Denis Horgan

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Olympic medal record
Men's athletics
Silver medal – second place 1908 London Shot put
Horgan depicted on an Ogden's cigarette card, 1902

Denis Horgan (18 May 1871 – 2 June 1922) was a champion Irish athlete and weight thrower, born in Banteer, County Cork, who competed mainly in the shot put.


Shortly after setting a world's record of 48 feet 2 inches with the 16 pound shot at Queenstown, in County Cork, Ireland in 1897, Horgan visited the U.S., and in 1900, he joined the Greater New York Irish Athletic Association, the predecessor of the Irish American Athletic Club for a brief period.[1] In 1905, he joined the rival New York Athletic Club.

In 1906, Horgan set the world's record for the 28 pound shot, with a distance of 35 feet, 4.5 inches at the Ancient Order of Hibernians games held at Celtic Park in Queens, New York.[2]

He competed for Great Britain in the 1908 Summer Olympics held in London in the shot put, where he won the silver medal.

Denis Horgan won a total 42 shot put titles during his athletic career, including 28 Irish championships, 13 English championships (all for the 16 pound shot) and one American championship. Horgan was "usually so superior to his fellow competitors that he seldom trained in any sort of systematic way, yet he showed a marked consistency of performance, in all conditions, over a period of twenty years."[3]

He emigrated to America where he worked as a police officer. Whilst attempting to rescue a fellow Irishman he was severely stabbed and left for dead. After he recovered he returned to Ireland, married, and settled in Crookstown.[4]


  1. ^ Katchen, Alan (2008). Abel Kiviat, National Champion: Twentieth-Century Track & Field and the Melting Pot. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-0939-1.
  2. ^ NY Daily Tribune, Sunday Aug 26, 1906
  3. ^ Dooley, William (1946). Champions of the Athletic Arena. Dublin: General Publicity Services.
  4. ^ A Great Irish Athlete, Dublin Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1922

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