The Ahern Family - Daniel Ahearne

Daniel Ahearne
Olympic Athlete

Dan Ahearne
Dan Ahearne, wearing the Winged Fist of the Irish American Athletic Club,
from the 1910 Mecca Cigarettes Champion Athlete & Prize Fighter
Series trading card.

Dan Ahearn (née Daniel William Ahearne; April 12, 1888 — December 20, 1942) was an Irish and later American track and field athlete and a member of the Irish American Athletic Club. He competed for the U.S. Olympic team in the 1920 Summer Olympics. He was born in Athea, Ireland and was the younger brother of Tim Ahearne. Ahearn immigrated with his family to the United States in 1909 where the "e" from Ahearne was dropped. He was not naturalized before 1912 because he was not allowed to compete in the 1912 Summer Olympics when he did not hold the U.S. citizenship. He won the National Amateur Athletic Union junior broad jump championship in 1908. In 1909 Ahearn established several new records for the hop, skip, and jump, but the Amateur Athletic Union threw them out on technicalities. In July 1909, Ahearn succeeded in getting his name on the record books by creating a new record for the two hops and jump, doing the distance of 50 feet 2 inches. In 1910, at the games of the "First Regiment Irish Volunteers held at Celtic Park, Long Island City...Dan Ahearn, the jumper of the Winged Fist Club, lowered the world's record (in the triple jump) of 50 feet 1/2 inch, held by D. Shanahan, the Irish Jumper." In 1920 he finished sixth in the Olympic triple jump competition. He was later a policeman in Chicago and died there aged 54. — Wikipedia

Committee Finds Measuring Tape Used Would Stretch
NEW YORK, June 29—It was officially announced today that the record made by Dan Ahearn, the great jumper of the Irish-American A. C., last Sunday, in the hop, step and jump, at Celtic park, would not be allowed. It was found that the cloth tape with which his leap was measured would stretch six inches in every 50 feet. Because of this the record will not be submitted to the committee.
The Boston Globe 30 June 1909

Daniel Ahearn Covers 50Ft 1 3/8 ln at Celtic Park,
a New American Mark For the Game.
NEW YORK, July 4—Daniel Ahearn of the Irish-American A. C. established a new American record of 50ft 1 3/8 in for the hop, step and jump, or two hops and a jump, at Celtic park, Long island, today. A week ago Ahearn covered 49ft 6 1/4 in at the same grounds, but it was not accepted by the A. A. U. because a linen tape was used in measuring. The officers had a standard steel tape today, and the record will be accepted. The former American record of 49ft 1/2 in was held by James P. Connolly of Boston, the author. The world's record is 50ft 2in. made by Daniel Shanahan at Limerick, Ire. 21 years ago.
The Boston Globe 5 July 1909

Dan Ahern making world's record

Ahearn Makes a New World's Record at Celtic Park.
New York, Aug. 1—The Clan-Na-Gael track and field games at Celtic Park, L. I., to-day, were productive of a new world's record in the two hops and jump. Daniel F. Ahearn, of the Irish-American Athletic Club, covered 50 feet, 6½ inches, which is 6 inches more than the recognized world's record made by Dan Shannahan, of Limerick, Ireland, nearly 20 years ago.
Charlotte Daily Observer 2 August 1909

Another Record Shattered.
New York, Aug. 1.— . . . Another Winged Fist club [NY Irish American Athletic Club] athlete hung up a world's record. This was Dan Ahearne. He bettered his previous record in the hop, step, and jump event made on May 20 at the same park by making a leap of 51 feet 1 1-8 inches. The record was made on his first jump, which was remarkable in more ways than one. His first hop carried him 21 feet 7 inches, which is considered a first-class running jump, under ordinary circumstances, and has never been equaled.
The Washington Post 2 August 1910

Four World's Records Broken in
Irish Volunteers Games at Celtic Park.
 . . . Dan Ahearne, the crack jumper of the Irish-American Athletic Club, smashed to smithereens the old mark for the running hop, step and jump, bettering the figures of Dan Shanahan, of Ireland, by 1 foot 2 3/8 inches.

 . . . In the running hop, step and jump Dan Ahearne not only broke his own American figures for the leap, but also broke Shanahan's old figure of 50 feet ½ inch by clearing the remarkable distance of 51 feet 2 7/8 inches. The limber-legged leaper cleared his record performance jump on his second trial.

