Tom Waddell (November 1, 1937 - July 11, 1987) was an American Olympic athlete who is best known for founding the Gay Games, a competition modeled on the Olympics for athletes of all sexual orientations. Originally born Tom Flubacher, he changed his last name later in his life. Waddell attended Springfield College, where he competed in gymnastics, track and field, and football. He was co-captain of the Gymnastic Exhibition and Track Teams, and was elected to Kappa Delta Pi. Following the sudden death of his best friend, Don Marshman, during their junior year, Waddell decided to pursue medicine. After graduation, he attended the New Jersey College of Medicine, Georgetown University, and Stanford University. While completing his studies, he traveled on a track and field tour of Africa sponsored by the US State Department and competed in the 1968 Olympics, where he placed sixth in the Decathlon and broke five personal records. Waddell established his private practice in San Francisco in 1974, shortly after which he began serving as medical director of the Whittaker Corporation and as a physician for the Saudi Arabian Olympic team. While competing in a gay bowling league in 1982, Waddell was inspired to create the Gay Games (originally called the Gay Olympics). In 1985, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Waddell lived to see the enormous success of the second Gay Games in 1986 and to win the gold medal in the javelin event.
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law.