Martin J. Sheridan: "A Peerless Athlete"

According to his obituary, Martin John Sheridan was "one of the greatest athletes this country has ever known." Born in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland on March 28, 1881, Martin arrived in the United States in 1897, where he joined his brother, Richard, also a great athlete.

At 6'3" and 194 lbs, Sheridan became the best all-around athlete of the Irish-American Athletic Club. Like many of his I-AAC teammates, Sheridan was a member of the New York City Police Department, (1906-1918), rising from the rank of Patrolman to First Grade Detective and serving as the governor’s body guard whenever he was in NYC.

A five-time Olympic champion, with a total of nine Olympic medals, Sheridan was called "one of the greatest figures that ever represented this country in international sport, as well as being one of the most popular who ever attained the championship honor." Additionally, Sheridan won twelve National AAU titles and more than thirty Canadian and Metropolitan championships. Sports writers of his era proclaimed him the greatest track and field athlete of all time.

Sheridan fell victim to pneumonia, (possibly one of the first casualties of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic) one day before his 37th birthday on March 27, 1918 in St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City.


All of the images above are courtesy Celtic Park Productions and the Sheridan Family,
and may not be reproduced without permission.

Sheridan at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, England.
Bust of Martin Sheridan in Bohola village square, County Mayo, Ireland.
To make a tax-deductible donation to mount a plaque at Celtic Park click here.

On May 8, 1921, the Celtic Cross was unveiled at Calvary Cemetery. To view the program from that event, click here.

In 1922, the Police Department of the City of New York awarded the first Martin J. Sheridan Medal for Valor. It was awarded to NYPD officers for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, until it was last presented in 1975.

The Winged Fist Organization is working with Celtic Park Productions and Sheridan family descendants to revive this medal.

Martin Sheridan - Spring 3100, October, 1950.

Martin Sheridan Poem, by S.J. Donleavy.

Martin Sheridan Remembered in his Native Village, by Séamus Ware, Journal of Olympic History.

"Martin Sheridan, The World's Champion All-Around Athlete," by Robert Edgren.

Martin Sheridan's Nine Olympic Medals

1906 Olympic Games Athens

Event: Discus Throw
Medal: Gold

Event: Shot Put
Medal: Gold

Event: Standing Long Jump
Medal: Silver

Event: Stone Throw
Medal: Silver

Event: Standing High Jump
Medal: Silver

1904 Olympic Games St. Louis

Event: Discus Throw
Medal: Gold

1908 Olympic Games London

Event: Discus Throw
Medal: Gold

Event: Discus (Greek Style)
Medal: Gold

Event: Standing Long Jump
Medal: Bronze

All content on this site, unless otherwise specified, is © Copyright Ian McGowan / Winged Fist Organization.
Web Design Conrad Landais
Recipients of the NYPD's
Martin J. Sheridan Medal for Valor

To view Martin Sheridan's obituary from The New York Times, March 28, 1918, click here.

On July 27, 1918, under the auspices of the Martin J. Sheridan Memorial Committee and the Police Department of the City of New York, athletic games and a concert were held at Celtic Park to raise funds for a Celtic Cross to mark Sheridan's grave in Calvary Cemetery. To view the program from that event, click here.