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Harold M. Abrahams

(1899 - 1978)

At the Paris Olympics of 1924, Harold Abrahams won a gold medal in the 100-Meter dash, equaling the Olympic record of 10.6. (He had also clocked 10.6 in his two qualifying heats.) Abrahams, born in Great Britain, was the first non-American to win the event.

He also won a silver medal at the same Olympic Games leading off the 4x100-Meter Relay, and finished sixth in the 200-Meter event.

Abrahams' Olympic and personal stories were the subject of the Academy Award winning motion picture "Chariots of Fire."

One of Cambridge University's all-time great student athletes (1920-23), Abrahams was selected to the 1920 British Olympic Team. But he couldn't survive the Olympic 100 and 200 meter sprint qualifying heats, had little success in the long jump, and his 4x100-meter relay team finished sixth.

His Cambridge track successes, nonetheless, continued as the 1924 Olympics approached. Hoping to vindicate himself from what he considered his 1920 debacle, Abrahams hired a coach to prepare him for Olympic rigors. It was the first time a British amateur athlete had paid for personal training. The (then) controversial action paid off as Abrahams shattered England's long jump and 100-meter sprint records before tying the Olympic 100-meter mark enroute to his gold medal.

A broken leg (while long jumping) cut short Abrahams' competitive career one year after the l924 Olympiad. Nonetheless, he further distinguished himself as a sports journalist, broadcaster, and leader of Great Britain's amateur sports establishment.

Sources: International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame