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John Tewksbury

American athlete John Tewksbury was born on March 21, 1876. At the 1900 Olympics in Paris, he won 5 five medals, of which two gold.

Born in Ashley, Pennsylvania, Tewksbury studied for a dental degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Running for the university team, he won the IC4A titles in the 110 and 220 y in 1898 and 1899.

After graduating, he headed for Paris to compete in the Olympic Games. Tewksbury entered in 5 events, but had strong competition, among others from fellow Penn student Alvin Kraenzlein. In the 100 m, Tewksbury equalled the world record in the semi-finals, but placed second in the final to Frank Jarvis. The following day, he took another second place, behind Kraenzlein, in the 60 m, before entering the 400 m hurdles.

At the time, this event had probably never been contested in the United States, but Tewksbury easily beat the local favourite for the title. The event was quite different from present day, as the hurdles were actually telephone poles laid over the track, and the final hurdles was a water barrier (like in the steeplechase). In the final of the 200 m hurdles, he placed third (with Kraenzlein the winner). The final of the 200 m was held a week later, and Tewksbury won his second Olympic title, clearly defeating Norman Pritchard of India.

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