Mondschein, Irv "Moon"
track and field
A member of the United States track and field team at the 1948 London Olympics, Mondschein participated in the decathlon competition, the most grueling of all track events. The decathlon consists of ten events over two days and points are awarded based on a fixed scale set by track's ruling body. At the Games, Irv was favored to medal and began the competition strong, finishing sixth overall in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 11.3 (760 points). The next event was the long jump and Irv received 754 points for jumping 22'4" (fifth). After faltering a bit in the shot put (11th with 690 points), he returned to form in the high jump with a leap of 6'0-1/4" (822 points) and finished the day by tying for first place in the 400-meter with a time of 51.6 (785 points). Mondschein ended that first day of competition in fifth place with 3,811 points, only 88 points behind the leader.
Mondschein was in a terrific position to medal at the start of the second day, but he finished 17th overall in the first event, the 110-meter hurdles, with a time of 16.6 (698 points). He picked up little ground in the discus throw, finishing tenth (127'1-1/2" -- 674 points), and then returned to the medal chase by finishing second in the pole vault with a height of 11'5-3/4" (692 points). In the fourth event, however, Irv's dreams of a medal vanished. He finished last in the javelin throw with a distance of 120'9" and was awarded only 363 points. Mondschein completed the competition by finishing eighth in the 1500-meter with a time of 4:49.8 (447 points), and also finished eighth overall with 6,715 total points (235 behind the bronze medalist).
After retiring from competition, Mondschein became a highly-sought-out coach and became one of the few people to coach two different countries in the Olympics. He led the Israeli track and field team at the 1952 Olympics (the first Games in which Israel competed) and then coached the United States at the 1988 Games.
A terrific all-around athlete, Mondschein was an All-East end in football at New York University and played with a College All-Star team against the NFL's New York Giants. It was in track and field, however, that Irv's athletic accomplishments were best known. The National AAU decathlon champion in 1944, 1946, and 1947, he finished second in 1948 to qualify for the Olympics. Irv also finished second in 1949 and was the NCAA high jump champion in 1947 and 1948.
Following his graduation from NYU, Mondschein became the athletic director and the track, basketball, and football coach for Lincoln University as well as coaching the track team at the University of Pennsylvania. He also coached the U.S. track team at the 1950, 1981, and 1985 Maccabiah Games. Mondschein is a member of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the New York Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
Brooklyn, New York
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
New York Times, August 6-7, 1948