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William Halpenny

Full name: William Halpenny
Nickname(s): Bill
Gender: Male
Born: May 23, 1882 in [unknown], Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died: February 10, 1960 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Affiliations: ?, Montréal (CAN)
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)

Biography

As a youth, Bill Halpenny was always athletically active in a variety of sports, but it was track and field that most captured his interest. He practiced the high jump, broad jump, hop, step and jump, and hurdles, but his talents were best displayed in the pole vault. He joined the Abegweit Amateur Athletic Association in 1901 after breaking the Maritime pole vaulting record with a jump of 10-1 and, by July of 1904, he held the Canadian national outdoor record in the sport at 11-5. His feats earned him a trip to the 1904 Summer Olympics, where his pole failed to arrive in time for the competition and he was forced to borrow one that was several inches shorter. He competed in the handicap meet, placing fourth with a jump of 11-0, and some sources claim that he competed in the main Olympic event as well, although no contemporary evidence for this has been discovered.

In 1905 Halpenny moved to Montreal and joined the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association at the urging of Frank Lukeman. Although Halpenny and Lukeman defected at one point to the St. Patrick’s Amateur Athletic Association, they soon became Montreal AAA’s most prominent competitors. Nevertheless Halpenny did not qualify for the 1908 Summer Olympics, but put his frustrations to productive use and began to concentrate on mastering his pole vaulting skills. By September he had captured the U.S. National Championship and less than a year later he took the Canadian one. His efforts secured him a spot with the Canadian delegation to the 1912 Summer Olympics, where the tournament’s record would be broken by all of the top seven finishers. Halpenny was one of these top seven, but was seriously injured during one of his jumps and was forced to withdraw after being carried off the field. Noting problems with the landing pit, the Olympic committee awarded him a special bronze medal for his achievements. Whether or not his 1904 appearance is counted, he was Prince Edward Island’s first Olympic competitor, as the next person from the province to attend the Games would be a student of Halpenny’s, Phil MacDonald in 1924.

Halpenny rebounded from his injuries and competed in the Canadian National Championships later that year, defeating 1912 Olympic gold medalist Harry Babcock to claim the title, a feat that he would repeat in 1913. The cancellation of the 1914 competition, due to the onset of World War I, signaled the end of his career as an active competitor, but it was not the end of his association with athletics. After the conflict he was named coach of the Abegweit AAA and served in that capacity for many years. In 1922, now aged forty and not having competed professionally for nearly a decade, he set a new Maritime record in the pole vault by clearing 11-4.

Personal Best: PV – 3.80 (1912).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Men's Pole Vault Canada CAN 3T Bronze OR

Men's Pole Vault

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank H C/F/P
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3T OR 3.80
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.40 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.50 metres 1T xo
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.60 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.65 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.75 metres 1T =OR xo
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.80 metres 1T =OR xo
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Final Round 3.85 metres 3T pass
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round 1T QU 3.65
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round Group A 1T 3.65
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round Group A 3.40 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round Group A 3.50 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round Group A 3.60 metres 1T o
1912 Summer 29 Stockholm Athletics Canada Qualifying Round Group A 3.65 metres 1T o