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Athletics at the 1920 Antwerpen Summer Games

1920 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Antwerpen, Belgium
Date Started: August 15, 1920
Date Finished: August 23, 1920
Events: 29

Participants: 509 (509 men and 0 women) from 25 countries
Youngest Participant: ESP Diego Ordóñez (16 years, 283 days)
Oldest Participant: USA Matt McGrath (44 years, 234 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): FIN Paavo Nurmi and SWE Eric Backman (4 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (29 medals)


Track & field athletics was the most highly awaited sport on the Olympic program. It was contested in the Stadium of the Royal Beerschot Athletic Club, usually known as the Beerschot Stadium. The stadium could hold approximately 29,500 people. The track was slightly under 389.80 metres in length and was wet and soft throughout the Olympics, leading to rather poor times.

The competition in Antwerp was still quite good in track & field. Among Olympic competition, only Stockholm rivalled it and it was now becoming apparent that the Olympics were attracting a truly international field. Track & field had been contested at the 1919 Inter-Allied Championships, and national championships had been held in 1919 and 1920 in both the United States and Great Britain. Still, because of the dearth of recent competition, due to World War I, it was difficult to choose favorites in many of the events.

In general, times were never published in 1920, and possibly not taken, for the non-winners. Later sources have often listed times for the non-winners, but these are almost certainly estimates. We have not used them. Rather, we have listed margins between places, based on contemporary 1920 newspaper reports. We have then derived our own estimates, based on these margins and the average speed of the races.


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres USA Charley Paddock USA Morris Kirksey GBR Harry Edward
Men's 200 metres USA Allen Woodring USA Charley Paddock GBR Harry Edward
Men's 400 metres RSA Bevil Rudd GBR Guy Butler SWE Nils Engdahl
Men's 800 metres GBR Albert Hill USA Earl Eby RSA Bevil Rudd
Men's 1,500 metres GBR Albert Hill GBR Philip Baker USA Larry Shields
Men's 5,000 metres FRA Joseph Guillemot FIN Paavo Nurmi SWE Eric Backman
Men's 10,000 metres FIN Paavo Nurmi FRA Joseph Guillemot GBR James Wilson
Men's Marathon FIN Hannes Kolehmainen EST Jüri Lossman ITA Valerio Arri
Men's 110 metres Hurdles CAN Tommy Thomson USA Hal Barron USA Fred Murray
Men's 400 metres Hurdles USA Frank Loomis USA John Norton USA Gus Desch
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase GBR Percy Hodge USA Pat Flynn ITA Ernesto Ambrosini
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States FRA France SWE Sweden
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay GBR Great Britain RSA South Africa FRA France
Men's 3,000 metres, Team USA United States GBR Great Britain SWE Sweden
Men's 3,000 metres Walk ITA Ugo Frigerio AUS George Parker USA Richard Remer
Men's 10 kilometres Walk ITA Ugo Frigerio USA Joe Pearman GBR Charlie Gunn
Men's Cross-Country, Individual FIN Paavo Nurmi SWE Eric Backman FIN Heikki Liimatainen
Men's Cross-Country, Team FIN Finland GBR Great Britain SWE Sweden
Men's High Jump USA Dick Landon USA Harold Muller SWE Bo Ekelund
Men's Pole Vault USA Frank Foss DEN Henry Petersen USA Ed Myers
Men's Long Jump SWE William Petersson USA Carl Johnson SWE Erik Abrahamsson
Men's Triple Jump FIN Ville Tuulos SWE Folke Jansson SWE Erik Almlöf
Men's Shot Put FIN Ville Pörhölä FIN Elmer Niklander USA Harry Liversedge
Men's 56-pound Weight Throw USA Pat McDonald USA Paddy Ryan SWE Carl Johan Lind
Men's Discus Throw FIN Elmer Niklander FIN Armas Taipale USA Gus Pope
Men's Hammer Throw USA Paddy Ryan SWE Carl Johan Lind USA Basil Bennett
Men's Javelin Throw FIN Jonni Myyrä FIN Urho Peltonen FIN Paavo Johansson
Men's Pentathlon FIN Eero Lehtonen USA Everett Bradley FIN Hugo Lahtinen
Men's Decathlon NOR Helge Løvland USA Brutus Hamilton SWE Bertil Ohlson