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Heavyweight Houser’s double seals glory

Heavyweight Houser’s double seals glory

05/07/1924

There are some landmarks in the Olympic annals that the passage of time and the development of sport render a repeat almost unthinkable.

 

One such feat was performed by American throwing legend Bud Houser at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

He was the last man to win gold in the discus and shot and, given the now refined techniques of both power-throwing events, it is difficult to picture the achievement being emulated in the modern era.

He was very much an innovator, however, and took many of the throwing records of the time to new levels.

Houser pioneered the rotation-style throw now used universally in the discus and he was also the first to see the benefits of the explosive, staccato throwing style in the shot.

He went to Paris a warm favourite.

First he produced an imperious performance in the discus, winning the event by almost four feet (1.32 metres) with an Olympic record throw of 151ft 4ins (46m) which he recorded in the qualifying rounds.

It was a victory for the USA which would be repeated in eight out of the next nine Olympic discus finals, rounded off by Al Oerter’s record fourth straight win completed at Mexico City in 1968.

Five days later came the shot put final and a much tighter contest developed.

Houser again threw an imposing leading effort in the qualifying round of 49 feet 2.25 ins and he failed to improve on that in the final.

Two American colleagues – Samuel Glenn “Tiny” Hartranft and Ralph Hills – sent out throws tantalisingly close to that of Houser’s but it was not to be and Houser’s place in the record books was confirmed.

Discover the best photos of Paris 1924

  • Johnny Weissmuller (USA)

    A part of Hollywood legend for his role as Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller was nonetheless an accomplished swimmer. At the Paris 1924 Games, he won gold in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay. We see him here after his 400m freestyle surrounded by his fellow medal-winners, Sweden’s Arne Borg (2nd, on the right) and the USA’s Andrew Charlton (3rd, on the left)
    ©IOC

  • Paavo Nurmi (FIN)

    Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals at the Paris 1924 Games. He won the individual cross country, team cross country, the 1500m, 5000m and the team 3000m events. On 10 July 1924, he won the 1500m before victoriously taking gold, 55 minutes later (!) in the 5000m

    ©IOC

  • Winner’s medal Paris 1924

    The reverse of the medal is occupied by the representation of an athlete helping one of his opponents to stand. This motif thus perfectly illustrates the solidarity that we expect from any athletes taking part in the Olympic Games. Besides this, the Olympic rings appear for the first time on a medal (they are visible here on the upper part of the medal)
    ©IOC

  • Liddell Chaired

    18th July 1924: Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945), winner of the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics, is paraded around Edinburgh University after his victory. He was known as the 'Flying Scotsman' and was immortalised in the film Chariots of Fire. (Photo by Firmin/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • Liddell Triumphant

    18th July 1924: Scottish athlete Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945) is paraded around Edinburgh University after winning the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite t

  • Eric Liddell

    Scottish athlete and missionary, Eric Henry Liddell (1902 -1945) being carried round the streets after his Olympic victory. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite to win the 100 metres race but refused to run because he felt that running on a Sunday conflicted with his Christian beliefs. He won a bronze medal in the 200 metres event instead and then ran the 400 metre race despite having little experience at the distance. He not only won the gold medal but broke the world record by completing the race in 47.6 seconds, an achievement which is celebrated in the 1981 film 'Chariots of Fire'. Liddell gained two degrees, one in science and the other in divinity, before leaving Britain to work as a Scottish Congregational Church missionary in China as his parents had before him. Original Publication: People Disc - HG0205 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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