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Olympic medalist
Center
George Orton
Medal record
Men's Athletics
Gold 1900 Paris 2500m steeplechase
Bronze 1900 Paris 400 metre hurdles

George Washington Orton (January 10, 1873 – June 26, 1958) was a Canadian middle-distance runner. In 1900, he became the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal.

Biography

Born in Strathroy, Ontario, Orton did his undergraduate studies in at the University of Toronto, before switching to the University of Pennsylvania in 1893. By then, he was already one of the top middle-distance runners in North America. He won national titles in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, in the one-mile, two-mile and steeplechase distances. Orton's one-mile time of 4:21.8 in 1892 stood as a Canadian record for 30 years. His total number of wins is reported to be 121.

Orton received his Ph.D. in 1896, but remained active in his sport. The crown on Orton's career might have been the 1900 Summer Olympics, held in Paris. Orton competed in three events: two steeplechase competitions and the 400 m hurdles. He won the gold medal in the 2500 m steeplechase and later won a bronze medal in the 400 m hurdles—collecting all of the medals won by Canada at the games. He placed fifth in the 4000 m steeplechase.

Later, Orton was a track coach at Penn, and wrote a book about the track and field history of that university. He was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. Orton died at age 85 in Meredith, New Hampshire.

References

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