New-York Tribune 15 August 1910

I. A. C. Athletes Win A. A. U. Meet by Thin Margin
Victory of Dan Ahern in the Hop, Step, and Jump Noses Out the New York A. C. Representatives—Melvin Shepherd Meets Defeat in Half-Mile and Martin Sheridan in the Discus Throw.
New Orleans, Oct. 15.—By the light of the moon tall Dan Ahern this evening won the hop, step, and jump, and with it the national track and field meet of the Amateur Athletic Union for his team, the Irish-American Athletic Club of New York, by a single point. With the brief Southern twilight almost over, the Irish-Americans went into the final event of the long afternoon's struggle—the hop, step, and jump—one point behind the new York Athletic Club boys, who had come from behind with a tremendous rush in the last half hour of the meet.
The Washington Post 16 October 1910

Irish-American Games Tonight at the Garden
Promise Some Great Sport.
 . . . Dan Ahearn will meet his brother in the hop, step and jump after all. Danny was working a few piers away from the place where the big explosion occurred the other day and for a full day after the event Mr. Dan was not to be located. Some feared the champion had jumped back to the ould sod, but such is not the case. Danny has appeared again, and brother Timmy of the New York A. C. will not be able to throw a scare into his big brother after what occurred in Communipaw the other day. Altogether the card arranged for the games promises to be the most interesting of the season.
The Evening World 4 February 1911

Ahearn and Eller Break Records At Celtic Park
World's athletic records were again shattered at Celtic Park yesterday. Jack Eller went over the 75-yard hurdles in 9 1-5 seconds, thus breaking the old record by a fifth of a second. Dan Ahearn put to his credit 51 feet 4½ inches in the running hop, step and jump.
The Evening World 5 June 1911

Dan Ahearne
Champion Hop-Step-and-Jump, 51 feet 3¼ Inches.
Chicago Day Book 29 January 1912

American Athletes Flock To Athletic Banner Of England
England's chances for taking first place in the Olympic games at Stockholm this summer will be considerably enhanced by the addition of several American trained athletes, according to reports from New York. Whether officials of the English team are offering inducements in the way of expenses for these men to participate under the colors of the United Kingdom or the men are drawn to the native country by desire to compete in the games is a question in the minds of Gothamites.

So far New York clubs are the only ones to suffer by the withdrawal of athletes. So far this year John J. Flanagan, weight man, and James Monument, miler, have returned to the United Kingdom. Other athletes whom the New Yorkers expect to lose are: Dan J. Ahearne, broad jumper, and Con Walsh, weight man. . . . These two are the only athletes lost so far, but the probabilities are that Tim J. Ahearne and his brother, Dan Ahearne, and Con Walsh, all of the Irish-American Athletic Club of New York, also will compete under the colors of the country in whose dominion they were born. All three are of Irish birth and none has taken out naturalization papers. Neither Tim Ahearne nor Walsh has been in the United States the required length of time for filing papers, but Dan Ahearne's failure to do so is carelessness. Dan Ahearne is sure to score points for whatever country he competes for, for there is no competitor in the United States who can hold his own with him in the three standing jumps nor in the hop, step and jump. His brother, Tim Ahearne, also takes up these events and the Ahearne family is likely to prove the bete noir of whatever country it competes against. Tim Ahearne is a sterling competitor in the running broad jump and so far has proved the only man in the world who has been able to push Frank Irons of the Chicago Athletic Association in this event. Unless Irons recovers the form he displayed in the Olympic games of 1908 he is likely to have considerable trouble beating the Ahearne family.

The Hawaiian Star 19 March 1912

Dan Ahearn

Chicago, Aug. 14—Chicago will be the future home of Dan Ahearn, holder of the world's hop-skip-and-jump record, and Con Walsh, holder of a number of weight records. The two Celts have joined the Gaelic A. A. track team.
Dunkirk NY Evening Observer 14 August 1911

Olympic Team May Lose Stars.
According to the Olympic rules, only athletes who are naturalized are eligible to represent the country they wish to compete for in the Olympic games. Through this ruling there are three athletes who are unable to sport their country's colors in the 1912 classes because they are not American citizens. They are Dan Ahearn, Tim Ahearn and Con Walsh. The Ahearn brothers wore the colors of John Bull, and Walsh struggled in behalf of Canada at the last Olympic games, which were held in London in 1908. Dan Ahearn is the American running hop, step and jump champion and record holder. Tim Ahearn is the senior champion running broad and hop, step and jump champion of the Metropolitan association. Walsh is a renowned hammer thrower.
Gettysburg Times 24 November 1911

