Ernest May (athlete)

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Ernest Edmund Bedford May (September 14, 1878 – January 5, 1952) was a British track and field athlete who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics.

He was born in Edale, Derbyshire and died in Ellingham, Northumberland.

In 1908 he participated in the discus throw competition, in the Greek discus throw event, in the freestyle javelin throw competition, in the javelin throw event, and in the hammer throw competition but in all these competitions his final ranking is unknown.

Extract from the diary of EEB May:

However, in spite of illness I managed to carry on somehow, and in the Summer won the hammer trial for the Olympic Games though with a poor throw of 125 ft and a margin of only one quarter of an inch!

The Dad as usual had come up to watch. He was nearly always with me on these occasions, and I record it here with loving memory. It was a melancholy day, shall I ever forget it! I felt when I hurried out that I had got no guts at all, which was an unusual thing for me, for I was always confident + strong in throwing + not at all given to stage fright. I dragged the hammer round somehow + Heaven sped it sufficiently to let me win. On the strength of it the Committee chose me to represent the United Kingdom in five events, Javelin (both ways) + ditto discus which I also threw that day, but not in competition. For the next few weeks I practised assiduously at the Iffley Ground, and gradually felt better. But five events were too many to take all at one time tho' I won prizes I think for both discus + javelin that year. If Bill ever follows in my footsteps, as I hope he may, he will do well to profit by his father's experience + will stick to one thing, to two at the outside. I did badly at the Olympic Games, being hopelessly outclassed by the Americans. I went for the hammer for all I knew, but it was useless bothering about keeping in in such company. I broke the circle every throw + never had one measured. Let me record with sorrow my disappointment of the British Crowd. I had been having a little preliminary practice with the discus before the event, + with the Royal Arms on my breast + the Blue running gear of Oxford must have cut an athletic figure. Anyhow when I came to throw the crowd gave me a rousing welcome. I shall never forget the silence which followed my poor throw. It is not easy to win a place when you are up against the finest that the world can give.

EEB May was an Anglican clergyman and Minor Canon of Christ Church Oxford and later of Durham Cathedral. His son, EWL May, was born in the same year as the Games and related that his father had told him: "The Americans said that they had never seen anyone throw the hammer so far with such bad technique!"

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