If there is a list about very heartwarming and inspirational stories in the Olympic Games, the one from Ray C. Ewry should be included. Ewry who represented the Stars and Stripes many moons back, captured eight gold medals in individual competitions, a record second only to the great Michael Phelps.
During his childhood days, Ewry had suffered from polio and was confined to a wheelchair. He was anticipated that he could never walk once again. He then started plunging into jumping in an attempt to recuperate from the disease that he had suffered. He immersed himself into exercising on his own and eventually developed into a remarkable athlete.
A beanpole at 6’3”, Ewry managed to sneak into the football and athletics team at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He then became a member of the New York Athletic Club, and aided his team to grab 15 United States amateur athletics championships.
Ewry won three gold medals at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games, reigning supreme in standing long jump, high jump, and triple jump events. He became a back-to-back gold medalists in the standing high jump and the standing broad jump events at the 1908 edition of the Olympiad in London (standing triple jump event was excluded) right after 1904.
After 1912 all of the standing jumps in Olympic competition were scrapped. In 1983, Ewry was one of the A+ Olympians to be enshrined into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.