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Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 13, 1908
Date Finished: July 25, 1908
Events: 26

Participants: 431 (431 men and 0 women) from 20 countries
Youngest Participant: BEL Victor Jacquemin (16 years, 130 days)
Oldest Participant: USA John Flanagan (40 years, 170 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): USA Mel Sheppard and USA Martin Sheridan (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (34 medals)


For the first time virtually all the world's best track & field athletes competed at the Olympic Games and 430 athletes from 21 countries took part. The United States won 16 gold medals, Great Britain and her Dominions won 9, and the only other country to win a gold medal was Sweden for whom Eric Lemming won both styles of the javelin.

Stringent qualifying conditions applied and for events up to 1,500 metres and both hurdle races only the winners advanced to the next round. This "sudden death" qualifying system produced some inconsistent results and in a number of cases athletes who would have been comfortable winners of other heats were eliminated. Certainly a system whereby a limited number of fastest losers advanced to the next rounds would have been preferable.

There is no evidence that all the marks in the qualifying round of the throwing events were actually measured. It seems likely that, if it was obviously apparent that a competitor had a better earlier mark, the officials did not bother to measure any subsequent inferior marks. Performances in the field events were measured in both the Imperial and Metric System.

The track was 1/3rd of a mile in circumference - 586 yards, 2 feet (536.45 metres). It was within the huge White City Stadium and was surrounded by the 660-yard cycle track, but surrounded the infield which contained the swimming pool, the area for the field events, wrestling, gymnastics, archery, and football (soccer) matches.


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres RSA Reggie Walker USA James Rector CAN Bobby Kerr
Men's 200 metres CAN Bobby Kerr USA Bobby Cloughen USA Nate Cartmell
Men's 400 metres GBR Wyndham Halswelle
Men's 800 metres USA Mel Sheppard ITA Emilio Lunghi GER Hanns Braun
Men's 1,500 metres USA Mel Sheppard GBR Harold Wilson GBR Norman Hallows
Men's 5 mile GBR Emil Voigt GBR Eddie Owen SWE John Svanberg
Men's Marathon USA Johnny Hayes RSA Charles Hefferon USA Joe Forshaw
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Forrest Smithson USA Johnny Garrels USA Art Shaw
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Charles Bacon USA Harry Hillman GBR Jimmy Tremeer
Men's 3,200 metres Steeplechase GBR Arthur Russell GBR Arthur Robertson USA John Eisele
Men's 1,600 metres Medley Relay USA United States GER Germany HUN Hungary
Men's 3 mile, Team GBR Great Britain USA United States FRA France
Men's 3,500 metres Walk GBR George Larner GBR Ernie Webb ANZ Harry Kerr
Men's 10 mile Walk GBR George Larner GBR Ernie Webb GBR Edward Spencer
Men's High Jump USA Harry Porter FRA Géo André
GBR Con Leahy
HUN István Somodi
Men's Standing High Jump USA Ray Ewry GRE Kostas Tsiklitiras
USA John Biller
Men's Pole Vault USA Ed Cook
USA A. C. Gilbert
CAN Ed Archibald
SWE Bruno Söderström
USA Clare Jacobs
Men's Long Jump USA Frank Irons USA Dan Kelly CAN Cal Bricker
Men's Standing Long Jump USA Ray Ewry GRE Kostas Tsiklitiras USA Martin Sheridan
Men's Triple Jump GBR Tim Ahearne CAN Garfield MacDonald NOR Edvard Larsen
Men's Shot Put USA Ralph Rose GBR Denis Horgan USA Johnny Garrels
Men's Discus Throw USA Martin Sheridan USA Merritt Giffin USA Bill Horr
Men's Discus Throw, Greek Style USA Martin Sheridan USA Bill Horr FIN Verner Järvinen
Men's Hammer Throw USA John Flanagan USA Matt McGrath CAN Con Walsh
Men's Javelin Throw SWE Eric Lemming NOR Arne Halse SWE Otto Nilsson
Men's Javelin Throw, Freestyle SWE Eric Lemming GRE Mikhail Dorizas NOR Arne Halse