James Emanuel Fuchs
track and field
One of the best throwers in the world in the 1940s and 1950s, Fuchs competed at two Olympiads and won two medals in the shot put. At the 1948 Games, he had the best throw in the qualifying round (52'1") and then broke the Olympic record in the final with a throw of 53'10-1/2". Two other throwers also broke the record and finished ahead of Fuchs, so he was awarded the bronze medal.
Fuchs returned to the Olympics four years later at the 1952 Helsinki Games and made it to the finals by finishing fifth in the qualifying round with a throw of 50'2". In the finals, Fuchs finished third with a throw of 55'11-1/2" and took another bronze medal. Fuchs is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Fuchs was one of the best shot put and discus throwers in the world. An excellent athlete who ran a 9.7 in the 100-yard sprint, Fuchs was ranked in the world's top ten in the shot put between 1948-1954; during that time, he was also ranked in the top ten in the discus, rising to No. 4 in 1950. For a solid two years, he was easily the best shot putter in the world, winning an incredible 88 consecutive meets (he was ranked No. 1 from 1949-1951). In July 1949, Fuchs broke the world record in the shot put. He then proceeded to break his own record three more times in the next 13 months, including twice in the span of three days! When he broke it for the final time in August 1950, Fuchs's distance stood as the world record until May 1953.
Fuchs was also a terrific collegiate athlete. In 1950, while attending Yale, Fuchs broke the school's indoor (57' 7 3/4") and outdoor (58' 5 1/2") records in the shot put -- and still holds both records! Jim was a three-time Ivy League indoor champion in the shot put, breaking the meet record each time: in 1948 (53'3 1/4"), 1949 (56'3 1/2"), and 1950 (56'3 3/4"). Fuchs was both the NCAA and AAU champion in 1949 and 1950; he also won the AAU indoor titleholder in the shot put from 1950-1952 and captured the gold medal in both the shot put and discus at the 1951 Pan American Games.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 6, 1927
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
New York Times, August 4, 1948
New York Times, July 21-August 2, 1952