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Paddy Ryan

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full namePatrick James "Paddy"•Ryan
Used namePaddy•Ryan
Born4 January 1881 in Old Pallas (IRL)
Died13 February 1964 in Limerick (IRL)
Measurements188 cm / 113 kg
AffiliationsLoughlin Lyceum
NOC United States


Paddy Ryan won his first Irish hammer title in 1902 when, as a virtual novice, he beat the great Tom Kiely for the championship. In 1910, Ryan emigrated to America and, after placing third in the hammer at the 1911 AAU meet, improved to take second place in 1912 before taking his first AAU title in 1913. Apart from 1918, when he was in France with the American Expeditionary Forces, he won the hammer title from 1913 thru 1921, when he retired. The first five titles came when Ryan was a member of the Irish-American Athletic Club. While in New York, Ryan worked as a labor foreman for the foreunner company of Con Edison, and later joined the New York Police Department, but in 1924 he returned to Eire to take over the family farm and remained there until his death. Ryan was not eligible to represent the U.S. at the 1912 Olympics, but the following year he showed what a threat he might have been in Stockholm. At the 1913 Eccentric Fireman’s Games he set the first official IAAF world record with a throw of 189-6½ (57.77), which was to remain a world record for more than 25 years and was not beaten as a U.S. record until 1953. In 1920, Paddy Ryan won the Olympic title by the widest margin on record, beating Carl Johan Lind of Sweden by almost 15 feet.

Personal Bests: HT – 189-6½ (57.77) (1913); 56 lb. Throw – 40-2 (12.24) (1913).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1920 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Paddy Ryan
56-pound Weight Throw, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold