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Martin Sheridan

Biographical information

Medals OG IG
Gold 3 2
Silver 0 3
Bronze 1 0
Total 4 5
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games, Competed in Intercalated Games
Full nameMartin Joseph•Sheridan
Used nameMartin•Sheridan
Born28 March 1881 in Bohola (IRL)
Died27 March 1918 in New York, New York (USA)
Measurements190 cm / 88 kg
AffiliationsI-AAC, Queens, New York (USA)
NOC(s) United States


The Irish-born Martin Sheridan was the greatest all-round athlete of his time and thru 2014, his total of 9 Olympic medals has been bettered by only 11 Americans. In addition to winning the discus at the 1904, 1906 and 1908 Olympic Games, Sheridan won the shot in 1906 and the Greek-style discus in 1908. To these five gold medals he added three silver medals in 1906 in the stone throw and the standing jumps and a bronze medal in the standing long jump in 1908.

Inspired by his older brother, Richard, who won the AAU discus in 1901 and 1902, Martin himself won the title four times. He also won the AAU shot in 1904 and three times was the AAU All-Around champion, setting a new world record each time. Further proof of his versatility came at the 1908 Olympics when he placed ninth in the triple jump, and was also the non-pulling captain of the United States tug-of-war team against Liverpool Police. Sheridan’s first cousin Jim Clarke was in the British team. The discus was undoubtedly Sheridan’s best event; in addition to his three Olympic titles and four AAU championships, he improved the world best in the discus 15 times between 1902 and 1909. Sheridan almost certainly missed another gold medal when he was forced to withdraw from the 1906 pentathlon due to injury.

Apart from his prowess as a competitor, Martin Sheridan has passed into Olympic lore with his remark to the press at the 1908 Olympics, where he was quoted as saying, “This flag dips to no earthly King!” after the Michigan weightman, Ralph Rose, refused to lower the American flag as he passed the Royal Box at the Opening Ceremony.

Like many of the great Irish-American athletes of the time, Sheridan was employed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and was the personal bodyguard of the New York governor whenever he visited the city. Sheridan, who had come to America in 1897, retired from active competition in 1911 and died of pneumonia at the early age of 36. In his honor, the NYPD began the Martin Sheridan Medal for Valor award, given to policeman (from 1921-73) exhibiting significant valor in action.

Personal Bests: TJ – 14.21 (1905); SP – 14.74 (1908); DT – 44.01 (1908); HT – 162-8 (49.58) (1906); JT – 120-3 (36.65) (1908).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics Shot Put, Men Olympic 4 Representing United States    
  Shot Put, Men Olympic (non-medal) 1
  Discus Throw, Men Olympic 1 Gold
  Discus Throw, Men Olympic (non-medal) 1
  Shot Put, Handicap, Men Olympic (non-medal) 3
  Discus Throw, Handicap, Men Olympic (non-medal) 1
1906 Intercalated Games Athletics 110 metres Hurdles, Men Intercalated DNS Representing United States    
  High Jump, Men Intercalated DNS
  Standing High Jump, Men Intercalated =2 Silver
  Pole Vault, Men Intercalated DNS
  Long Jump, Men Intercalated DNS
  Standing Long Jump, Men Intercalated 2 Silver
  Triple Jump, Men Intercalated DNS
  Shot Put, Men Intercalated 1 Gold
  Stone Throw, Men Intercalated 2 Silver
  Discus Throw, Men Intercalated 1 Gold
  Discus Throw, Greek Style, Men Intercalated 4
  Pentathlon (Ancient), Men Intercalated AC
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics Standing High Jump, Men Olympic 16 Representing United States    
  Standing Long Jump, Men Olympic 3 Bronze
  Triple Jump, Men Olympic 9
  Shot Put, Men Olympic AC
  Discus Throw, Men Olympic 1 Gold
  Discus Throw, Greek Style, Men Olympic 1 Gold
  Javelin Throw, Freestyle, Men Olympic DNS

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1904 Summer Olympics 3 September 1904 Athletics Discus Throw, Men Final Standings 39.28 1
1906 Intercalated Games 25 April 1906 Athletics Discus Throw, Men Final Standings 41.460 WR 1
1906 Intercalated Games 25 April 1906 Athletics Discus Throw, Men Final Standings 41.460 WR 1
1908 Summer Olympics 16 July 1908 Athletics Discus Throw, Men Final Round 40.89 1

Olympic family relations

Special Notes