Jack Nelson was the captain of the 1924 Olympic gold medal-winning Argentinian team at the Paris Olympics and he led by example when he scored the winning goal in the 6-5 win over the United States in the closing seconds of what was effectively, the gold-medal wining match.
Of Irish descent, Nelson was educated in England at Beaumont College, Windsor before attending University in Buenos Aires. Having started playing polo in 1913 he enjoyed a playing career of more than 40 years, most of them with the Hurlingham Club which he joined in 1914.He went on to win the Argentine Open with them six times between 1920 and 1937. During that time Nelson also won his Olympic gold medal, won the 1925 Roehampton Tournament with La Pampa, and won open titles in England, Belgium and, in 1922, the US Open.
Nelson was not only a fine player but a great innovator and administrator within the sport of polo. He was elected President of the Argentina Polo Association for the first time in 1924, and held the post on three occasions between then and 1948. Following an idea by Nelson, the Cup of the Americas, for a match between Argentina and the USA, was launched in 1928. Nelson played in the first two contests, 1928 and 1932, but was on the losing side each time.
Although Nelson continued playing well beyond his 50th birthday, he was chef d’equipe at the 1936 Olympics. He also bred some top-class polo ponies. His brother Luis was also a polo player and pony breeder while Jacks’ son John went on to become a leading player and won the 1957 Cowdray Park Gold Cup with Windsor Park. Jack senior was also a good golfer and won the amateur championships of Buenos Aires and Mar del Playa.
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