Americans Should Make Clean Sweep In the Olympic Games
at Stockholm; Have Stars in Every Event on Program
New York, April 6.—(Special.)—What America will do at the Olympic games at Stockholm this summer will depend in large measure on how liberal the contributions are to the fund for the expenses of the team to be sent. . . . Then there is a host of broad jumpers headed by F. C. Irons, with his record of more than five feet in the standing broad jump. F. L. Holmes is another good man at the standing broad jump and is also the best at the hop, step and jump, now that Dan Ahern has gone back to England, where he will compete for that country. . . . 
The Atlanta Constitution 7 April 1912

CHICAGO, July 5.—The Irish-American Athletic club of New York, won a hard-fought victory in the National Senior A. A. meeting at Grant Park to-day. The Irishmen scored 44 points. . . . Dan Ahern, I. A. C., holder of the world's record in the hop, step and jump, set a new senior A. A. U. record by covering 50 feet. The old record made by E. P. Bloes was 48 feet six inches, and had stood for twenty years. . . . 
The Journal Gazette 6 July 1913

Americans Should Make Clean Sweep In the Olympic Games
at Stockholm; Have Stars in Every Event on Program
New York, April 6.—(Special.)—What America will do at the Olympic games at Stockholm this summer will depend in large measure on how liberal the contributions are to the fund for the expenses of the team to be sent. . . . Then there is a host of broad jumpers headed by F. C. Irons, with his record of more than five feet in the standing broad jump. F. L. Holmes is another good man at the standing broad jump and is also the best at the hop, step and jump, now that Dan Ahern has gone back to England, where he will compete for that country. . . . 
The Atlanta Constitution 7 April 1912

Six Illinois A. C. track and field athletes will go to New York to compete in the National A. A. U. championships March 8. Those who will make the trip are Dan Ahearn, Joie Ray, Ivan Meyer, J. E. Bechtel, J. E. Miller and J. W. Tierney.
The Chicago Day Book 6 March 1916

Only 3 Clubs Have More Than One Representative on All American.
 . . . The hop, step and Jump berth on the All Americans goes to Dan Ahearne of the Illinois A. C., the world's record holder. Dan came East for the nationals and met the cream of the "triple leppers." Like Caesar, Dan can say, "Veni, vidi, vici"—"I came, I saw, I conquered!" Dan won with a performance of 46 feet ½ inch, defeating all of his ancient rivals, including his brother Tim and Platt Adams of the New York A. C. They were the only ones to question his All American rights, and Dan easily proved his superiority.
The New York Sun 24 September 1916

Tough Day Ahead For World Records
 . . . Dan Ahearn of Chicago, who was ineligible for the Olympic team in 1912, holder of the world's record of 50 feet 11 inches, is expected with Landers to be the best in the running hop, step and jump. They have both cleared more than 47 feet this Spring. United States did not score in this event in 1912, but if Ahearn and Landers come up to their best, they should do well at Antwerp.
The Boston Globe 11 July 1920

Dan Ahern, World Record Holder,
Will Be Fired off Olympic Team
Antwerp, Aug. 13.—Dan Ahern of the Illinois A. C., world's record holder for the hop, step and jump has been dismissed from the American Olympic team on charges of insubordination. It was said Ahern defied the committee's rule requiring athletes to be in their quarters by 10 o'clock. He was compelled to turn in his uniform and credentials and will be returned to America on the first transport.
Ellensburg Daily Record 13 August 1920

Ahearn Dismissed at Antwerp on Insubordination Charge—
Will Be Sent Home.
Members of U. S. Contingent Demand Case Be Reheard—
Heckle Kirby and Weeks.
ANTWERP, Aug. 13 (Associated Press).—Dan Ahearn, of the Illinois A. C., world's record holder for the hop, step and jump has been dismissed from the American Olympic team on charges of insubordination. It was alleged that Ahearn defied the committee's rule requiring athletes to be in their quarters by ten o'clock. He was compelled to turn in his uniform and credentials and will be returned to America on the first transport, President Gustavus T. Kirby of the American Olympic Committee announced today.

Ahearn is in no way charged with dissipation. The question is merely one of violation of discipline. His contention was that he was unable to sleep in the noisy schoolhouse, preferring the hotel where the big weight men are allowed to sleep.

