John Daly

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games, Competed in Intercalated Games, Non-starter
Full nameJohn Joseph•Daly
Used nameJohn•Daly
Nick/petnamesThe Deerfoot of Dowras
Born22 February 1880 in Ballyglunin (IRL)
Died11 March 1969 in New York, New York (USA)
Measurements187 cm / 83 kg
AffiliationsGaelic Athletic Association, Dublin (IRL)
NOC Great Britain
Nationality Ireland


One of the leading early Irish distance runners, John Daly was successful on both sides of the Atlantic. The son of a County Galway farmer, the young John worked on his father’s farm and enjoyed coursing, hunting with dogs, and was captain of the Corfin Rebels Gaelic Football team. He was first interested in athletics after attending a meeting at Athenry in 1900 and in September that year he took part in his first competitive meeting at Mount Bellew and won the high and broad jumps, and was third in the 440 yard race. After that success he joined the Galway City Harriers and was a member of their team that entered the Irish cross Country championship in Dublin in 1901 and Daly won the race by a clear 80 yards.

In 1902 Daly won the Irish AAA the mile and four miles and soon afterwards won both events in the Ireland vs. Scotland match. He again won the Irish AAA mile in 1903 and at the Gaelic AAA Championships won the three miles in 1902. In 1904 he finished second in the AAA steeplechase and the following month he was in St. Louis for the Olympics where he again finished second in the steeplechase, but he won the US title that year. Daly stayed on in America for two years but was attracted home by the 1906 Olympics. The Irish Field sponsored Peter O’Connor and Con Leahy but Daly had to pay his own fare and find his own accommodation in Athinai. He finished third in the five miles but was disqualified for obstructing Edward Dahl (SWE) in the final straight. In the marathon, he stayed with the leaders for 18 miles before blisters and an ankle injury forced him to retire. His blisters were so severe that he was hospitalized for three days. Back in North American for the 1907 season he enjoyed his greatest year, winning the US title at five miles and ten miles and the Canadian title at one, three and ten miles.

Although selected for his third Olympics in 1908 Daly did not take part because of injury but in September finished third in the American five miles championship. In the International Cross-Country race he finished third in 1903 and fourth in 1904 and 1906 and led the Irish team home each time. In 1910 and 1911 he took part in some long distance road races in Ireland but eventually settled in America where he became a successful New York businessman and was the owner of five taverns in the city which he called “Poor Man’s Clubs”. Daly was President of several important liquor dealers and restaurant owners associations around New York.

Personal Bests: Mile – 4:27.8 (1902); 3 miles – 14:45.0 (1907); 4 miles – 19:42.6 (1902); 5 miles – 26:04.0 (1907); Mar – unknown.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR IRL John Daly
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
Marathon, Men (Olympic) DNS
2,590 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1 mile, Handicap, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) 1
1906 Intercalated Games Athletics GBR IRL John Daly
5 miles, Men (Intercalated) DQ
Marathon, Men (Intercalated) DNF
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR IRL John Daly
3,200 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) DNS