Roberto Cavanagh

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRoberto Diego Lorenzo•Cavanagh y Hearne
Used nameRoberto•Cavanagh
Born12 November 1914 in Buenos Aires (ARG)
Died14 September 2002 in Venado Tuerto (ARG)
NOC Argentina


Having no aptitude for education, Roberto Cavanagh was sent to work on one of the family ranches and that is when his love of horses started. He took up polo in 1933 and joined the juniors of the local Venado Tuerto team, which also contained his brother Edmundo and cousin Juan. They won a local tournament and then took part in the national championship. When he was just 21, Roberto was a surprise selection at #2 for the Argentine national side at the 1936 Olympics where he proved his critics wrong by scoring five goals in the 15-5 win over Mexico and a further four in the 11-0 win over Great Britain in the final match to make him the top Argentine scorer.

In the same year Cavanagh was also a member of the first Argentinian side to win the Cup of the Americas and in the first match at Meadow Brook, Cavanagh scored nine goals in Argentina’s 21-9 win. After his 1936 performances his handicap was raised to eight, the second highest in the country at the time. He had a spell playing in the United States and, also in 1937, won the Monty Waterbury Cup playing for Templeton. After leaving the family ranch, Cavanagh went to work at the Hurlingham Club and in 1937 was a member of their team that won the Argentine open. He later returned to his original team, Venado Tuerto, and went on to win six more Argentina opens with them, in 1944, 1946-48, 1950 and 1955.

Cavanagh eventually became a 10-handicap player and in 1949 he won the World Championship and also the US Open with Hurricanes. When Cavanagh played on the winning Cup of the Americas team at Buenos Aires the following year he became only the second man after America’s Winston Guest, in 1928 and 1932, to play on two winning teams. In 1951 Cavanagh rounded off a memorable career when he played on the Argentina side that beat Mexico 10-5 to win the first and only Pan-American Games polo title. Cavanagh stayed involved with the sport after his retirement and was the coach of the very last Argentine Cup of the Americas team in 1980 when Argentina beat the USA at San Antonio Texas. One of his older brothers, Santiago, was a 6-handicap player and a reserve for the Berlin Olympic squad. He was a top class umpire and officiated at the 1936 Olympic final between Argentina and Great Britain.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Polo ARG Roberto Cavanagh
Polo, Men (Olympic) Argentina 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes