AP Was There: 16-year-old American wins 1st women’s 100 dash

National Sports

FILE – In this April 13, 1934, file photo, Betty Robinson of Chicago, who won the 100-meter sprints in the 1928 Olympics, is seen working out on a roof track in New York. (AP Photo/File)

EDITOR’S NOTE — With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was transmitted from Amsterdam during the 1928 Olympics on July 31, the day of the women’s 100-meter dash, when Elizabeth Robinson of the United States became the first female athlete to win a gold medal in any Summer Games track event. The story, a look at all of that day’s track highlights, is reprinted here as it ran in The Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Press, using the contemporary style terminology and including any published errors.

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Hahn Wilts as Lowe tearing from behind humbles entire field

Young barrister’s sensational race features day in which three records are broken

Yankee hopes ebb and flow

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By ALAN J. GOULD

(Associated Press Sports Editor)

OLYMPIC STADIUM, AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND, July 31 (AP) — Douglass G. A. Lowe, young British barrister, retained the Olympic 800-meter crown this afternoon by outclassing a great field, including the American favorite, Lloyd Hahn, and smashing the Olympic record with the most spectacular performance on the third day of the track and field championships.

What was expected to be the most exciting middle-distance struggle in Olympic history with world’s champions and record holders all assembled turned out to be a rout. Lowe, running like a thoroughbred, came from behind in the last 100 meters to beat his nearest rival, while Hahn, after leading almost from the start, staggered home fifth, badly whipped.

HAHN HAS NO EXCUSES

Hahn had no excuses for wilting so badly. He was passed by Herman Engehard of Germany and Phil Edwards of Canada, while the two remaining Americans, Earl Puiler and Ray Watson, were eighth and ninth, respectively, bringing up the rear.

Lowe not only dealt another blow to the apparently groggy American runners, but his time, 1 minute, 51 4-5 seconds, beat by 1-10 second the former Olympic mark set by Ted Meredith in 1912. The Englishman also shattered precedent by winning the Olympic 800-meter for the second time.

In a day mark by the shattering of three world’s records and two Olympic standards, Yankee fortunes again ebbed and flowed. It was not so disastrous as the day before, however, for Hahn’s defeat was offset by a triumph by Ed Hamm in the running broad jump and victory for little Miss Elizabeth Robinson in the women’s 100-meter finals in the world’s record time of 12 1-5 seconds.

HAMM ADDS WORLD CROWN

Hamm wound up the most sensational broad jumping campaign any human kangaroo ever had by adding the world’s championship to his national and world’s record holding honors. His winning leap of 25 feet, four and three-fourth inches displaced the Olympic mark set in 1912 by the American, A. L. Gutterson, and gave the Georgia Tech star possession of all the jumping honors worth mentioning. He out-leaped S. P. Casor, negro rival from Haiti, and his own countryman, Al Bates, who finished third, while the former champion, Dehart Hubbard, failed to reach the finals.

Miss Robinson, the only Yankee to reach the women’s sprint final, beat two Canadians and one German rival, finishing a great closing spurt to beat the Canadian favorite Fanny Rosenfeld by two feet.

It took a world’s record distance throw of 39.62 meters or 129 feet, 11 113-128 inches by a Husky Polish lass, Halina Konopacka, to beat another American feminine star, Lillian Copeland, who finished second with 37.08 meters or 121 feet, 7 111-128 inches.

THIRD WORLD’S RECORD

The third world’s record was clipped by the rangy South African hurdler G. C. Weightman-Smith, who beat the American John Collier, by half a yard as he skimmed the 110 meter high timbers in 14 3-5 seconds. Carl Ring of the United States was fourth in his heat and thus did not qualify. Weightman-Smith’s performance followed the semi-final triumphs by two other Americans, Leighton Dye and Stephen Anderson, each equaling the former world’s record of 14 4-5 seconds made by Earl Thompson in 1920.

American sprinters suffered a fresh setback in the 200 meter trials when Charley Borah was nosed out for the second qualifying place by Percy Williams, the Canadian youth who won the 100 meter race yesterday. Helmut Koernig, German ace, captured this heat, equaling the Olympic record of 21 3-5 seconds.

The other three Americans each came through two heats easily to qualify for the semi-finals tomorrow. Jackson Scholz, the defending champion, and Charley Paddock won their second trials in similar time of 21 4-5, while Henry Cumming placed second to the German Jacob Schuller in 22 flat in the second heat.

The 5,000 meter trials, determining 12 competitors for the finals Friday, gave two young Boston A. A. stars, Leo Lermond and Macauley Smith, the chance to shine. Lermond won the first heat in the day’s best time, 15 minutes, 2 3-5 seconds.

Smith had the moral satisfaction of leading the great Paavo Nurmi at least for a day.

The American, running third most of the way behind Edvin Wide of Sweden, rushed out in the final lap to win by a big margin. The Scandinavians did not chase him, being satisfied to qualify.

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Source: Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved by AP researcher Francesca Pitaro.

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