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Alma Richards

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Title: Alma Richards  
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Subject: Athletics at the 1912 Summer Olympics – Men's high jump, United States at the 1912 Summer Olympics, Western roll, Eugene L. Roberts, Robert Shavlakadze
Collection: 1890 Births, 1963 Deaths, American High Jumpers, American Latter Day Saints, American Military Personnel of World War I, American Schoolteachers, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1912 Summer Olympics, Byu Cougars Track and Field Athletes, Cornell University Alumni, Lawyers from Los Angeles, California, Olympic Gold Medalists for the United States, Olympic Medalists in Athletics (Track and Field), Olympic Track and Field Athletes of the United States, People from Iron County, Utah, Sportspeople from Los Angeles, California, Stanford University Alumni, University of Southern California Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alma Richards

Alma Richards
Alma Richards in 1912
Personal information
Born February 20, 1890 (1890-02-20)
Parowan, Utah, U.S.
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 73)
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Sport High jump
Club BYU Cougars, Provo

Alma Wilford Richards (February 20, 1890 – April 3, 1963) was a high jumper and was famous for being the first resident of Utah to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games, in 1912, in the running high jump event.


  • Jumping 1
  • Later years 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4


Born in Parowan, Utah, Alma Richards was an eighth grade farm boy who decided to stop school and explore the world. But shortly after his departure he met a Native American named Thomas Trueblood who convinced Richards to return to school.

At 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 500 points ahead of Avery Brundage, who would later head the International Olympic Committee.

He was far and away the United States' best decathlete due to enter the 1916 Olympic Games, not to mention its best high jumper. Winning two gold medals was a distinct possibility. 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, as high jumpers do, he passed the bar. But he chose not to practice law. Instead he went into teaching. He became a science teacher in Los Angeles at Venice High School, where he remained for 32 years until he retired. Richards has been buried, according to his wishes, in the Parowan Cemetery.

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 Ca. Anita Richards Ricciardi of Whittier Ca. and Paul Richards of Los Angeles.


  • Alma Richards.
  • Utah "History to Go" on Alma Richards
  • Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Track & Field (Men): High Jump". In The Complete Book of the Olympics - 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 197.
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