James Brendan Connolly
With the Summer Olympics kicking off this week in London, we’d like to toot our own Southie horn and give props to South Boston’s James Brendan Connolly. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896, and Connolly was part of Team USA.
Now known as the triple jump, Connolly received the first place medal for the hop, skip and a jump, after leaping an impressive 44 ft and 11 3/4 inches. He also received the second place medal for the long jump.
Just the facts:
- Connolly was one of 12 children of Irish immigrants from the Aran Islands
- Connolly attended Harvard but then dropped out to go to Athens to compete in the Olympics. He never returned.
- He participated in the second modern Olympics in Paris – but didn’t retain his title
- He enlisted in the 9th Massachusetts Infantry during the Spanish-American War
- Author of many sea stories – he published more than 200 short stories, and 25 novels
- He died at the age of 88
- A statue in his honor stands at Moakley Park and shows Connolly in action