Harold Osborn

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Harold Marion Osborn (April 13, 1899 – April 5, 1975) was a U.S. track athlete. He won a gold medal in Olympic decathlon and high jump in 1924.The apex of the athletic career of Harold M. Osborn occurred at the 1924 Olympic games in Paris, France (the VIII Olympiad, featured in the popular film, Chariots of Fire). Osborn was the first and, to this day, the only athlete ever to win gold in both the decathlon and an individual event.

Osborn won gold medals and set Olympic records in both the high jump and the decathlon at the 1924 Olympics. His 6' 6" high jump remained the Olympic record for 12 years, while his decathlon score of 7,710.775 points also set a new world record, and resulted in worldwide press coverage calling him the “world’s greatest athlete.” The decathlon competition was especially grueling, conducted just four days after the high jump competition, and consisting of ten events run in extremely hot and humid weather conditions over two days at the end of the games.

Harold Marion Osborn was born April 13, 1899, the fourth child and third son of Jesse Ware Osborn and Emma Ware, whose parents and grandparents were settled in central Illinois in the early 19th century. Osborn grew up on the family farm in Butler Grove Township in Montgomery County.

Family lore tells us that Harold and his brothers, Wesley, Clarence, and Loren, were encouraged to run and practice jumping hurdles on the farm. Their father, Jesse, built a track and hurdles on...
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