100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Emerson Norton, decathlon

Emerson Norton.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 09:00:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Emerson Norton was on track to win a gold medal with only two events left in the decathlon at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Poor performances in the javelin and 1,500 meters ended Norton’s championship hopes, but the Kansas City, Kansas, native held on for a silver medal.

U.S. teammate, Harold Osborn, blew past Norton to win gold during the final two events, but Norton set two Olympic decathlon records during the event.

He cleared 6 feet, 3 1/2 inches in the high jump, a mark that Osborn eclipsed later that day, but Norton’s mark of 12-5 1/2 in the pole vault would stand as the Olympic decathlon record until 1932.

The high jump was his best event, including a pair of national titles in the event and two other top-three finishes.

Norton went on to be a lawyer in the military.

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 is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.