Olympic Gold Medalist
Morris "Bud" Fisher... born in Youngstown, OH on May 4, 1890... Violinist, Marksman, and Author of two books... earned five Olympic Gold medals... one of only 13 shooters to win two individual Olympic gold medals in the shooting sports... set a new world record in the Individual Free Rifle competition earning him the title of World Champion... charter member of The United States International Shooters Hall of Fame... May 23, 1968 passed away at Tripler Army Hospital.
Born in Youngstown, OH on May 4, 1890, international fame as a rifleman did not seem the fate of the 21-year-old Marine Corps recruit. If it were not for the observant eye of his company commander, the violin playing Morris "Bud" Fisher might have ended up merely as a competent member of the string section of the Marine Corps Band, 'The President's Own', rather than the world renowned marksman he became. Fortunately, the company commander noted a certain tenacity of spirit and aptitude in the broad chested, bull necked recruit who committed the unforgivable Marine sin: he had failed to qualify with his rifle.
With encouragement from the officer, Fisher applied himself and became an acolyte of the rifle. Fisher not only qualified at last, but also earned a berth on the 1912 Marine Rifle Team. Fisher became a mainstay of the team and three years later, he was able to pin the coveted Distinguished Rifleman Badge.
When the United States was drawn into World War One the Marine Corps deployed to France. Fisher sailed for Europe in September 1918 as a member of the Thirteenth Marine Regiment, part of the Fifth Brigade, and served under General Smedley Butler.
After hostilities ceased on November 11, 1918, shooting took on a recreational tone. Fisher competed in numerous competitions overseas, to include the 1919 Inter-Allied Championships in La Mans, France and the Inter-Allied rifle tournament held at Paris.
In 1920, Fisher qualified for the U.S. Rifle Team and competed in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Fisher performance earned him gold medals in the Free Rifle Teams; Free Rifle, three Positions; and the Military Rifle, Prone, Teams, 300m. The performance of the U.S. Shooting team was so dominant; it would take over 40 years for the U.S. to see such dominance again.
After the 1920 Games, Fisher competed in the 1921 and 1922 International Shooting Championships in Lyon, France and Milan, Italy; leading the United States to gold in the Free Rifle Team competition both years. During the 1923 International Championships at Camp Perry, OH, Fisher led the U.S. Rifle team to another championship crown, defeating the Swiss. Fisher set a new world record in the Individual Free Rifle competition earning him the title of World Champion.
In 1924, Fisher led the U.S. team to another World Championship and repeated as the World Free Rifle Champion.
During the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Fisher became the first two-time Olympic champion in the Free Rifle, 3 Positions. This feat would remain unduplicated for 44 years until Gary Anderson would win his second gold in 300 meters in 1968 at the Mexico City games. Fisher anchored the U.S. Free Rifle Team and earned the Olympic gold, giving Fisher his fifth Olympic gold medal.
It is easy to conceive of Fisher collecting several more Olympic gold medals, for he was an excellent shooter through the mid 1930s. The 1928 Olympic Games did not include shooting events, and the only rifle events at the 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin Games were 50-meter small-bore prone matches, which were not Fisher's specialty. Fisher's amazing Olympic career ended while he was at the peak of his power, not because of lack of skill, but rather because of lack of matches.
Fisher would continue to be a big gun on the Marine team. Fisher returned to Antwerp and won the 1930 300 Meter Free Rifle World Championship. In 1931, Fisher earned the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge in and the International Distinguished Shooter's Badge. Fisher left active duty in November 1933 and entered the inactive reserves until his retirement as a Sergeant Major in June 1941.
By the close of his active career with the Marines Fisher would find himself living in New York City working at J.P. Morgan Bank. A versatile man, he was skilled with firearm, violin and pen, writing two books on shooting, Mastering the Rifle and Mastering the Pistol, both published in 1940.
Three months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Fisher returned to active duty in March 1942 and ordered to Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, SC. In November 1942, Fisher was promoted to Warrant Officer and advanced to Chief Warrant Officer in October 1943. During his time at Parris Island, Fisher served as a ranger officer and then Officer in Charge of the Small Bore Range and Coaches School. In July 1945, Fisher transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA until his second retirement in September 1946.
Fisher settled in La Jolla, California and later relocated to Honolulu, HI. On May 23, 1968 passed away at Tripler Army Hospital. In 1991, The United States International Shooters Hall of Fame was established and included Fisher as a charter member. Fisher is one of only 13 shooters have won two individual Olympic gold medals in the shooting sports. European shooters continue to recognize this great United States shooter by simply describing a shot in the center of the ten ring as a 'Fisher Ten'.