Alma W. Richards
Utah’s First Olympic Gold Medalist
February 20, 1890 – born in Parowan, Utah.
1904 – seeing to be “free,” Richards dropped out of school at age 14.
1908 – returned to school through the influence of a teacher who admonished, “The only way to be truly free is to get an education.”
May, 1909 – singlehandedly took first in the state track meet, which included all of the high schools in Utah.
July, 1912 – won an Olympic Gold Medal in the high jump at Stockholm, Sweden. Just prior to his victorious jump, in full view of King Gustav and 22,000 noisy spectators, the humble farm boy dropped to his knees and silently prayed, “God, give me strength. And if it’s right that I should win, give me strength to do my best and set a good example all the days of my life.”
August 1915 – smashed Jim Thorpe’s Olympic world decathlon record by 1000 points.
1916-1919 – served in the US Army during WWI and was declared the greatest athlete in the US Expeditionary Forces by General John Pershing.
1913-1932 – won 55 Regional and National Track & Field Championships.
1924 – after achieving academic excellence and earning a law degree at USC, he chose to become a teacher so he could make a difference in young people’s lives. Richards taught briefly at Parowan High School and then in Southern California for 30 years.
1947 – named Utah Athlete of the Century.
April 3, 1963 – died in Orange, California. Richard’s last request was to be buried in his beloved Parowan.
Sincere thanks for the many private and public donations received for this monument.
Joe Zaleski – Eagle Scout Project 2001
Joe Zaleski raised the funds and organized the effort to have this monument built in time for the torch run through Parowan when the Olympic torch was on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
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A monument to Alma Richards, Utah’s first Olympic gold medalist.
This is a monument to Alma Richards, the first Utahn to ever win a Gold Medal in the modern Olympic games. Joe Zaleski raised the funds and organized the effort to have this monument built in time for the torch run through Parowan when the Olympic torch was on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.