thompson was born in Frankfort, S.D., and attended high school in Modesto, Calif. He won the state prep shot put title in the late 1930s. He was given the nickname "Moose" when he grew to 6 feet and 200 pounds as a sophomore in high school.

    After winning the national junior college shot put title in 1939 and 1940 while at Modesto Junior College, he enrolled at USC. His career at USC was interrupted when he served in the Army during World War II. He lettered in 1942 and 1946 at Troy and was a Trojan co-captain in 1946. He was second in the shot put at the 1946 NCAA meet after placing fifth in 1942.

    Thompson won gold at the 1948 London Games with a career-best heave of 56-2, breaking the Olympic record by more than 3 feet.

    He was ranked third in the world in the shot put in 1949 and fourth in 1950.

    A Long Beach resident since 1953, he worked in the oil business and then with the California State Lands Commission.

    He is survived by 3 daughters.