Vane Pennell

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameVane Hungerford•Pennell
Used nameVane•Pennell
Born16 August 1876 in Kensington, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died17 June 1938 in Boscombe, Bournemouth, England (GBR)
Measurements176 cm
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


After spending only one term at Eton, Vane Pennell moved to Charterhouse where he won the Public Schools racquets doubles in 1893 and 1894 with Ernest Garnett as his partner. However, on going up to Trinity College, Cambridge Pennell failed to find a place in the University racquets team and began to take more interest in the game of Real Tennis. Although he was undoubtedly one of the outstanding players of court games of his generation, Vane Pennell only made occasional appearances in the championship events. In 1901 he was the British racquets doubles champion, partnering a fellow Old Carthusian, Frances Dames Longworth, but Pennell did not play in the championships again until 1908 when he and Dames Longworth again won the title. His appearances in the Real Tennis championships were equally spasmodic and he only entered for the single nine times in the twenty-year period up to 1923. He was, however, a finalist seven times and won the title in 1904. At the 1908 Olympics, Pennell played in the singles at both real tennis and racquets and in each event was defeated by the ultimate winner. However, he won a gold medal in the racquets doubles with John Astor as his partner. Vane Pennell’s sporting interests were not restricted to the dedan and he represented Great Britain, against France, at ice hockey when he was captain of the Prince’s Club team. He was also the author of the first ever book written on the Auction Bridge. During World Water I he served overseas as a captain with the Royal Army Service Corps.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Jeu De Paume GBR Vane Pennell
Singles, Men (Olympic) =5
Racquets GBR Vane Pennell
Singles, Men (Olympic) 5
Doubles, Men (Olympic) John Jacob Astor 1 Gold