LEGENDS He won eight gold medals in three Olympics
By winning eight individual Olympic gold medals Raymond Clarence ‘Ray’ Ewry remains one of the most successful athletes of all time.
He won eight gold medals in three Olympics and is among the top 10 all-time gold-winning athletes. It is a different matter that his unprecedented feats came in events no longer in existence now: the standing high jump, the standing long jump and the standing triple jump.
Born in Lafayette, Indiana, on October 14, 1873, Ewry contracted polio as a boy and was confined to a wheelchair. But he overcame the illness through constant leg exercises and the constant training made him one of the best jumpers of all time.
His speciality was in the jump events where one made the attempts standing instead of running up for the jump. He became the greatest competitor ever in the standing jumps, which were discontinued in 1913.
Lean and tall at 6 feet 3 inches, Ewry showed great flair for sports.
He entered Purdue University in 1890 and soon became the captain of the track team. He also played football for the University team. After graduating in engineering, he went to New York and joined the New York Athletic Club, for which he won 15 U.S. amateur track championships.
Ewry was at his best in the Paris Olympics (1900), where he won gold medals in all three standing jumps. Incidentally, all three finals were held on the same day. Four years later at St. Louis, Missouri, Ewry successfully defended all the three titles.
Once the standing triple jump event was discontinued, Ewry kept dominating the two remaining standing jump events.
At the 1908 Games in London, Ewry won both the standing high jump and the standing long jump for a third time. However, the standing jump events went out of vogue in Olympics after 1912.
Apart from the eight Olympic golds, Ewry also won two unofficial Olympic gold medals at the Intercalated Games in Athens 1906.
He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, in 1983. Ewry died on September 29, 1937.