Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Ewry, Ray (Raymond Clarence), 1873-1937



  • Existence: 1873 - 1937

Biographical Information

Ray C. Ewry was born in Lafayette, Indiana, October 14, 1873. He attended the public and high schools in Lafayette and entered Purdue in 1890, and graduated in 1894 with the degree of B.M.E. He took post-graduate work and received the degree of M.E. in 1897. Ewry was assistant instructor in Machine Design and Kinematics at Purdue during the years 1896-1899. In 1899 he took a position as assistant to the Inspector of Machinery and Installation for the government, for vessels building for the United States Navy at the Crescent ship yards, Elizabeth, New Jersey.

In 1903 he had charge of the completion of the U.S. cruiser, Chattanooga, and the U.S. torpedo boats, Nicholson and O'Brien, at the New York navy yards, the finishing of these boats having been taken over by the government on the closing down of the Crescent yards. In 1909 he acted as engineering expert to the Sanitary Commission at the Hudson-Fulton celebration. For eight years he was an instructor in Mechanisms at Platt Institute, Brooklyn.

While a student at Purdue, his engineering studies took a back seat to Ewry's newfound interest at Purdue: track. Ewry's track career was almost halted before it had a chance to start. As a child, Ewry contacted polio, which almost crippled him for life. After most of the physicians had given up, one prescribed a regimen of strengthening exercises that soon had Ewry on the road to recovery. During his years at Purdue, Ewry demonstrated an impressive ability in track. Ewry participated in the first Purdue Field Day in 1891 and went on later that year to set a new state record in the standing broad jump at the Indiana Collegiate Meet at Terre Haute

After leaving Purdue with diploma in hand, Ewry's next move was to join the Chicago Athletic Association and later, when work moved him to New York, he competed under the New York Athletic Club. He then proceeded to set a new world record in the standing broad jump at the age off 22.

Ewry's Olympic career began in 1900 at the Paris Games. Here he became the first Big Ten athlete in history to win an Olympic champonship. He won three of his 10 gold medals that year: in the standing long jump, the triple jump and the standing high jump.

At the 1904 Olympiad in St. Louis, Ewry earned an additional three gold medals in his three events. His distance in the standing long jump remains today as a world record due to the fact that the event was abandoned on 1938. Ewry's remaining four gold medals were won at that 1906 Athens Games and the 1908 London Games.

Ewry returned to Purdue's campus at least one time to sprinkle soil from the Athens Olympics on the Ross-Ade Football Stadium turf sometime after the 1928 competition.

In 1990 was honored with a special postage stamp commemorating his athletic achievements.


Complied by Mary A. Sego, in honor of Purdue alumnus, Purdue Faculty member and Olympic athlete.

Purdue Debris, vol. XXIII, 1911, p. 24.

Purdue University New Release, July 27, 1990, most text by Clifton Scott, a Purdue alumnus who researched Ewry's life.

Lafayette Urban Ministry Word Press blog post, "TONIGHT – Ray Ewry Presentation Scheduled." (February 5, 2015). Retrieved June 7, 2020:

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Raymond C. Ewry collection

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 6, Placement: 11
Identifier: MSA 106
Scope and Contents The collection consists of biographical information on Raymond C. Ewry, a Purdue alumnus and Olympic track star.
Dates: 1897 - 1988