ROBERT GARRETT Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


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Name: Robert S. Garrett                                                               
Born: 24 May 1875                                                                     
Died: 25 April 1961                                                                   
Robert S. Garrett (May 24, 1875 – April 25, 1961) was an American athlete. He       
was the first modern Olympic champion in discus throw and shot put.                   
Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, Garrett came from a wealthy family and           
studied in Princeton University. He excelled in track and field athletics as an       
undergraduate, and was captain of the Princeton track team in both his junior         
and senior years. Garrett was primarily a shot-putter, though he also competed       
in the jumping events. When he decided to compete in the first modern Olympics       
in 1896, Professor William Milligan Sloane suggested he should also try the           
They consulted classical authorities to develop a drawing and Garrett hired a         
blacksmith to make a discus. It weighed nearly 30 pounds (14 kg) and it was           
impossible to throw any distance, so he gave up on the idea. Garrett paid for         
his own and three classmates' (Francis Lane third in 100 m, Herbert Jamison           
second in 400 m, and Albert Tyler second in pole vault) way to Athens to compete     
in the Olympics. When he discovered that a real discus weighs less than five         
pounds, he decided to enter the event for fun.                                       
The Greek discus throwers were true stylists. Each throw, as they spun and rose       
from a classical Discobolus stance, was more beautiful than the last. Not so         
with Garrett, who seized the discus in his right hand and swinging himself           
around and around, the way the 16 pound hammer is usually thrown, threw the           
discus with tremendous force. Garrett's first two throws were embarrassingly         
clumsy. Instead of sailing parallel to the ground, the discus turned over and         
over and narrowly missed hitting some of the audience. Both foreigners and           
Americans laughed at his efforts and he joined in the general merriment. His         
final throw, however, punctuated with a loud grunt, sent the discus sailing 19       
centimeters beyond the best Greek competitor's Panagiotis Paraskevopoulos's mark     
to 29.15 metres.                                                                     
Garrett throwing the discus                                                           
American spectator Burton Holmes wrote: "All were stupefied. The Greeks had been     
defeated at their own classic exercise. They were overwhelmed by the superior         
skill and daring of the Americans, to whom they ascribed a supernatural               
invincibility enabling them to dispense with training and to win at games which       
they had never before seen." The performances were remarkable. According to           
James Connolly, in five of the track and field events won by Americans, they had     
not had a single day of outdoor practice since the previous fall.                     
Garrett also won the shot put with a distance of 11.22 metres and finished           
second in the high jump (tied equally with James Connolly at 1.65 metres) and         
second in the long jump (with a jump of 6.00 metres). In the 1900 Olympics,           
Garrett placed third in the shot put and the standing triple jump. His bronze         
medal in the shot put was especially impressive, as he refused to compete in the     
final due to it being held on a Sunday. His qualifying mark was good enough to       
place him in third. He also competed in the discus throw again, but due to a         
poorly planned course was unable to set a legal mark as his discus throws all         
hit trees.                                                                           
Garrett was the IC4A shot put champion in 1897.                                       
In addition, Garrett was a member of the Tug-of-War team at the 1900 Olympics         
that was unable to take part because three of its six members were engaged in         
the hammer throw.                                                                     
Later he became a banker and donator to science, especially to history and           
archeology. He helped to organize and finance an archaeological expedition to         
Syria, led by Dr. John M. T. Finney. His hobby was collecting Medieval and           
Renaissance Manuscripts. In 1942 Garrett donated to Princeton University his         
collection of more than 10,000 manuscripts, including sixteen Byzantine Greek         
manuscripts, containing rare and beautiful examples of illuminated Byzantine art     
for the use of scholars.