A certain few of the athletes have informed the American Olympic Committee that they will not compete in the Stadium events unless Ahearn is reinstated. The committee replied that the expulsion is irrevocable, and that their decision will stand even it 90 per cent of the athletes refuse to compete. The committeemen say they think the majority of the team will support them.

Athletes Heckle Committee.
The athletes at a boisterous mass meeting tonight virtually forced the committee to reconsider the case of Ahearn with the Athletes' Committee tomorrow. In addition to the Ahearn case other complaints of the athletes are to be heard. The meeting was characterized by considerable feeling on the part of the athletes, during which there were cat-calls and heckling of President Kirby and Judge Bartow S. Weeks of the committee, who addressed the men. Also there was considerable wrangling among the athletes themselves, mixed with demands for silence from the more moderate of them as heckling interrogations were flung at the speakers.

After Mr. Kirby had outlined the action of Ahearn which resulted in his being dropped from the team, Judge Weeks spoke of Ahearn's alleged defiant attitude. Judge Weeks pleaded the need of team work and discipline among the athletes and ended his remarks with the question "What position would you be in if the committee refused to continue its duty?" "Go ahead, we will get a better committee." and other similar remarks were shouted at Judge Weeks. The outburst of the athletes seemingly left the committee stunned. When Judge Weeks in a few moments resumed his address he again was heckled with various questions, amid demands for silence on the part of some of the athletes.

New York Times 14 August 1920

Antwerp, Aug. 13.—The American Olympic athletes at a boisterous mass-meeting tonight virtually forced the American olympic committee to reconsider the case of Dan Ahearn, the hop-step-and-jump champion, with the athlete's committee tomorrow. Ahearn was dismissed from the team today by the American olympic committee for alleged insubordination.
Charlotte Daily Observer 14 August 1920

ANTWERP, Aug. 14—The dispute between the Olympic committee and members of the American team over disqualification of Dan Ahearn, world record-holder for the hop, step and jump, was settled today. Ahearn apologized for breaking the rule that all athletes must retire early and the committee reinstated him. The committee's action followed demands made by a committee representing the athletes that Ahearn be allowed to compete. Dissatisfaction among the American team with the manner in which the committee has proceeded was brought to a head with the disqualification of Ahearn, three times a contestant in the Olympics. The committee declaration that resulted from Ahearn's breaking training by not retiring at the hour set, caused a storm of protest.

A mass meeting of the American team was called and demanded that the Ahearn case be reconsidered. The committee members, after attempting to explain their action, finally agreed to meet today and reconsider the disqualification. During the mass meeting, Judge Bartow S. Weeks, a member of the committee, declared: “Ahearn was trying to dictate to the committee. What would you say if the committee would stop you from competing?” The crowd jerred [sic] Weeks, and cries of “fine” and “that suits us” were heard from all parts of the crowd. The athletes formed a committee and threatened to overthrow the American Athletic Union on reaching home.

Besides Ahearn, the committee disqualified Ted Schneider, American boxer, on grounds of professionalism. The leaders of the committee named by the athletes were Charlie Paddock, the crack Pasadena, Cal. sprinter; R. F. Remer of New York and F. C. Foss, Chicago. The navy crew, which has been unable to find quarters, is forced to sleep over a saloon built at the side of a canal. The dampness caused an epidemic of colds, which were not serious.

Oakland Tribune 14 August 1920

Olympic Dispute on Eligibility of Ahearn Is Ended
Antwerp, August 14.—(United Press)—The dispute between the Olympic committee and members of the American team over disqualification of Dan Ahearn, world record holder for the hop, step and jump, was settled today. Ahearn apologized for breaking the rule that all athletes must retire early and the committee reinstated him. The committee's action followed demands made by a committee representing the athletes that Ahearn be allowed to compete.
The Anniston Star 14 August 1920

Apologizes for Alleged Insubordination and Is Reinstated
Antwerp, Aug. 14—The reinstatement of Dan Ahern of the Illinois A. C., dismissed Friday from the American Olympic team on charges of insubordination was announced Saturday noon. Ahern apologized Saturday morning in the presence of both the American committees. They accepted his apology and he was restored to his former standing on the team, closing the incident. The American athletes, at a boisterous mass meeting Friday night, virtually forced the American Olympic committee to reconsider the case of Ahern, who is hop, step and jump champion. Ahern was dismissed from the team today by the American Olympic committee for alleged insubordination. The meeting was characterized by considerable feeling on the part of the athletes during which there were cat-calls and heckling of Gustavus T. Kirby, president of the American Olympic committee, and Judge Barlow S. Weeks of the committee, who addressed the meeting. Also there was considerable wrangling among the athletes themselves mixed with the demands for silence from the more moderate of them as heckling interrogations were flung at the speaker.
San Antonio Light 14 August 1920

