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Billy Sherring (William John Sherring; September 18, 1877 – September 5, 1964) was an Irish Canadian athlete, winner of the marathon race at the 1906 Intercalated Games (or 1906 Olympic Games, as they were at the time considered to be).

In the early 1900s (decade), Billy Sherring from Hamilton, Ontario[1] was acknowledged to be a world class marathoner. He had won a second place behind a fellow countryman Jack Caffery at the Boston Marathon in 1900. He also had won the Hamilton Around the Bay Road Race on two occasions.

In 1906, Sherring – an athlete of St. Patrick's Athletic Club – was chosen to represent Canada in the Athens Olympic Games. However, it was left up to him, a working man with meager resources (he was a brakeman at the Grand Trunk Railway), to finance his journey to Athens. Sherring managed to collect an amount claimed to be between $45 and $90 (a clearly insufficient amount to travel to Athens), which he then bet on a horse named Cicely which won with good odds. He arrived to Athens seven weeks before the Olympic Games and started to work as a porter at the Athens railway station.

At the marathon race, the 45 kg (99 lb) Sherring led almost all the distance. Prince George of Greece[2] ran the last 50 metres of the marathon alongside Sherring. Sherring received a live lamb and a statue of Athena as a reward. When he returned to Canada, Hamilton City Council awarded him $5000 and the City of Toronto awarded him a further $400.

File:William J. Sherring, plaque in Hamilton.jpg
Upon his triumphant return from the Marathon, Sherring quit athletics and worked as a Customs Officer in Hamilton until his retirement in 1942.

After his death, his original claim-to-fame, the Around the Bay Road Race was renamed to the Billy Sherring Memorial Road Race, and Hamilton has since built a Billy Sherring Park to commemorate their most famous athlete.

Sherring is thought to have inspired the founders of Panathinaikos to adopt the shamrock as the Greek multi-sport club's official emblem.


External links

References

  1. "Tigertown Triumphs" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator-Memory Project (Souvenir Edition). 2006-06-10. p. MP56. 
  2. The Olympic games at Athens, 1906 by James E. Sullivan, American commissioner to the Olympic games. Published 1906.


Olympic Champions in Men's Marathon
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