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Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games:

Men's 110 metres Hurdles

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): White City Stadium, London
Date Started: July 21, 1908
Date Finished: July 25, 1908

Gold: USA Forrest Smithson
Silver: USA Johnny Garrels
Bronze: USA Art Shaw


The Olympic record was 15.4, set by [Al Kraenzlein] in Paris in 1900. The world record was 15.2, co-held by America's [Johnny Garrells] and [Art Shaw]. The Americans were the top hurdlers in the world, and it is instructive to look at the winners of their recent major meets. [Forrest Smithson] had won the 1907 AAU title, while in 1908, Art Shaw won that event. At the 1908 American Olympic Trial Meets, four different hurdlers won: Smithson (Western), Garrells (Central), Shaw (IC4A), and [Leonard Howe] of Yale (Eastern). Garrells had also won the IC4A crown in 1907.

This race was not run on the cinder track but on a grass track in the infield of the White City Stadium. Fourteen heats resulted in the elimination of only 11 competitors. In the second round, Forrest Smithson equalled the Olympic record and then set a world record of 15.0 in the final. The four American finalists were undoubtedly the best in the field but, surprisingly, they had never raced against each other before.

A well-known photograph suggests that Smithson won the final carrying a Bible in his left hand, and this false rumor has been oft repeated. But this was, in fact, a posed photograph taken to support Smithson's protest against Sunday competition. Precisely to whom this protest was directed is not clear. The Olympic final was held on a Saturday, and Sunday competition was virtually unknown in England at the time. Smithson was a devoutly religious man and, after winning the 1909 AAU hurdles title, he became a minister.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Forrest Smithson 23 United States USA Gold WR
2 Johnny Garrels 22 United States USA Silver
3 Art Shaw 21 United States USA Bronze
4 William Rand 22 United States USA
2 h1 r2/3 Eric Hussey 23 Great Britain GBR
2 h2 r2/3 William Knyvett 25 Great Britain GBR
2 h3 r2/3 Alfred Healey 28 Great Britain GBR
2 h4 r2/3 Cecil Kinahan 29 Great Britain GBR
3 h1 r2/3 Wallis Walters 30 Great Britain GBR
3 h2 r2/3 Leonard Howe 21 United States USA
3 h3 r2/3 Laurence Kiely Great Britain GBR
4 h1 r2/3 Oswald Groenings 27 Great Britain GBR
4 h3 r2/3 Tim Ahearne 22 Great Britain GBR
1 h8 r1/3 Fernand Halbart Belgium BEL
2 h1 r1/3 Henry Murray 22 Australasia ANZ
2 h2 r1/3 Arthur Halligan 21 Great Britain GBR
2 h3 r1/3 Georgios Skoutaridis Greece GRE
2 h5 r1/3 Kenneth Powell 23 Great Britain GBR
2 h10r1/3 Nándor Kovács 26 Hungary HUN
2 h12r1/3 Oscar Guttormsen 24 Norway NOR
2 h13r1/3 Edward Leader 25 Great Britain GBR
3 h1 r1/3 Doug Stupart 26 South Africa RSA
3 h5 r1/3 Ted Savage 21 Canada CAN
AC h6 r1/3 Oscar Lemming 21 Sweden SWE
AC h11r1/3 Wilhelm Blystad 26 Norway NOR