Olympic Summaries
Hop, Step and Jump
Final—Won by Timlos, Finland, 14.55 or 47 ft. 7 1-3 in.; second, Jannison, Sweden, 14.48 meters; third, Almlof, Sweden, 14.27; fourth, Sahling, Sweden, 14.175, fifth, Sherman Landers, Chicago A. A., 14.17; sixth, Dan Ahearn Illinois A. C., 14.8.
Evening Public Ledger 21 August 1920

Sport News and Gossip
Olympiad Already in Hands of Americans
Antwerp, Aug. 21— . . . The other final run-off today was the hop, step and jump. Dan Ahern of Chicago, the record holder over whose tentative suspension for alleged violation of training rules the entire American team went on strike just before the game began, could do no better than sixth place. . . . 
The Anniston Star 22 August 1920
Back to Index

Ahearn Makes Poor Showing
Dan Ahearn, the world's record holder, made a very disappointing showing in the hop, step and jump, being more than four feet behind his best mark. Timlos, the Finn, who won the event, holds the European record with a leap of 50 feet 6 inches, and in the Finnish trials held last July did slightly over 51 feet. Almloff, of Sweden, finished third to-day, just as he did at Stockholm in 1912.
New-York Tribune 22 August 1920

AKRON, O.,—The American Industrial Athletic Association is well represented among the teams which are competing for honors at the Olympic meet in Antwerp. Three members of the American team and one member of the Canadian team have taken part and won prizes in A.I.A.A. national track meets. The A.I.A.A. men on the American team are Joie Ray, world's champion middle distance runner; Dan Ahern, national hop, step and jump champion and Frank Loomis, holder of the world's record in the 400-meter hurdles. The representation on the Canadian team is Campbell Freeman, walking champion. Ray competed in A.I.A.A. meets while a member of the track teams of the Gary, Ind., Tin Mill, and the B. F. Goodrich Rubber Co. Ahern is employed by Morris & Co., Chicago. Freeman also represented the B. F. Goodrich Rubber Co. It is significant that this quartette of track stars are workingmen and won their position in the track firmament thru diligent training after working hours. Ray and Freeman are mechanics by profession, Ahern is of a factory police force, and Loomis is an accountant. Industrial workers are watching their representatives with the same keen interest that college men are following their heroes at Antwerp.
Lima Ohio News 23 August 1920

"Why Don't You Quit?" Query Of Men to Committee
Many Complaints Are Voiced by American Athletes
By John J. Hallahan
ANTWERP, Aug. 15 (By Mail) Friday, Aug. 13, at Antwerp was showdown day in American track and field athletics. The American Olympic Committee, of which Gustavus Town Kirby is president, decided to punish Daniel F. Ahearn of the Illinois A. C. of Chicago for a breach of the rules, as set down by it, preliminary to the Olympic championships. The A. O. C. declared the athlete forfeited his membership of the American contingent because he stayed away from the schoolhouse on Rue Onaden the night of Aug. 12. It appears that the holder of the world's record for the event had remained away the night of Aug. 11, that he had been cautioned and told by the committee he must remain at the quarters. In the face of what he was told, Ahearn did not comply with the wishes of the committee. He stayed out, finding the quarters of Paddy Ryan, the hammer thrower, in the American Hotel more agreeable and conductive to enabling him to get better sleep than at the schoolhouse, where he had been quartered with nine other athletes, sleeping on cots.

Ahearn neither asked nor received permission to stay away from the schoolhouse. This is what the committee members objected to. Ahearn had been before the committee the afternoon of Aug. 12, and told he must not make his own rules. After staying away that night Ahearn was again called before the committee. He told the members where he was. The committee sent for him the second time and Ahearn refused to meet the members. The latter, headed by Pres. Kirby and Justice Barlow S. Weeks, went into the schoolyard and asked Ahearn to come into the office.

