1904 St. Louis Olympic athletes compete with polio, wooden leg

7:01 AM, Aug 9, 2012   |    comments
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  • George Eyser
  • Ray Ewry

St. Louis (KSDK) -- South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been in the media spotlight for competing in the London Olympics as a double amputee.  But, at the 1904 summer Olympics in St. Louis there were two athletes who overcame challenges and competed.

Ray Ewry won eight Olympic gold medals, three of them in 1904.

Ewry was told he would never walk after he contracted polio as a boy and spent most of his childhood in a wheelchair.

Doctors gave him a rehabilitation program that included stretching and leaping to strengthen his legs.

Ewry not only stuck to the program, he would go on to become one of the best leapers the world has ever known.  He dominated the standing triple jump, the standing high jump and the standing long jump.

George Eyser won six medals in one day at the 1904 summer games, despite having lost a leg when he was hit by train.  He won gold in parallel bars, the long horse vault and the 25-foot rope climb.


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