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Fabián Vicente del Valle, the man from Salamanca who was a pilot, chemist, boxer, Olympic standard bearer and forerunner of judo

The city of Salamanca pays tribute to the residents who, from its streets and squares, came to fulfill the dream of participating in the Olympic Games, and it does so through a mural next to the Plaza de la Concordia, a mural that recalls their deeds and participations. Among them is Fabián Vicente del Valle.

Until this fall, in this place you could see the names of illustrious athletes who were born or were residents of the city such as José Luis Sánchez Paraíso, Dori Ruano, Agustín Tamames, Blanca Cerón or Alejandro Sánchez, more than twenty high-level athletes , and on November 16, the one that was missing was added, the only one of them who became the standard bearer of the Spanish delegation, Vicente del Valle. That happened at the London Games in 1948.

Now, the mural of the Olympians already sports his photo and his name, nicknamed ‘Hercules Olympian’. This is how the writer Jorge García refers to him, author of a book that reviews in its pages the experiences of this man, who had an intense sporting life but also a military man, a researcher, an entrepreneur with patents and a sports promoter.

Already at the presentation of the plaque, the mayor of Salamanca, Carlos García Carbayo, recalled Vicente del Valle’s long career, who had options to win a medal at the Berlin games in 1936 but the Civil War prevented him from doing so.

Later, at the London event, the former Spanish Heavyweight Champion carried the flag of the Spanish delegation. Regarding him, Juan Antonio Samaranch even said of him that “it will take a hundred years for someone to have his sports and professional resume”, as the mayor of the city recently recalled.

Regarding his military life, in the information provided by the Salamanca City Council, Vicente del Valle joined the Aviation, where he became a Colonel in the Air Force and a member of the former Defense Staff.

Graduated in Chemical Sciences from the University of Salamanca, he was appointed technician of the city’s Chemical Defense Anti-Gas section, and was in charge of organizing the Salamanca fire department.

Hung up the gloves

When he hung up his gloves, he did not disassociate himself from boxing but was appointed national coach and delved into this discipline by writing the book ‘The Boxing Technique’. Also, his ingenuity led him to invent a new boxing glove that he patented in 1949.

This model improved performance and since then prevented numerous injuries to the thumb, which is why, according to the information provided by the Salamanca City Council, it became a success and currently, this design “continues to be marketed throughout the world.”

In the military field, as the same municipal documentation collected, he was admitted to the Virgen del Camino air base. Years later, at the recently created Academia General del Aire de San Javier, he organized his physics and chemistry laboratories, where he was also the physical education teacher.

His military work led him to receive various decorations, including the Campaign Medal with the Vanguard badge, the Red Cross for Military Merit, the War Cross, the Cross of Merit of the Order of the Eagle, the Cross of San Hermenegildo and the Cross of Aeronautical Merit. .

He was also appointed president of the Spanish Wrestling Federation and member of the Spanish Olympic Committee, from where he worked for Spain to host the 1964 European Athletics Championship.

The Spanish Wrestling Federation and the National Sports Delegation commissioned him in 1951 to organize and grant legal status to the emerging judo clubs, which led to the creation of their own federation for this sport, the Salamanca City Council recalled about this figure of sport that already has its plaque on the mural of the Olympians.

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