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Alma Richards, Olympian

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Copyright: 2016
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 288 pp.
Illustrations: 28 illustrations

CLOTH
978-1-60781-491-7
$34.95
Trade

eBOOK
978-1-60781-492-4
$28.00

Alma Richards, Olympian

Larry R. Gerlach

Biography / Sports History

Alma Richards, as an unsung high school student, surprisingly set an Olympic record for the high jump in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He was the only native Utahn and member of the LDS church to win an Olympic gold medal in the twentieth century. After a stellar collegiate track career that saw him lead Cornell to three national championships, Richards for two decades reigned as America’s most accomplished multiple-event track and field athlete, winning national titles in five different events. Despite his prominence in the history of American sports, this is the first treatment of his athletic career and personal life.

More than a century has passed since Alma Richards won an Olympic gold medal, yet this story about man and sport—the drive to excel, victory as validation of hard work, the quest for public recognition and, ultimately, the achievement of self-identity and self-satisfaction—still resonates today.


Larry Gerlach is professor emeritus of history at the University of Utah. His numerous books and articles include Blazing Crosses in Zion: The Ku Klux Klan in Utah and The Men in Blue: Conversations With Umpires.


Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART I: SAGEBRUSH TO STARDOM
1. Formative Years
2. From Parowan to Provo
3. Making the American Team 

4. Going for Gold

PART II: COMING OF AGE
5. The Hero Returns 

6. The Big Cornellian 

7. Military Interlude 


PART III: CHASING DREAMS
8. To the Track
9. On the Home Front 


PART IV: TAKING STOCK
10. Alma Remembering 

11. Remembering Alma 

12. God, Gold, and Glory? 

13. Crossing the Bar
14. Alma Richards Redivivus 


Appendix A: Martha Ward, “Tribute to Alma Richards”
Appendix B: Alma Richards Track and Field Records
Notes
Bibliography
Index


Praise and Reviews:

“Gerlach’s well-sourced and well-reasoned arguments and commentary add nuance and critical analysis to the story, offering a break from straightforward narrative and allowing critical glimpses into both the athlete and his world.”
—David J. Lunt, assistant professor of history, Southern Utah University

“Gerlach seeks to separate fact from fiction, and myth from reality, to discover a gifted athlete whose story we thought we knew but didn’t. Richards’s life—which is full of triumphs and tragedies, successes and failure—provides any interested reader with an important lens to view a number of topics.”
—John Sillito, professor emeritus of libraries, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah

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