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Alma Richards facts for kids

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Alma Richards in 1912
Quick facts for kids
Personal information
Born February 20, 1890 (1890-02-20)
Parowan, Utah, U.S.
Died April 3, 1963 (1963-04-04) (aged 73)
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Sport
Sport Athletics
Event(s) High jump, long jump, shot put, discus throw, decathlon
Club BYU Cougars, Provo
Coached by Eugene L. Roberts
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) HJ – 1.956 m (1915)
LJ – 7.125 m (1915)
SP – 14.01 m (1916)
DT – 44.12 m (1922)

Alma Wilford Richards (February 20, 1890 – April 3, 1963) was an American athlete. He was the first resident of Utah to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games, in 1912, in the running high jump event.

Jumping

Born in Parowan, Utah, Alma Richards was an eighth grade farm boy who decided to stop school and explore the world.

At Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, BYU coach Eugene L. Roberts saw Richards playing basketball, and instructed him to jump over a six-foot-high bar. He did so easily. The coach then proceeded to raise money to get Richards to the 1912 Trials in the High Jump. Richards proceeded to defeat American champion George Horine in the final and win the gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912.

Richards graduated from Brigham Young in 1913, and from Cornell University in 1917, where he was also a member of the Quill and Dagger society. The Olympics did wonders for his self-confidence, and whereas he was once just a marginal student, his aptitude and attitude now were boundless. He thrived at Cornell, in the classroom and on the track. He was the national AAU high jump champion in 1913 and later, as he expanded his repertoire, he became a decathlete as well.

By the time of the national AAU championships of 1915, held in conjunction with the World's Fair in San Francisco, he became the national decathlon champion, finishing some 400 points ahead of Avery Brundage, who would later head the International Olympic Committee.

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.

Later years

After graduating with honors from Cornell, Alma attended graduate school at Stanford, before enrolling in law school at the University of Southern California. He got his law degree, and passed the bar, but chose not to practice law and instead chose teaching. He became a science teacher in Los Angeles at Venice High School, where he remained for 32 years until he retired. Richards was buried, according to his wishes, in the Parowan Cemetery. He was posthumously inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame (1970), Helms Hall of Fame and Brigham Young University Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Alma’s first wife was Marian Gardiner Richards. They had one child, Joanna Richards. His second wife was Gertrude Huntimer Richards, and they had three children: Mary Richards Schraeger of La Habra Heights, California; Anita Richards Ricciardi of Whittier California; and Paul Richards of Los Angeles, California.

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