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Olympic Gold-Medalist - Myer (Meyer) Prinstein

Born Mejer Prinsztejn in Szczuczyn in 1878

Myer (or Meyer) Prinstein [Born Mejer Prinsztejn] (December 22, 1878 - March 10, 1925) was an American athlete who held the world record for the long jump and won gold medals in three Olympic Games.

Olympic Gold-Medalist
Myer Prinstein

Medal Record
Competitor for the  United States
Gold 1900 Paris Hop, step and jump
Gold 1904 St. Louis Hop, step and jump
Gold 1904 St. Louis Long jump
Gold 1906 Athens Long jump
Silver 1900 Paris Long jump

Early Life

Prinstein was born in 1878 in Szczuczyn, Poland. His parents, Jacob and Julia Prinstein, [Jankiel Prinsztejn and Judes Rubinsztejn [1]] were Polish-Russian Jews who migrated to New York city in 1883 and quickly thereafter moved to Syracuse, New York where Myer was raised. They had five daughters and four sons, and Jacob was a grocer and baker. Myer was the third of the nine children.

He was captain of the Syracuse University track team, and ultimately graduated from that school with a law degree.

World Record

Prinstein set a long jump world record of 7.235m (23' 8 7/8") in New York on Jun 11, 1898. The record was broken, first by William Newburn of Ireland on Jun 18, 1898 and later by Alvin Kraenzlein on May 26, 1899. On Apr 28, 1900 Prinstein set a new record of 7,50 m (24' 7 1/4") in Philadelphia. Four months later, on Aug 29, 1900 the record was broken by Peter O'Connor of Ireland.

Olympic Games

Prinstein won the silver medal in the long jump at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, losing to Alvin Kraenzlein after being denied permission by Syracuse officials to compete in the final because it was contested on a Sunday (despite the fact that Prinstein was a Jew, and Kraenzlein, who was a Christian, did compete). He is said to have been so angry that he punched Kraenzlein in the face. The following day, He won the gold medal in the hop, step and jump (triple jump), beating 1896 champion James Connolly.

In St. Louis 1904 he won both the long jump and the hop, step and jump on the same day, the only athlete ever to win both events in the same games. He also came 5th in both the 60m dash and 400 m.

In Athens 1906 he again won the long jump competition, beating the world record holder, Peter O'Connor. The only judge for the competition was Matthew Halpin, who was manager of the American team. O'Connor protested, but was overruled. He continued to protest Halpin's decisions through the remainder of the competition. The distances were not announced until the end of the competition. When they were, Prinstein had won with his very first jump.[2]

Late Career

Prinstein did not compete in the Olympics after 1906. He lived in Jamaica, Queens and practiced law, and later became a businessman. He died on March 10, 1925 of a heart ailment at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.

Prinstein was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.


1. Szczuczyn Marriage Register, 1870
2. The King of Spring - The Life and Times of Peter O'Connor. Mark Quinn. ISBN 1-904148-52-2

Material contributed by Peter Brown. Editor's notes are entered in [brackets].

Reprinted under the Copyright policies of Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; See original article
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