The doctors said he would never walk again. They said that the little boy, who had contracted paralytic polio, would be wheelchair-bound for life. Raymond Ewry decided to prove them wrong. He devised special exercises which he diligently practiced every day. He developed such exceptionally strong legs that finally, one day, he could stand and walk. But Ray was not satisfied. He wanted to be a champion jumper.
Up to the 1912 Olympics there were two kinds of jumps allowed, one from a stationary position and the other with a run-up. In the 1900 Paris Olympics, American Raymond Ewry won the three standing jumps — high, long and triple. He went on to win gold medals in the 1904 St.Louis and the 1908 London Olympic Games. He also won two golds in the 'unofficial' or interim Olympics held in Athens in 1906. His record haul of 10 gold medals makes him the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
The distances he jumped were not remarkable — he didn't go beyond 1.65 m in the high jump and 3.47 m in the long jump — when compared to the records created today. But given Ewry's childhood background, the achievement was stupendous.