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Thomas Eakins

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameThomas Cowperthwait•Eakins
Used nameThomas•Eakins
Born25 July 1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
Died25 June 1916 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
NOC United States


Thomas Eakins was a photographer and sculptor, but was best known for his paintings. His best known works were sports images from rowing and swimming. However, he became successful and famous only after his death. Descended from an Irish family, he was an avid and versatile sportsman. His childhood friend Max Schmitt taught him the German language. Eakins caused several scandals by his penchant for nudes, in a time of very prudish America. Today he is considered one of the most important and most expensive painters of the United States before World War II. The art historian Henry Adams described Thomas Eakins in 2005 as the “Michael Jackson” of his time, because he also was guilty of serious misconducts such as anti-Semitism, bestiality, exhibitionism, incest, lies, sadism, poor writing style, sexism, unattractiveness and voyeurism. His paintings were posthumously submitted to the 1932 art competition.

Although Eakins was married three times, it is still unclear whether he was heterosexual or homosexual. What is known about some of his friends and students is that they were gay, but it was never confirmed that he himself was gay. In some of his works homosexual motives can be identified.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Art Competitions USA Thomas Eakins
Painting, Unknown Event, Open (Olympic) AC
Painting, Unknown Event, Open (Olympic) AC
Painting, Unknown Event, Open (Olympic) AC

Special Notes


deceased ahead of the Games of 1932