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John Flanagan

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 4
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Joseph•Flanagan
Used nameJohn•Flanagan
Born28 January 1868 in Ballinvreena, Kilfinane (IRL)
Died3 June 1938 in Kilmallock (IRL)
Measurements178 cm / 95 kg
AffiliationsNYAC, New York (USA) / I-AAC, Queens, New York (USA)
NOC United States


Before emigrating to America in the autumn of 1896, John Flanagan won the British AAA title earlier that year and the previous season he had set the first of his numerous world records. After the nine-foot circle and the stiff wooden-handled hammer to which he had been accustomed at home, Flanagan initially had some difficulty in adapting to the American seven-foot circle and an implement with a pliable handle. Once he mastered making three turns in the smaller circle, Flanagan was virtually invincible. During the 15 years he lived in America, he topped the world ranking list 12 times and set 16 world records, culminating with a throw of 184-4 (56.18) on 24 July 1909. For championships, Flanagan could count, besides his Olympic golds, seven AAU hammer titles and six with the 56 lb. weight. He also won a second British AAA title in 1900 en route to the Paris Olympics.

He returned to Ireland in 1911 and made his final international appearance when he won the hammer throw for Ireland in their match against Scotland. His successes were not limited to the hammer and weight events. He placed fourth in the 1904 discus and surprisingly for a man of his size, he finished second in both the high and long jumps and the all-around event at the 1895 Irish championships. Flanagan is always listed as representing the United States at his three Olympics, but in 1900 he was possibly still an Irish (actually British in that era) citizen, and we have not been able to find information about his naturalization status for 1904 or 1908.

Personal Bests: DT – 38.15 (1904); HT – 56.18 (1909).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1900 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John Flanagan
Shot Put, Men (Olympic) DNS
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 7
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John Flanagan
Triple Jump, Men (Olympic) DNS
56-pound Weight Throw, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
56-pound Weight Throw, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) 1
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 4
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) 2
Discus Throw, Handicap, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) 2
Hammer Throw, Handicap, Men (Olympic (non-medal)) 1
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John Flanagan
Shot Put, Men (Olympic) DNS
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) 9
Discus Throw, Greek Style, Men (Olympic) DNS
Hammer Throw, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Javelin Throw, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
Tug-Of-War USA John Flanagan
Tug-Of-War, Men (Olympic) United States 5

Olympic family relations


Not born 9 January 1873. Birth certificate confirms 28 Jan 1868.