Ahearn Defies Committee
He did, and listened to various members of the committee, chiefly Messrs. Kirby and Weeks. After hearing what he had to say, the athlete told them he would remain out again that night, that he had a cold and needed to go to a Turkish bath. He told the committee he was no longer a kid, that he knew how to train and the methods by which he could obtain the best results. This was too much for the committee. Pres. Kirby told him he was dropped from the team. To the correspondents accompanying the athletes Kirby said "Dan Ahearn has been dropped from the team. He has been ordered to turn in his American Olympic uniform. He will be sent back to the United States on the first transport." The decision was a big surprise, and naturally all the newspapermen got busy and sent the news back home. As soon as Ahearn's pal, Paddy Ryan who was responsible for the Chicago athlete staying out, heard of it, he told the athletes he would not compete for America if the committee was to be permitted to carry through the decision.

The matter was talked over before the boys sat down to dinner Aug. 13, and a meeting of the members of the team was called to take place after the meal. This was not needed. Pres. Kirby said he would speak to the members of the team after they had supper. He was told not to do so, as the boys would show him little consideration. Despite this Kirby accompanied by Judge Weeks went into the schoolyard. The former mounted one of the benches, after the bugler had sounded assembly. The athletes gathered around him, listened to his words, but waited anxiously until he told of the decision rendered against Ahearn. When he concluded, finishing by telling of the need of discipline and other things essential to bring about victory, also of the great United States, his words were met with dead silence. As soon as Kirby had finished, Judge Weeks announced he had something to say. A snicker could be heard among the athletes. He went into the Ahearn case at great length and said, "What would you boys think if the committee was to quit?" A cheer went up and some one asked, "Why don't you?" The thing for which the athletes had been waiting since they left New York was about to develop. Weeks told how he had been unable to get decent quarters in Antwerp or on the boat and finally, after he had asked many questions of individual athletes, Norman Ross, the swimmer and spokesman for the team, took his place on the bench.

Food Criticised by Ross
He asked Judge Weeks how it was to be expected athletes could get the best results when breakfast consisted of two small sardines, and things hardly up to keeping the men in condition. Ross put many questions to Judge Weeks and the discussion resulted in many athletes inquiring about this and that, which had not been provided for. Ross said, as spokesman for the team, that he realized that Ahearn's attitude toward the committee had not been all the men could have wished, but said the committee was too hasty in its action and had permitted other things to be done without the men being censured. He asked Judge Weeks if he fully realized what it meant for an athlete to suffer such a disgrace. Ross inquired what was to be done for the improvement of conditions and whether the men were to be given better treatment on their return trip. Pres. Kirby also asked Ross some questions that night he asked if a committee of the athletes could not arrange for a meeting with the Olympic committee. This was done and they met the next morning with the result that Ahearn, who had refused to make the trip to Stockholm as a member of the English team in 1912, was reinstated.

Pres. Kirby said that conditions would be improved and that the meals would he better. Ahearn, it may be recalled, was invited by Great Britain to go to London in 1912 and start training for Stockholm. Ahearn had not been a citizen of the United States at the time. The action of the athletes against the Olympic committee was something new in the history of amateur athletics. The committee was made to realize that the athletes were not to be treated as children and that they must be given the best, as are the representatives of the other countries.

As soon as the committee rescinded its decision against Ahearn and had given the athletes the promise of better food, the members of the team went about their work as if nothing happened, although it was generally thought the men would hardly be able to give their best efforts after what they had gone through. Some of the men wanted to break training and abandon all idea of competing in the games. With everything righted, the men, as already stated, got busy and presented one of the largest collections of athletes at the opening of the games Saturday, marching as if they had been born soldiers. The opening exercises at the Stadium Saturday, Aug. 14, were attended by about l5,000, half filling the structure. No aggregation looked better than the Americans. Harry Hebner, member of three Olympic teams, carried the standard, and Patrick McDonald, the New York A. C. weight thrower, carried the colors, flanked on either side by members of the Army and Navy. After them came Pres. Kirby, the officials, members of the Olympic committee, Gen. Sage and the Army officers. Then came coaches, followed by Manager Mat Halpin leading the athletes. The women swimmers, wearing white straw hats, flannel skirts, and blue coats, led the athletes. The midshipmen and members of the Navy end of the team brought up the rear.

The Boston Globe 27 August 1920

U. S. Stars May Win Hop-Step-Jump Title After 24-Year Lapse
NEW YORK, June 20—(AP)—The hopes that the Olympic hop, step and jump championship will be brought back to the United States, after a lapse of 24 years, and the world's record with it, rest chiefly upon the ability of the great negro athlete, DeHart Hubbard, to stand the strain of two events. . . . 

