The Olympic Marine
A five-time gold medallist, US Marine Morris Fisher is regarded as one of the finest sport shooters in history of the Games, almost a century after his Olympic bow.
An outstanding recruit Morris “Bud” Fisher, born in 1890 in Youngstown, Ohio (USA) entered the United States Marine Corps at an early age, initially distinguishing himself as a first-rate violinist. He might well have ended up as part of ‘The President’s Own’, the Marine Corps band, had it not been for his shooting skills, which were swiftly spotted by his superior officers, who helped him to develop his talent and encouraged him to join the Marine Rifle Team in 1912. Armed with his trusty Springfield 1903 rifle, he became a key member of the team, winning numerous shooting tournaments and earning the prestigious Distinguished Rifleman Badge, an achievement Fisher regarded as the “pinnacle of fame”.
On song in Antwerp Fisher fought in World War I with the 13th Marine Regiment, departing for France in September 1918. At the end of the conflict, he remained in Europe and enjoyed success in several elite shooting competitions organised by the Allied Forces. After gaining a spot on the US team for the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp (BEL), he went on to win three gold medals, in the team free rifle, the team 300m military rifle (three positions) and the individual 300m free rifle (three positions) events. Before the start of the latter contest, the American marksman took 20 minutes to get himself into the right frame of mind, during which time he even played his violin, before shooting from standing, kneeling and prone positions, to finish well ahead of his rivals.
Making history in Paris Promoted to the rank of sergeant, Fisher continued to excel in international competitions, achieving a world record points total in 1923 and securing world titles in 1923 and 1924. On 27 June 1924, in the individual 600m free rifle event at the Olympic Games in Paris, held in Châlons-sur-Marne during an oppressive heat wave, he overcame compatriot Carl Osburn in a shoot-off to become the first shooter to win individual golds at different Games. In addition, Fisher propelled his American team-mates to glory in the team free rifle event, thereby taking his Olympic gold tally to five.
Forever a MarineAlthough Fisher continued to impress in the international arena, he would never again appear on the Olympic stage. The discipline was absent from the Amsterdam Games of 1928, and the events which featured at Los Angeles 1932 and Berlin 1936 did not correspond to the military man’s specialities. Fisher published two books – Mastering the Rifle and Mastering the Pistol – before leaving the Marines in 1941. He subsequently rejoined to train shooting recruits during World War II, but retired for good in 1946 as a Chief Warrant Officer, moving to Honolulu in Hawaii, where he lived until his death on 23 May 1968.