Ray Ewry

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Ray Ewry
Ray Ewry.jpg

Raymond "Ray" Clarence Ewry (October 14, 1873 – September 29, 1937) was an American track and field athlete who won 8 gold medals at the Olympic Games and 2 gold medals at the Intercalated Games (1906 in Athens). This puts him among the most successful Olympians of all time. His 8 Olympic gold medals in individual events (i.e. non-relay) are second only to Michael Phelps's 11.

Ewry was born in Lafayette, Indiana, and contracted polio as a young boy. For a short while, he was in a wheelchair, and it was feared that he might become paralysed for life.

However, Ewry did his own exercises and overcame his illness. Ewry attended Purdue University, where he became a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. After receiving a graduate degree in engineering at Purdue, he became a member of the New York Athletic Club. There, he specialised in now defunct events, the standing jumps: the standing high jump, the standing long jump and the standing triple jump. These events are identical to their normal versions, but are contested without a run-up.

Ewry proved to be the best standing jumper in the world. At his first Olympics, held in Paris (1900), he won gold medals in all three standing jumps. Incidentally, all three finals were held on the same day (July 16).

At the 1904 Summer Olympics, Ewry successfully defended all three of his titles. The standing triple jump event was discontinued after those Olympics, but Ewry continued to dominate the two remaining standing jump events at both the 1906 Intercalated Games and 1908 Games, thus bringing his total to 10 Olympic gold titles including two from the Intercalated Games, the highest number achieved until 2008. The 1906 Intercalated Games are currently not officially recognised by the IOC, although they were organized as an Olympic event by the IOC. Most historians do consider them as real Olympics, though. Even if the 1906 games are removed from his totals, he stands (as of 2008) as the 12th most successful Olympian of all time in terms of total individual medals and second most successful in terms of individual gold medals. The standing jumping events were no longer held in the Olympics after 1912.

Ewry's superiority is also displayed by the fact that his world record in the standing long jump (3.48 m or 11 ft 5 in[1]) was still standing when the event was discontinued internationally in the 1930s.

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Preceded by
Germany Hermann Weingärtner
Most career Olympic medals
1908 – 1920
Succeeded by
United States Carl Osburn
Preceded by
United States Robert Garrett