100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Joseph Cranston, boxing

Joe Cranston.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 09:00:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Joseph Cranston was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1898, but he was a U.S. Army lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia, by 1920.

That’s also around the time he made an appearance at the 1920 Antwerp Games.

Cranston represented the U.S. in the middleweight division in the boxing competition, tying for ninth after a second-round loss to eventual gold medalist Harry Mallin of Great Britain.

He turned pro after the Olympics, knocking out Larry Avera in his only professional bout later that year, before focusing on his military career.

He went on to become a brigadier general in 1943 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, having taught at West Point for a decade.

Cranston served in various capacities during World War II before retiring from the Army in 1948, having been awarded a Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star and Commendation Ribbon during his military career.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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