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Harold Whitlock

Full name: Hector Harold Whitlock
Gender: Male
Born: December 16, 1903 in Hendon, Greater London, Great Britain
Died: December 27, 1985 in Wicklewood, Norfolk, Great Britain
Affiliations: Metropolitan WC, London (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Athletics

Related Olympians: Brother of Rex Whitlock.

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


After finishing second in the RWA 50 km. championship in 1931, Harold Whitlock won the title in 1933. He was champion again in 1935 and with victories in each of the next four years up to the outbreak of war, he won a total of six championships. Whitlock traded wins with [Tommy Green], the 1932 Olympic champion, in many of the classic road race of the thirties but as he was ten years Green's junior, Whitlock inevitably got the upper hand as the years passed. In 1934 he won the first of four successive London-to-Brighton races and in 1935 he became the first man to complete the course in under eight hours. His winning time of 4-30:38 in the 1936 RWA 50km championship ultimately proved to be the fastest of his career and established him as one of the favorites for the Olympic title.

Like the other British walkers in Berlin, Whitlock suffered from a severe bout of sickness during the race but he overcame the handicap and retained the Olympic title for Britain by a comfortable margin. Two years later, he completed a magnificent double by winning the 1938 European title in Paris. In the immediate post-war years, he only competed intermittently, but his younger brother Rex upheld the family tradition with his selection for the 1948 Olympics. In 1952, Harold made a serious comeback and after finishing third in the RWA 50 km. he made a second Olympic appearance in Helsinki, aged 48 years 218 days; he still holds the record of being Britain's oldest ever international athlete. In Helsinki, he finished 11th, a creditable performance in a field of 31, but his brother [Rex Whitlock] did even better, finishing fourth.

Harold Whitlock, a tall stylish walker who was a member of the Metropolitan Walking Club, worked as a motor mechanic and as he had a special aptitude for tuning racing cars he was often called upon to assist with record attempts at the old Brooklands circuit. A highly respected coach and judge in his later years, he officiated at the 1960 Olympics in Rome when his star pupil, [Don Thompson], won the gold medal. In 1966, Whitlock was awarded the MBE for his services to the sport.

Personal Best: 50kmW – 4-30:38.0 (1936).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1936 Summer 32 Berlin Athletics Men's 50 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR 1 Gold OB
1952 Summer 48 Helsinki Athletics Men's 50 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR 11

Men's 50 kilometres Walk

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1936 Summer 32 Berlin Athletics Great Britain Final Standings 1 OB 4-30:41.4
1952 Summer 48 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain Final Standings 11 4-45:12.6
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