Born 14 October 1873, Ewry contracted polio as a young boy. Confined to a wheelchair, it was thought that he might be paralysed for life. However, he began exercising on his own and grew up to be a superb athlete. Ewry won all three standing jump events at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. He defended all three titles in 1904. The standing triple jump was dropped from the Olympic program in 1908, but Ewry won both the standing high jump and the standing long jump for a third time. All standing jumps were dropped from the Olympic programme after 1912.