Five-time Olympic team chiropractor receives centennial Olympic gold medal
May 3, 2017—At the Palmer College of Chiropractic Homecoming in Port Orange Florida on March 4, 2017, LeRoy Perry, DC was awarded a Centennial Olympic Gold Medal in recognition of his extraordinary life-time achievements. Perry served as an Official Olympic Team Doctor five times and treated athletes from 45 countries during Olympic Games. The award was spearheaded by Jim Wooley, DC, a member of the Southern California Olympians, 1984 Olympic Team Doctor and a two-time Olympian.
“I was a Pan American double gold medalist and slated to medal in the Montreal Olympics but unfortunately I was badly injured in the wrestling and judo training camp in Brockport New York,” said Wooley. “My injury was so disabling, I could only sleep in a hammock, and my Olympic coach suggested I should forfeit my matches in the Montreal Olympics. I sought medical assistance from the Olympic Medical Staff at the Poly Clinic in the Olympic Village but there were no chiropractors on staff and I received no relief.”
He contiuned, “little did I know I would meet a sport science chiropractor treating Olympic athletes in the Montreal Olympic Village; LeRoy Perry, Jr. was the first official Olympic Chiropractic Team Doctor in the 2,700-year history of the Olympic Games.”
Out of the public eye there was a battle raging of whether or not chiropractors would be allowed to treat the world’s greatest athletes at world and Olympic competitions. This was a story much like the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC where Leonidas and 300 brave Spartan warriors were pitted against King Xerxes and his army of several hundred thousand Persians. Because of the 300 and Leonidas resolve and bravery, the Greek civilization was eventually preserved.
The fight for Olympic athletes to have the right to choose between medical care and chiropractic care began in the mid Seventies when Perry, our chiropractic Leonidas, was engaged in a battle against the Olympic Medical cartel who wanted to monopolize the treatment of Olympic athletes at the Olympic Games.
“After X-rays I went into the room where I was scheduled to see Dr. Perry who was treating not only the athletes from Antigua, the country he was appointed to but an overwhelming number of world record holders and Olympic medalist from all over the world. I had never seen so many champions in one place before, Olympians like Mac Wilkins, Dwight Stones, Kate Schmidt, Jane Frederick, Don Quarrie, Alberto Juantorena to name just a few, all putting their health and athletic careers in the hands of this chiropractic doctor.”
Seeing this collection of Olympic athletes strengthened my resolve that every Olympic athlete had a right to this extraordinary health and performance enhancing treatment. After the 1976 Olympics Wooley resumed my chiropractic education at Palmer in Davenport with the goal to follow in Perry’s footsteps. Luckily, a fortuitous thing occurred and he was selected to the Athletes Advisory Council of the USOC. This was an opportunity to make a difference for chiropractic.
With Perry’s financial assistance, Olympic athletes put on news conferences about the lack of chiropractic doctors at the Olympic Games. With Dr Perry’s help, Wooley gathered the signatures of over 700 Olympic and elite athletes. He then presented the petitions to the Athletes Advisory Counsel for a vote to have sports science chiropractors at the Olympic Games. The vote was unanimous but was blocked by the USCO medical staff.
The most qualified sports science chiropractor was Perry but he was not selected. The petty jealously among the USOC medical team was at a fever pitch against Perry. In order to circumvent media attention, the USOC Medical Committee decided to appease the public by appointing a chiropractor to the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics but they made sure to choose a doctor without Dr. Perry’s notoriety and army of supporters.
Despite the efforts of the USOC to block Dr. Perry’s Olympic appointment and make it a federation appointment, Dr. Perry still achieved official Olympic Team status at the 1980 Winter Olympics as an Olympic Team doctor for the British Bob Sled team.
Since those 1980 Winter Olympics, Olympic and world-class athletes have been able to receive the chiropractic treatment that they require to compete at the highest level of human performance possible at Olympic and world-class competitions.
With the help of Spartan heroes like Luis Valera from Venezuela, Mitsu Shiokawa from Japan, Jamie Laws from Canada, Noel Patterson from Australia, George Billauer from the United States and Jim Wooley, Perry, our Leonidas and the father of sports chiropractic, has changed the history and acceptance of chiropractic in sports, which has changed the public’s perception of chiropractic nationally and internationally forever.
If not for LeRoy Perry’s guidance, sacrifice and relentless drive, chiropractors might still be treating the greatest athletes in the world under the bleachers of the Olympic stadiums.