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Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres

Athletics at the 1908 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): White City Stadium, London
Date Started: July 20, 1908
Date Finished: July 22, 1908

Gold: RSA Reggie Walker
Silver: USA James Rector
Bronze: CAN Bobby Kerr

Summary

The top British sprinter of the era was Jack Morton, who had won the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) championships four years consecutively, 1904-07, but he failed to make the Olympic final, finishing third and last in his semi-final. There was no dominant American sprinter, as since Bernie Wefers had won three straight titles in 1895-1897, 12 different sprinters had claimed the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championship. South Africa sent two good sprinters, Eddie Duffy and the 1907 South African champion, Reggie Walker.

The Olympic record was 10.8, having been set in 1900 by Frank Jarvis (USA) and Walter Tewksbury (USA). The world mark was 10.6, set in 1906 by Sweden's Kurt Lindberg. Though Lindberg competed in this event, he failed to get by the first round, finishing second in heat eight to Lester Stevens (USA).

James Rector (USA) and Reggie Walker both equalled the Olympic record, Rector doing it in both rounds. Walker's record-equalling run came in the final when he beat Rector by one yard. At 19 years, 128 days, he set a record, which still stands, of being the youngest ever winner of the Olympic 100 metres.

It is often stated that Walker was not actually a member of the South African team in 1908, but travelled to London on his own. South African Olympic historian Lappe Laubscher has shown that this is not the case and that he was chosen for the team at the first opportunity. He notes that Walker was recommended for the team on 1 May 1908 at a meeting of the South African Amateur Athletic and Cycling Union, but he initially could not make the trip because of a lack of funds. Walker was a native of Natal and Jim Wallace, a Natal sportswriter, started a campaign to raise funds for Walker's trip, which was successful.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Reggie Walker 19 South Africa RSA Gold
2 James Rector 23 United States USA Silver
3 Bobby Kerr 25 Canada CAN Bronze
4 Nate Cartmell 25 United States USA
2 h1 r2/3 Willie May 21 United States USA
2 h2 r2/3 Nate Sherman 20 United States USA
2 h3 r2/3 Harry Huff 27 United States USA
2 h4 r2/3 Lawson Robertson 24 United States USA
3 h1 r2/3 Patrick Roche Great Britain GBR
3 h2 r2/3 Jack Morton 29 Great Britain GBR
3 h3 r2/3 Eddie Duffy 24 South Africa RSA
3 h4 r2/3 James Stark 23 Great Britain GBR
4 h1 r2/3 Lester Stevens 24 United States USA
4 h3 r2/3 Robert Duncan 20 Great Britain GBR
4 h4 r2/3 Jack George 26 Great Britain GBR
1 h5 r1/3 Bobby Cloughen 19 United States USA
1 h11r1/3 Bill Hamilton United States USA
2 h1 r1/3 Georgios Skoutaridis Greece GRE
2 h2 r1/3 Oscar Guttormsen 24 Norway NOR
2 h3 r1/3 Géo Malfait 29 France FRA
2 h4 r1/3 Jean Konings 22 Belgium BEL
2 h5 r1/3 John Johansen 25 Norway NOR
2 h6 r1/3 Victor Jacquemin 16 Belgium BEL
2 h7 r1/3 Knut Stenborg 18 Sweden SWE
2 h8 r1/3 Knut Lindberg 26 Sweden SWE
2 h9 r1/3 Axel Johannes Petersen 27 Denmark DEN
2 h10r1/3 M. Chapman Great Britain GBR
2 h11r1/3 Pál Simon 16 Hungary HUN
2 h12r1/3 Henry Pankhurst Great Britain GBR
2 h13r1/3 Frank Lukeman 22 Canada CAN
2 h14r1/3 Lou Sebert 21 Canada CAN
2 h15r1/3 Vilmos Rácz 19 Hungary HUN
2 h16r1/3 Gaspare Torretta Italy ITA
2 h17r1/3 Karl Bechler 22 Germany GER
3 h1 r1/3 Victor Henny 20 Netherlands NED
3 h3 r1/3 Arthur Hoffmann 20 Germany GER
3 h4 r1/3 Denis Murray Great Britain GBR
3 h5 r1/3 Dave Beland 21 Canada CAN
3 h6 r1/3 L. Lescat France FRA
3 h7 r1/3 Hans Eicke 23 Germany GER
3 h8 r1/3 Heinrich Rehder 21 Germany GER
3 h9 r1/3 Jacobus Hoogveld 23 Netherlands NED
3 h11r1/3 G. Lamotte France FRA
3 h12r1/3 Karl Fryksdahl 22 Sweden SWE
3 h13r1/3 Henri Meslot 23 France FRA
3 h14r1/3 Harry Watson Great Britain GBR
3 h15r1/3 Willy Kohlmey 26 Germany GER
4 h3 r1/3 Evert Koops 23 Netherlands NED
4 h6 r1/3 Mikhail Paskhalidis Greece GRE
4 h7 r1/3 Umberto Barozzi 26 Italy ITA
4 h8 r1/3 William Murray Great Britain GBR
4 h11r1/3 Bertie Phillips 24 South Africa RSA
4 h13r1/3 Edi Schönecker 23 Austria AUT
4 h14r1/3 Frigyes Wiesner-Mezei 20 Hungary HUN
5 h7 r1/3 Ragnar Stenberg 20 Finland FIN
5 h14r1/3 Hermann von Bönninghausen 19 Germany GER
AC h4 r1/3 Ernestus Greven 22 Netherlands NED
AC h4 r1/3 Edgar Kiralfy 23 United States USA
AC h5 r1/3 Henry Harmer 24 Great Britain GBR
AC h10r1/3 Paul Fischer Germany GER