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Henry Taylor

Full name: Henry Taylor
Gender: Male
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
Weight: 146 lbs (66 kg)
Born: March 17, 1885 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, Great Britain
Died: February 28, 1951 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, Great Britain
Affiliations: Chadderton SC, Chadderton (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 4 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze (8 Total)

Biography

Henry Taylor’s total eight Olympic medals is a record for a British Olympian in any sport and his feat of winning a medal in the same event, the freestyle relay, at four successive Games remains unique in British Olympic history. Born in poor circumstances, Taylor worked in the mills in his native Lancashire and trained in the canals and streams around his work-place. He only used the local swimming baths on “dirty water day” when admission was cheaper. As it happened, this proved to be an admirable preparation for the 1906 Olympics in Athens where the swimming events were held in the open sea at Phalerum Bay. Taylor was the surprise of the games and won two gold medals, although he had yet to win an ASA title. On his return home he set about remedying this omission and by the end of the season he was the British champion at 400 yards, 500 yards, 880 yards and 1 mile. His winning time of 11:25.4 seconds for the 880 yards was recognized as the inaugural world record and he claimed further world records at the 1908 Olympics in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres. In all, Taylor won 15 ASA titles, the last being the long distance event in 1920 when he was 35 years old and still playing water polo for England. Having originally competed for Chadderton SC, he later joined the Hyde Seal Club. He found his lack of formal education a considerable handicap in a variety of ways and while on tour it fell to Jack Jarvis to write Taylor’s love letters home. Taylor pawned his swimming trophies to buy the Nudger Inn at Doleross, but the business venture failed and he never redeemed his prizes. In 1969 Taylor, one of the greatest all British Olympians, was posthumously inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR 2 Silver
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Men's One Mile Freestyle Great Britain GBR 1 Gold
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Men's 4 × 250 metres Freestyle Relay Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR 1 Gold WR
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR 1 Gold WR
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Great Britain GBR 1 Gold WR
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR 5 h2 r2/3
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR AC h1 r2/3 DNF
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR 4 h1 r2/3
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Great Britain GBR AC h1 r1/3 DNF
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Great Britain Final 2 6:26.0
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Final 1 WR 5:36.8
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One 2 QU 5:41.0
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat Six 1 QU/OR 5:42.2
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat Two 5 5:48.2
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat Four 2 QU 5:48.4
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One 4
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat Three 2 QU 6:01.2

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Final 1 WR 22:48.4
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU 22:54.0
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat Six 1 QU/OR 23:24.4
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain Semi-Finals Heat One AC DNF
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat One 3 QC 24:06.4
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Great Britain Round One Heat One AC DNF

Men's One Mile Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Great Britain Final 1 28:28.0

Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain GBR Final 1 WR 10:55.6
1908 Summer 23 London Swimming Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Heat Two 1 QU 10:53.4
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain GBR Final 3 10:28.6
1912 Summer 27 Stockholm Swimming Great Britain GBR Round One Heat One 3 QC 10:39.4
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Great Britain GBR Final 3 10:37.2
1920 Summer 35 Antwerpen Swimming Great Britain GBR Semi-Finals Heat Two 1 QU 10:51.0

Men's 4 × 250 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank
1906 Summer 21 Athina Swimming Great Britain GBR Final 3