Alvin Kraenzlein was arguably the most successful of Penn’s countless track greats, who set nine intercollegiate and Olympic records, invented modern track methods, and was a notable coach as well.  Kraenzlein’s greatest moment came at the 1900 Paris Olympics, where he became the first male athlete ever to win four Olympic gold medals.  Kraenzlein won the 200-meter and 100-meter hurdles as well as the 60-meter dash and the broad jump.


Competing on the collegiate level, Kraenzlein set the world record for long jump in 1899 and the year before, he set world records in the 120-yard high-hurdles and 220-yard low-hurdles, a record that lasted more than a quarter of a century.  He was named All-American seven times: three times each for the high-and low-hurdles and once for the long jump.  His skills led to his induction into the National Track Hall of Fame.


Kraenzlein is credited with inventing the current hurdling method of leading with a straight leg.


Upon graduation, Kraenzlein coached winning programs at Mercersberg Academy and the University of Michigan.  He was hired by Germany to coach its Olympic team for five years, but World War I cut short that contract.