George Orton

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameGeorge Washington F.•Orton
Used nameGeorge•Orton
Born10 January 1873 in Strathroy, Ontario (CAN)
Died25 June 1958 in Laconia, New Hampshire (USA)
Measurements169 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsToronto Lacrosse and Athletics Association
NOC United States
Nationality Canada
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2


George Orton was Canada’s first Olympic medallist and Olympic champion, although this wasn’t immediately recognized. National teams did not exist in 1900, and Orton ran for the University of Pennsylvania and was therefore assumed to be American, but he always considered himself a proud Canadian. While also a soccer and ice hockey player, his greatest strength was distance running, and between 1893 and 1901 he won a plethora of American AAU titles in the mile, the steeple chase, the cross country and the 10 mile road race, in addition to British and Canadian championships. At the 1900 Games, he even finished third in a hurdles event, in addition to his title in the 2500 m steeplechase. He might have won the 4000 m steeple too, had it not been for an intestinal virus.

After his athletic career, Orton kept involved in sports at Penn and in Philadelphia in general. Among others, he worked as the university’s track coach, co-wrote History of Athletics at Pennsylvania and was director of the municipal stadium.

Personal Best: 400H – 58.9e (1900).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1900 Summer Olympics Athletics USA CAN George Orton
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
200 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) DNS
400 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
2,500 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4,000 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 5
1,500 metres, Handicap, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) AC


Newspaper sources also give his date of death as 24th June or 26th June. The 26th June is least likely to be true.