The Irish-American Athletic Club of New York

The Rise and Fall of the Winged Fists, 1898-1917

At the turn of the century, Track and Field was the bastion of the rich and privileged. While baseball and prize-fighting attracted the top sportsmen from the lower orders of society, athletic clubs generally filled themselves with the America's top sporting graduates from private colleges and the sons of the rich. Les mer
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At the turn of the century, Track and Field was the bastion of the rich and privileged. While baseball and prize-fighting attracted the top sportsmen from the lower orders of society, athletic clubs generally filled themselves with the America's top sporting graduates from private colleges and the sons of the rich. Except one!

The Irish-American Athletic Club was a New York organization that bucked the trend. Founded by immigrants and their sons, it was populated by immigrants, the sons of immigrants, and not necessarily the sons of Irish immigrants. Jews, African-Americans, Scandinavians, Italians, even a handful of Englishmen joined the club. It would dominate New York and American athletics for over a decade, forcing the renowned New York Athletic Club into perennial second place. It would lay claim to the title of best athletic club in the world following the 1908 Olympic Games. It would break the "color-line". It would bend the rules on amateurism. It would challenge the ban on Sunday entertainments and succumb to the fallout from the First World War, Prohibition and a growing city swallowing up real estate for urban housing, yet endow us some of the greatest myths and legends in American athletics.

This is its story.

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