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Jack Kelly, Sr.

Full name: John Brenden "Jack" Kelly, Sr.
Gender: Male
Height: 6'2" (187 cm)
Born: October 4, 1889 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 20, 1960 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Affiliations: Vesper Boat Club, Philadelphia (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Rowing

Related Olympians: Father of Jack Kelly, Jr.; Grandfather of Albert, Prince Grimaldi; Father-in-law of Mary Freeman.

Medals: 3 Gold (3 Total)

Biography

Jack Kelly is the greatest sculler the United States has ever produced. He began rowing with the Chamonix and Montrose Boat Clubs of Philadelphia, but in 1909 he joined the Vesper Boat Club. Between 1909 and his competitive retirement after the 1924 Olympics, Kelly won every sculling title available to him, including the World Championship in both singles and doubles, the Olympics in singles and doubles, and many national titles in both boats. In 1919 and 1920, he won the national single sculls title over both the sprint distance (¼-mile) and 1½ miles. Kelly never won the Diamond Sculls at the Henley Regatta because he was denied entry. The usual rumor is that he was considered a professional by the Henley authorities, because his trade, as a contractor, gave him an unfair advantage in that it required him to use his muscles for strengthening, but that is false. In fact, all members of Vesper Boat Club were banned for what were considered, to the British, earlier professional activities. Kelly would certainly have won that title had he been allowed to compete and in later years had the last laugh on the British when his "bricklaying" led to a lucrative business as a contractor in Philadelphia. Kelly fathered two very famous children – John Kelly, Jr., another Olympic rower, who became President of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the late Grace Kelly, the American movie star who later became Princess Grace of Monaco.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing Men's Single Sculls United States USA 1 Gold
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing Men's Double Sculls United States USA 1 Gold
1924 Summer 34 Paris Rowing Men's Double Sculls United States USA 1 Gold

Men's Single Sculls

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit T
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing United States USA Final 7:35.0
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing United States USA Semi-Finals Heat Two 7:46.2
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing United States USA Round One Heat Three 7:44.2

Men's Double Sculls

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit T
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing United States USA Paul Costello Final 7:09.0
1920 Summer 30 Antwerpen Rowing United States USA Paul Costello Semi-Finals Heat Three 7:16.8
1924 Summer 34 Paris Rowing United States USA Paul Costello Final 6:34.0
1924 Summer 34 Paris Rowing United States USA Paul Costello Round One Heat One 6:34.0