Ralph Rose

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameRalph Waldo•Rose
Used nameRalph•Rose
Born17 March 1884 in Healdsburg, California (USA)
Died16 October 1913 in San Francisco, California (USA)
Measurements195 cm / 115 kg
AffiliationsMichigan Wolverines, Ann Arbor (USA) / Chicago AA, Chicago (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 2
Bronze 1
Total 6


In 1904, 19-year-old Ralph Rose, a 6-6 (1.98), 235 lb. (107 kg.) giant, won three Olympic medals. His best performance in St. Louis came in the shot put when, after trailing Wesley Coe, he came back to take the Olympic title with a new world record of 48-7 (14.81). Rose lost his world record to the Irishman, Denis Horgan, later in the season, and Coe made a further improvement in 1905, but Rose recaptured the record in 1907 and beat both Horgan and Coe at the 1908 Olympics. By 1909, Rose’s weight had risen to a then massive 286 lbs. (130 kg.) and, in winning his third straight AAU title, he became the first man to break the 50-foot barrier. One week later Rose established the first official IAAF record, but his greatest day had come earlier in the season in his hometown of Healdsburg, California, when he won the shot put at 54-4 (16.56) and threw the hammer 178-5 (54.38). Both marks bettered existing world records, but they were never ratified because they were made in an unsanctioned meet, and there was some question about their measurement. The shot put mark would not be bettered, however, until 1934. Apart from his four AAU shot titles, Rose won the discus twice and was the inaugural AAU javelin champion in 1909. Rose attended the University of Michigan and later studied law at Chicago. He was the flag-bearer in 1908 who refused to dip the flag as he walked past the English king, leading to the tradition which survives to this day. He died of typhoid fever in 1913, aged only 28.

Personal Bests: SP – 51-0¾ (15.56) (1909); DT – 40.81 (1910); HT – 52.61 (1907).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Rose
Shot Put, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
56-pound Weight Throw, Men (Olympic) 6
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Rose
Shot Put, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) DNS
Discus Throw, Greek Style, Men (Olympic) DNS
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) DNS
Javelin Throw, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
Tug-Of-War USA Ralph Rose
Tug-Of-War, Men (Olympic) United States 5
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Rose
Shot Put, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Shot Put, Both Hands, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 11
Discus Throw, Both Hands, Men (Olympic) DNS
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) =8

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1908 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony USA Ralph Rose