Thu July 19, 2012
Monument honors local Olympic great, Ewry
The Lafayette community is honoring one of its own for his historic career.
A monument highlighting ten time Olympic gold medalist Ray Ewry's achievements was unveiled at his alma mater, Jefferson High School.
Dick Leill and his wife Judy donated the tribute.
He says as great of an athlete as Ewry was, he was an even better person.
“One of the things that impresses me so much is that on top of all that he did and accomplished, he was a gentleman,” said Dick Leill. "I've told people that when I die, I want to hug my mom and dad first and then shake hands with Ray Ewry."
Tom Carson says the monument captures the greatness of his grandfather’s life.
"It just takes your breath away. It really takes your breath away," he said. "To see these great artisans who built this and designed it with all the Purdue colors and Jeff colors and then the inscription, it's just the greatest day of my life. I can't think of another day to top this.”
Ewry competed in four Olympic Games between 1900 and 1908.
He won gold in the standing long and high jumps and standing triple jump after overcoming infantile paralysis as a child.
Ewry also went to Purdue competing in track and on the football team.
Joe Micon is the chair of the Ray Ewry Monument Committee.
He says this type of recognition is long overdue for the man nicknamed "the human frog."
“Ray Ewry never got his name on a box of Wheaties, never had a pair of athletic shoes named after him, just because of circumstance, his story and legacy got lost in time," said Micon. "His family has been really adamant about leading the charge to resurrect that legacy.”
Ewry was elected into the U.S Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983 and has won more individual gold medals than any athlete in history.