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Pat Ryan

Born: January 4, 1883; Died: February 13, 1964

Pat “Paddy” Ryan was born in Limerick, Ireland, and anxiously awaited the day he could compete in the Olympic Games. In 1902 at age 19, he won his first Irish national title before emigrating to the United States and settling in Boston in 1910. Ryan competed for Winged Fist Irish American Athletic Club, placing third at the 1911 AAU meeting and finishing runner-up in 1912. His citizenship had not been confirmed in time for the 1912 Olympic Games, so he continued to hone his craft. In 1913, Ryan won his first AAU title, which set the first IAAF World Record with a toss of 57.75m/189-6, a mark that remained unbroken for more than 25 years. In 1917, Ryan took up the 56-pound weight throw and won that title as well. His American citizenship was finally confirmed in 1916, but World War I cancelled the Games, forcing him into four more years of anticipation. Ryan joined the U.S. Armed Forces and served in France. He returned in 1919 and won that year’s national hammer throw title. In 1920, he again clinched the national hammer throw championship to finally earn his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team heading for Antwerp, Belgium. At age 37, Ryan won Olympic gold by more than 15 feet to record the largest margin of victory in any Olympic Games, and he also won silver in the 56-pound weight throw, tossing 10.96m/35-11.5 In 1924, he returned to his family’s farm in Limerick, where he raised his family and lived out his life until he passed away at age 81.

1920: Gold medalist in hammer throw...silver medalist in 56-pound weight throw in VII Olympic Games

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