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100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Bud Houser, track and field

Clarence Bud Houser 1924 Olympics.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-27 09:00:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three-time Olympic gold medalist Lemuel Clarence “Bud” Houser is one of only two men to win the shot put and discus at the same Olympics.

Houser was born in the north-central Missouri town of Winngan in 1901, but moved to California in 1911 after his parents died.

He set an Olympic record in the discus with a throw of 151 feet, 4 inches then led a U.S. sweep of the top three spots in the shot put at the 1924 Paris Games.

Bud Houser.jpg
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Lemuel Clarence “Bud” Houser is one of two men to win the shot put and discus at the same Olympics (1924). Houser, who was born in north-central Missouri in 1901 and moved to California in 1911 after his parents died, repeated as the Olympic discus champion in 1928.

Two years later, Houser set a world record in the discus (158-1 3/4) and won an NCAA title in the event.

It was around that time he helped revolutionize the sport in the U.S., adopting the speed rotation technique pioneered in Europe while competing at the University of Southern California.

Houser also won five AAU national titles, including a shot put championship in 1921 while still in high school in Oxnard, California, where he won six state titles — setting a state record each time — in the shot put and discus.

Houser added three AAU titles in the discus (1925, 1926 and 1928) and another in the shot put (1925) while studying dentistry at USC.

He later practiced in Hollywood and Palm Springs, California.

Houser returned to the Olympics at the 1928 Amsterdam Games, repeating as the champion in the discus with another Olympic record (155-3).

He is one of four men to repeat as Olympic discus champion, a list that includes countrymen Martin Sheridan and Al Oerter along with Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna.

U.S. thrower Robert Garrett, who won the discus and shot put at the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens, is the only other man to pull off the double gold.

Houser served as the U.S. flagbearer at the 1928 Opening Ceremonies.

He was inducted in the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1979 and was an inaugural member of the Ventura County (California) Hall of Fame in 1993.

Oxnard High School named its stadium in Houser’s honor.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.

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