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Athletics at the 1906 Athina Summer Games:

Men's Discus Throw

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Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Panathenaic Stadium, Athina
Date Started: April 25, 1906
Date Finished: April 25, 1906
Format: Final only.

Gold: USA Martin Sheridan
Silver: GRE Nikolaos Georgantas
Bronze: FIN Verner Järvinen

Summary

World-record holder Martin Sheridan, who had won the discus in 1904 at St. Louis, won this competition quite easily. He was at this time unequaled as a discus thrower and as an all-around athlete. Born in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland, Martin Sheridan emigrated to the United States in 1900, following his brother, Richard, who had come over in 1897. Richard Sheridan quickly established himself in the United States as a discus thrower. Martin Sheridan also took up the event and quickly became the best in the world at it. Sheridan stood 6'3" and weighed 195 lbs. in his prime.

In the era when Sheridan competed, there was no official governing body that recognized world records. Various sources credit him with between seven and sixteen world records. Sheridan's Olympic fame rests primarily on winning the Olympic gold medal in the discus in 1904, 1906, and 1908. But he was far more than just a discus thrower. Overall, he won nine Olympic medals, including five gold, counting those Sheridan won in the 1906 Olympics.

Sheridan was a superb jumper and weight thrower, but he displayed his other talents in the all-around championship, the early American forerunner of the decathlon. Sheridan entered three all-arounds in his athletic career, the AAU National Championships of 1905, 1907, and 1909. He won each of them easily, and set a world record each time, finally leaving it at 7,385 points, a mark which Jim Thorpe broke by only a few points in 1912. Sheridan also won the AAU discus championship in 1904, 1906, 1907, and again in 1911, just before his retirement as an athlete.

Off the field, Sheridan worked as a policeman (1902-1918) as did many of the Irish-American athletes. His fame led him to be the personal bodyguard for the governor of New York whenever he visited the city. Sheridan never married and died without issue from pneumonia only seven years after he retired from athletics. In the New York Herald-Tribune, his obituary proclaimed him to be the greatest all-around athlete ever known in the United States - greater even than Jim Thorpe. Thorpe himself stated in the obituary, "Sheridan was the greatest athlete in the world. He could do things I never could."

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal D
1 Martin Sheridan 25 United States USA Gold 41.460 WR
2 Nikolaos Georgantas 26 Greece GRE Silver 38.060
3 Verner Järvinen 36 Finland FIN Bronze 36.820
4 Eric Lemming 26 Sweden SWE 35.620
5 André Tison 21 France FRA 34.810
AC František Souček Bohemia BOH
AC Miroslav Šustera 28 Bohemia BOH
AC Heikki Åhlman 26 Finland FIN
AC Uno Häggman 23 Finland FIN
AC André Désfarges 22 France FRA
AC Karl Kaltenbach 23 Germany GER
AC Willy Dörr 24 Germany GER
AC Mikhail Dorizas 20 Greece GRE
AC Georgios Papakhristou Greece GRE
AC Vasilios Papageorgiou Greece GRE
AC Gyula Strausz 26 Hungary HUN
AC György Luntzer 19 Hungary HUN
AC Mihály Dávid 19 Hungary HUN
AC István Mudin 24 Hungary HUN
AC Alberto Masprone 21 Italy ITA
AC Robert Edgren 32 United States USA