United States at the 1896 Summer Olympics

Fourteen competitors from the United States competed in three sports at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The Americans were the most successful athletes in terms of gold medals, beating host nation Greece, 11 to 10, despite fielding only 14 competitors compared to an estimated 169 Greek entrants. However, the Greeks' 46 total medals dwarfed the Americans' 20.

United States at the
1896 Summer Olympics
US flag 44 stars.svg
NOCUnited States Olympic Committee
in Athens
Competitors14 in 3 sports
Ranked 1st
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)
Other related appearances
1906 Intercalated Games

The United States team had 27 entries in 16 events, with 20 of the 27 resulting in top-three finishes.

Most of the American competitors were students at Harvard University or Princeton University or members of the Boston Athletic Association. The team trained at The Pennington School, in Pennington, New Jersey, while preparing for the first modern Olympic Games.


Of the 14 Americans at the Athens Games, 12 won medals. Charles Waldstein, a shooter, and Gardner Williams, a swimmer, were the two who did not win any medals.

Several members of America's first Olympic team in 1896. Standing: T.E. Burke, Thomas P. Curtis, Ellery H. Clark. Seated: W.W. Hoyt, Sumner Paine, Trainer John Graham, John B. Paine, Arthur C. Blake
Several members of America's first Olympic team
Medal Name Sport Event
  Gold Thomas Burke Athletics Men's 100 metres
  Gold Thomas Curtis Athletics Men's 110 metre hurdles
  Gold Thomas Burke Athletics Men's 400 metres
  Gold Ellery Clark Athletics Men's high jump
  Gold Ellery Clark Athletics Men's long jump
  Gold James Connolly Athletics Men's triple jump
  Gold William Hoyt Athletics Men's pole vault
  Gold Robert Garrett Athletics Men's discus throw
  Gold Robert Garrett Athletics Men's shot put
  Gold John Paine Shooting Men's 25 metre military pistol
  Gold Sumner Paine Shooting Men's 30 metre free pistol
  Silver Herbert Jamison Athletics Men's 400 metres
  Silver Arthur Blake Athletics Men's 1500 metres
  Silver James Connolly Athletics Men's high jump
  Silver Robert Garrett Athletics Men's high jump
  Silver Robert Garrett Athletics Men's long jump
  Silver Albert Tyler Athletics Men's pole vault
  Silver Sumner Paine Shooting Men's 25 metre military pistol
  Bronze Francis Lane Athletics Men's 100 metres
  Bronze James Connolly Athletics Men's long jump

Results by eventEdit



Williams competed in two swimming events, placing in neither.

Athlete Event Final
Time Rank
Gardner Williams 100 metre freestyle Unknown 3–10
1200 metre freestyle Unknown


Thomas Curtis
US athletic team

The United States squad of 11, which featured only one national champion, won nine gold medals in the twelve athletics events, with contributions from six different athletes. Six silver medals and two bronze medals also went to the Americans in athletics.

Track & road events
Athlete Events Heat Final
Time Rank Time Rank
Thomas Burke 100 m 11.8 1 Q 12.0  
Francis Lane 12.2 1 Q 12.6  
Thomas Curtis 12.2 1 Q Did not start
Thomas Burke 400 m 58.4 1 Q 54.2  
Herbert Jamison 56.8 1 Q 55.2  
Arthur Blake 1500 m n/a 4:34.0  
Thomas Curtis 110 m hurdles 18.0 1 Q 17.6  
William Hoyt Unknown 2 Q Did not start
Arthur Blake Marathon n/a Did not finish
James Connolly
Field events
Athlete Events Final
Result Rank
Ellery Clark Long jump 6.35  
Robert Garrett 6.00  
James Brendan Connolly 5.84  
James Brendan Connolly Triple jump 13.71  
Ellery Harding Clark High jump 1.81  
James Brendan Connolly 1.65  
Robert Garrett 1.65  
William Hoyt Pole vault 3.30  
Albert Tyler 3.20  
Robert Garrett Shot put 11.22  
Ellery Harding Clark Unknown 5–7
Robert Garrett Discus throw 29.15  


The Paine brothers contested only two events, taking the top two spots in the event in which they both competed, the military pistol. Sumner was the only one of the two to enter the free pistol, which he won. Waldstein was the third member of the American shooting contingent, competing in the military rifle event.

Shooter Event Hits Score Rank
John Paine 25 m military pistol 25 442  
Sumner Paine 23 380  
Sumner Paine 30 m free pistol 24 442  
Charles Waldstein 200 m military rifle Unknown 14–41


  • Lampros, S.P.; Polites, N.G.; De Coubertin, Pierre; Philemon, P.J. & Anninos, C. (1897). The Olympic Games: BC 776 – AD 1896. Athens: Charles Beck. (Digitally available at [1])
  • Mallon, Bill & Widlund, Ture (1998). The 1896 Olympic Games. Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0379-9. (Excerpt available at [2])
  • Smith, Michael Llewellyn (2004). Olympics in Athens 1896. The Invention of the Modern Olympic Games. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-342-X.