A for Athlete


105 years later, Australia claims Olympic medals [1][]

Feb 2009

Australia (also known as AUS) Flag of Australia is claiming four Olympic medals 105 years after they were awarded to the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States.

The Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement Friday that Francis Gailey, who won four swimming medals at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, was Australian and not American at the time.

Gailey finished second in the 220-, 440- and 880-yard races and third in the one-mile freestyle.

AOC official historian Harry Gordon says Gailey was Australian, a student at Brisbane Grammar School and age 22 when he swam in the St. Louis Olympics. He came home to Australia after the Olympics, but emigrated to the United States in 1906. He later became a naturalized U.S. citizen and settled in California, where he died in 1972.

Gordon said confirmation of Gailey's identity had come from a group of international historians and statisticians investigating the nationalities of athletes at the 1900 Olympics (Paris) and 1904 Olympics.

"Both were badly organized attachments to international trade expositions, or world's fairs," Gordon was quoted as saying in an AOC statement. "The records have always been pretty suspect."

The AOC said Gailey can now be recognized as winning the most individual medals at a single Olympics of any male Australian swimmer. Ian Thorpe won five individual medals at two Games: two at 2000 Olympics in Sydney and three at 2004 Olymics in Athens.

The committee said Gailey's medals, when credited to Australia (also known as AUS) Flag of Australia, increased the country's total at the Summer Games to 449: 135 gold, 144 silver and 170 bronze.