Alma Richards
High Jump Decathlon 0
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BY High School



1975 BYU Hall of Fame

Alma Richards, Utah’s first Olympic champion in any sport, claimed he got his running and jumping abilities from chasing jackrabbits in the fields near his home in Parowan. In 1912 he set an Olympic high jump record of 6 feet 4 inches in Stockholm, Sweden. He was high jump champion in the National AAU meet in 1913, and in the 1915 meet he won the decathlon, competing in all 10 events in one day.

After graduating from BYU in 1913, Alma was given a scholarship to Cornell University, and he earned his degree in 1917. Richards was the United States' best decathlete and high jumper due to enter the 1916 Olympic Games, but those Games were never held, because of the outbreak of World War I.

In 1924 he graduated from the University of Southern California with a LL.B. degree and was later admitted to the California bar. Teaching gave him time for athletics, and so he taught in a California secondary school for 31 before retiring in 1953.

In his 21 years of athletic competition Alma won more than 245 medals and trophies in track and field events all over the world. He won 55 championships in 63 events. In 1947 he was nominated Mountain West Athlete of the Century, and he was elected to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. His medals and trophies, once displayed at the Helms Hall of Fame, have been donated to BYU.

1975 BYU Hall of Fame

1975 BYU Hall of Fame

Alma Richards, Utah’s first Olympic champion in any sport, claimed he got his running and jumping abilities from chasing jackrabbits in the fields near his home in Parowan. In 1912 he set an Olympic high jump record of 6 feet 4 inches in Stockholm, Sweden. He was high jump champion in the National AAU meet in 1913, and in the 1915 meet he won the decathlon, competing in all 10 events in one day.

After graduating from BYU in 1913, Alma was given a scholarship to Cornell University, and he earned his degree in 1917. Richards was the United States' best decathlete and high jumper due to enter the 1916 Olympic Games, but those Games were never held, because of the outbreak of World War I.

In 1924 he graduated from the University of Southern California with a LL.B. degree and was later admitted to the California bar. Teaching gave him time for athletics, and so he taught in a California secondary school for 31 before retiring in 1953.

In his 21 years of athletic competition Alma won more than 245 medals and trophies in track and field events all over the world. He won 55 championships in 63 events. In 1947 he was nominated Mountain West Athlete of the Century, and he was elected to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. His medals and trophies, once displayed at the Helms Hall of Fame, have been donated to BYU.

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