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105 years later, Australia claims Olympic medals

AUSTRALIA is claiming four new Olympic medals - 105 years after they were awarded to the United States.

The Australian Olympic Committee said in statement today that Francis Gailey, who won four swimming medals at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, was Australian and not American at the time.

Gailey finished second in the 220-, 440- and 880-yard races and third in the one-mile freestyle.

The AOC's official historian Harry Gordon says Gailey was Australian - a student at Brisbane Grammar School and was aged 22 when he swam in the St. Louis Olympics.

He came home to Australia after the Olympics but emigrated to the United States in 1906. He later became a naturalized US citizen and settled in California, where he died in 1972.

Gordon said confirmation of Gailey's identity had come from a group of international historians and statisticians who have been investigating the nationalities of athletes at the 1900 (Paris) and 1904 Olympics.

"Both were badly organized attachments to international trade expositions, or world's fairs," Gordon was quoted as saying in an AOC statement. "The records have always been pretty suspect."

The AOC said Gailey can now be recognized as winning the most individual medals at a single Olympics of any male Australian swimmer. Ian Thorpe won five individual medals at two Games - two at Sydney 2000 and three at Athens 2004.

The committee said Gailey's medals, when credited to Australia, increased the country's total at Summer Games to 449 - 135 gold, 144 silver and 170 bronze.


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