Altho the previous world's record had been held in America, by Dan Ahearn since 1909, no representative of this country has scored in the Olympics since 1904, when Myer Prinstein, Syracuse star, registered a "double" in the flat jumps. Ahearn did not complete in the 1908 or 1912 Olympics and in 1920, when past his prime, did no better than sixth. He won the national championship eight times in the colors of the Illinois Athletic club.

Lima Ohio News 20 June 1928

Southern Sprinter Likes Harvard's Track
The Soldiers Field track inside Harvard's Stadium yesterday afternoon was a busy spot, with the officials and workmen putting the finishing touches on their mechanical lay-out and with the advance guard of out-of-town athletes arriving on the scene of this week-end's Eastern Olympic tryouts. . . . 
Romero Wears Braces
With Toppino, too, was a teammate, 17-year-old Rolland Romero, a hop, step and jumper who, despite his tender years and a pair of football knees which require special metal braces, has done 49 feet 10 inches. Johnny Hallahan, who was out sunning himself, raised his eyebrows when he heard of the performance. "That's pretty good," said Johnny. "In fact it's about the best I've heard of lately. Of course Dan Ahearn could do 51 feet, but hop, stepping and jumping is an Irish pastime, and there aren't any Irish left."
The Boston Globe 16 June 1932

Excerpts From Olympic Annals
By John Kieran
It was in 1920 that our Olympic athletes staged what went down in history as the Mutiny of the Matoika. It was just after the war and shipping was generally in had shape. The American Olympic committee had arranged to send our expedition to Antwerp in the Great Northern, the largest of our army transports. But the Great Northern broke down and the Princess Matoika, a much smaller transport, was the best the committee could get.

The Princess Matoika had been hauling American troops hack from the Rhine district, and ex-service men are familiar with the palatial sleeping arrangements provided for soldiers on army transports. As soon as the athletes caught sight of the tiers of wooden bunks they set up a howl. When they tackled the good old army "chow" they rose in revolt. Babe McDonald, Norman Ross, Dick Remer and Harry Hebner were appointed a committee to confer with the officials and demand explanations and improvements. The fun was fast and furious while it lasted. Some of the "radicals" were threatening bodily harm to dignified and outraged officials, but the violent fellows were held in subjection and the voyage ended with no loss of lives.

When the athletes landed in Antwerp and found they were to be quartered in a schoolhouse that had been turned into a dormitory, with long rows of cots, they flared up again. Pat Ryan, the hammer thrower, went around declaring that all the athletes would get cauliflower ears sleeping in the hard hunks with hay pillows. Dan Ahearn, veteran hop, step and jump specialist, went out and tound himself more comfortable quarters in town. He was suspended for insubordination" because he wasn't inside the schoolhouse at 10 P. M. as per regulations.

Where Angry Passions Rose.
Dan took the stump against the ruling and the athletes drew up a petition requesting Judge Bartow S. Weeks, Fred Rubien and other officials to reinstate the veteran, who merely craved a soft couch for his tired limbs at nightfall.

The officials were very firm. Ahearn would not be reinstated. "We'll quit," said the assembled athletes. "You can't do that!" said Judge Weeks. "You can't betray the country that sent you over here. You must carry on. The committee must carry on. What would you do if the committee quit?" "Get a better one!" shouted one of the athletes, and a roar of laughter went up.

Cool heads finally calmed the storm. Ahearn was reinstated and there were no more untoward incidents at Antwerp except that Morris Kirksey, the Stanford sprinter, was arrested and thrown into jail by the Antwerp police when, after the games were over, he tried to enter the dressing room at the stadium to recover some equipment he had left in his locker. It was all a mistake, and apologies were hasty and profuse.

New York Times 24 July 1932

Dan Reveals Sport Record Of Terrell
Dan Ahern, resident of this community, one time boyhood hero and three times Olympic World's Champion of the Hop, Step and Jump event, was sitting in a local barber shop this week reading the Garfeldian's Westown edition. He did not know that among those also sitting reading a newspaper and waiting to get a haircut was a Garfeldian correspondent, which is how this story reaches print.

"I see," said Dan Ahern, "according to this paper that Alderman Terrell of the 29th is helping put over a Spotless Alley campaign. He'll do a good job of it. He's a winner and a champion. Being chairman of the health committee for the city council, he is 100 per cent for a cleaner and healthier ward, and he'll be heart and soul back of the job. I've known Tom since we were kids." He added. Rumors had been afloat regarding Terrell's athletic career as a young man, and somebody sitting in the barber shop asked Dan about it. He smiled.

