The First High and Long Jump Olympic Gold Medalist – Ellery Harding Clark

If we talk about one of the most difficult athletic events in the Olympic Games, this is definitely the high jump competition. Categorized under the Track and Field event, the competitors need enough courage and patience during their training to achieve their goal during the actual competitions. Of course, there are always declared winners who usually receive medals and cash incentives as part of their achievements in life.

The competition for high jump involve the necessary equipment such as a straight bar and position between the pair of standard high jump posts. When the player jumps, he or she falls on the landing mat with safety cushions. On the other hand, the high jump events these days in the Olympic somehow improved the equipment, although the rules of the event are similar even in the ancient times.

When we discuss about the first gold medalist for high jump and long jump in the Olympic Games, he is no other hand Ellery Harding Clark. He is one of the representatives of the United States at the 1896 first modern Olympics held in Athens, Greece. According to the shared online information about him, Clark is the only athlete who won both the long jump and high jump competitions in the Olympic back in 1896 with 5-11½ (1.81) and 20-11 (6.37) marks.

This American track and field player is a student of the Harvard University and because of his impressive grades in school; they allowed him to compete for the Athens Olympics that time. The 5-foot 11-inches Clark proved his worth as a successful athlete by topping the all-around athletes from year 1893 until 1912. Even though he did not win a National Championship title, he became the AAU champion in 1897 and 1903 for the all-around competition (known as decathlon these days).

This first American gold medalist in high jump and long jump in the Olympic is a native of Boston in Soffolk, Massachusetts.  He is also member of the Boston Athletic Association in Boston that time.

In 1904, he was about to compete for the Summer Olympics held in St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately, he decided not to continue after five events because of suffering to bronchitis. Clark still managed to achieve the 5th place even if the already quit.

Aside from him, American likewise won the silver medals of the 1896 first modern Olympics in Athens. The winners are both Americans namely Robert Garrett and James Connolly (tied for silver). And since then, more and more American track and field players are winning gold, silver and bronze medals in the different Olympic Games across the world.

Clark did not stop winning because at the age of 32 until the age of 56, he won different major track and field competitions. According to history also, Ellery is not just focusing on his athletic games because he is a successful author, educator, lawyer and a coach for track players. To recognize his remarkable achievement as a citizen of the United States, they inducted him in 1991 as one of the USATF Hall of Famers.

He died at the age of 75 on February 17, 1949.

To date, there are several organized worldwide events for track and field such as the IAAF World Indoor Championships, World Championships in Athletics and more. These events are consistently improving and developing new talents for the years to come.

Currently, the record holder of the high jump competition in the world is Javier Sotomayor of Cuba. The 6’5” Cuban has a record of 2.45 meter whom he achieved back in 1993. As for the Olympic record in high jump, Charles Austin of the United States is the record holder with 2.39 meter whom he achieved in the 1996 Summer Olympic held in Atlanta, Georgia.


Credit images: Find A Grave

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