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William Robbins

Full name: William Corbett Robbins
Nickname(s): Yank
Gender: Male
Born: August 9, 1885 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 23, 1963 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Affiliations: I-AAC, Queens (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Athletics


William Robbins was part of the controversial 1908 400 metre final. [John Carpenter] (USA) entered the home straight with [Wyndham Halswelle] (GBR) at his shoulder, but at this point, Carpenter, in order to prevent Halswelle from passing him, moved progressively farther towards the outside of the track, forcing Halswelle to within 18 inches of the outside curb. By this time the British officials had seen enough and Dr. Arthur Roscoe Badger, the judge on the final bend, ran up the track signaling the judges to break the tape. Carpenter crossed the line in an unofficial 48.4, while Halswelle slowed to a jog. After a lengthy inquiry on the evening the race, Carpenter was disqualified and the race was ordered to be re-run two days later, in lanes, but without Carpenter. Robbins and [John Taylor] (USA) refused to compete in the re-race, and Halswelle won the gold medal in a walkover.

Robbins competed for Harvard, but it is unclear why he was chosen for the Olympic Team in 1908. He did not compete in any of the 1908 Regional Olympic Trials and he has no record for Harvard in the IC4As or in the Yale match. After the Olympics, however, Robbins won the Metropolitan AAU 440 yds title in September 1909, and he was part of the Irish-American Athletic Club relay team that broke the world record for the 4x440 yd relay, recording 3:20.6.

Personal Best: 400 – 48.3y (1909).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1908 Summer 22 London Athletics Men's 400 metres United States USA AC r3/3 DQ

Men's 400 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T MB
1908 Summer 22 London Athletics United States Original Final 3
1908 Summer 22 London Athletics United States Semi-Finals Heat Four 1 QU 49.0 49.8/440y
1908 Summer 22 London Athletics United States Round One Heat Seven 1 QU 50.4 won easily
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