100 Greatest U.S. Olympians

At every Olympics, America's top athletes compete for national pride and personal glory. These are the best of the best.
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Ray Ewry
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Ray Ewry

1900 Paris Games, 1904 St. Louis Games
Track and field
Medal count: Eight golds

Ewry swept the standing high jump, long jump and triple jump events at the Paris Olympics in 1900, the second modern iteration of the games. He successfully defended his golds in 1904, and probably would have gone three-for-three in 1908 if the IOC hadn't discontinued the standing triple jump that year. In terms of individual gold medals, his total of eight is second all time to Michael Phelps' 11, a fact that's even more impressive considering Ewry suffered from polio as a child and nearly lost the use of his legs. He also won two golds in the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, but those medals are no longer recognized by the International Olympic Committee.       

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