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An Irish-American policeman, Matt McGrath first competed in the Olympic hammer throw event in 1908. At the time, he was the reigning world record holder. But, at the Olympic Games in London, he was beaten by another Irish-American policeman, two-time defending Olympic champion John Flanagan.

Shortest longer than the longest

However, at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, McGrath overwhelmed his opponents. The shortest of his six throws was 4.45m longer than anyone else's longest throw. McGrath's Olympic record held up for 24 years. In 1920, McGrath tried to defend his title, but injured his knee and had to withdraw after his second throw. He still managed to finish fifth. In 1924, McGrath returned to the Olympic Games and earned the silver medal…at the age of 45.



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Matthew McGrath

July 1908: Matthew McGrath of the USA about to throw the Hammer at the 1908 London Olympics. He was the World Record holder at the time but finished second to fellow American John Flanagan. He won the event at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)


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