"I remember," Dan went on, "that race out at Riverview Park in 1915, held under the auspices of the United Scottish Societies of Chicago, when Tom was pitted against the world's champion mile runner. This was big stuff—against a world's champ. The field ran evenly for a while until the half-mile turn, then Tom, due to his great courage and stamina earned by years of clean living, began to pull ahead slowly. At the quarter-mile it was nip and tuck, with the two out in front, and, with a driving finish, Tom beat the world's champion."

"Tom became president of the Young Men's Club in Our Lady of Sorrow's parish. He became a leading amateur boxer. He took up basketball, and also became tops in that. Now his friends are making him throw aside this modesty business and are telling the people of the 29th ward what a great alderman they have, and I'm for it. He's a champion, and a winner. If he says he'll help that Spotless Alley campaign it tells about here, folks will know he's been around."

The barber called out "Next!" and Dan Ahern, three times Olympic champion, swung into the chair.

The Chicago Garfieldian 1 December 1938

 . . . 
Rebellion Is Imminent
Perhaps the answer then was that there was more to it than just a love or sports. There also was love of country and a fierce pride in being a representative of the United States in the sphere of international competition. That was shown in the eminently unsatisfactory Olympic trip of 1920. The athletes were herded into the "glory hole" of the ship and rebellion simmered and seethed all the way across. Finally it came to a head in a turbulent shipboard meeting. The American team was about to pass a resolution refusing to compete in the games.

McDonald took the floor. "Do you lads realize," he asked, "that you are lying down on the United States of America? How can you face the folks back home if you make a move like this? An Englishman wouldn't do it. I donít think Americans will, either." The speech was short, but the vote was unanimous to compete.

Later in Antwerp there was another strike brewing. Dan Ahearn was dismissed from the team by an official who, Pat says, "had more prejudice in him than honor." The athletes were up in arms and Pat reported as their spokesman to the Olympic Committee. "What percentage of the athletes would go on strike?" asked Supreme Court Justice Bartow S. Weeks, an Olympic mogul, in clear disbelief. "At least 90 per cent," answered Pat. "Astounding!" said Weeks.

Calling Off the Strike
It was Gustavus Town Kirby, the president of the Olympic Committee, who devised the settlement. As the team rehearsed for the Olympic parade, the official approached Pat, the bearer of the American flag, and frankly sought his advice. "Mr. Kirby," said Pat, "if I get the athletes to sign a petition of reinstatement would you reconsider your action?" That was the precise face-saving the committee needed. Ahearn was returned to the fold when every single member of the team affixed his name to the document and the games went off without a further hitch. Those whales were brawny men with the gay puckish spirits of boys. Most of them are gone now but the colorful pages they wrote in track history will never be forgotten, Pat McDonald's least of all.
New York Times 9 May 1943

Jumper Loses 'E' for Effort
Last Sunday, when Willie Banks became the first American in three-quarters of a century to set a world record in the triple jump, there was some confusion regarding his predecessor, who was identified in a number of news reports as Dan Ahearne. That was almost correct. In fact, had the tapestry of that man's life been woven a little differently, it would have been correct. Instead, the American who established a world mark with a performance of 50 feet 11 inches at New York City's Celtic Park in 1911 was actually named Dan Ahearn — get rid of that final "e" — although by any name he was a pretty good athlete. From 1910 through, 1918 Ahearn, competing mostly for the Illinois Athletic Club, dominated American efforts in the hop, step and jump, as the event was then called. He won all but one national title in those years at the Amateur Athletic Union meet, the forerunner of The Athletics Congress championships, and even that may not be the true measure of his success. Consider instead that his world record stood for 13 years, this in an event whose record had been smashed only 22 times — including seven times in the high altitude of Mexico City — until Banks edged closer to 60 feet with his 58-11½ in Indianapolis on Sunday. Anyway, about that extra "e". Before Ahearn, the best triple jumper in the world was Tim Ahearne of Ireland, the 1908 Olympic champion. Ahearne was Ahearn's brother, and Ahearn went by the name Ahearne until, in the days of hurried Ellis lsland paperwork, he made the hop, step and jump from Limerick and landed in the United States.
New York Times 20 June 1985

Return to The Ahern Family HomePage

This page copyright © 2012-2013 by Dennis Ahern.

visitors have accessed this page since August 5, 2012.
This page was last updated 21 June 2013.