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Paris 1924


Kinsey pips Atkinson to the post

Kinsey pips Atkinson to the post


There’s something about the sprint hurdles which creates excitement on the biggest stage, and at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris the story was no different.


Whether it be Gail Devers falling at the final hurdle while storming clear at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, or fellow American Lolo Jones doing the same at the penultimate hurdle 14 years later in Beijing, there is always the possibility of high drama in the event.

And so it turned out in Paris.

South African Sydney Atkinson was the favourite, comfortably clocking the fastest time in the eight heats.

Atkinson was a muscular runner who had metronomic timing over the obstacles and he sauntered through his semi-final in a similarly impressive time.

Kinsey meanwhile was a highly proficient hurdler and won the Intercollegiate title in the US before taking his place in the American squad for the trip to France.

He likewise won his heat and semi-final and was expected to be a strong contender for one of the medals.

In the event, Atkinson made an excellent start to the final but Kinsey matched him stride for stride.

It appeared Atkinson was edging ahead in the closing stages but the big South African clipped the final obstacle and Kinsey, in the lane outside him, had sufficient momentum to carry him over the line first.

Kinsey looked as surprised as anyone at his success as he shook Atkinson’s hand before the world’s press. Atkinson righted the wrong four years later however winning the gold medal at the Amsterdam Games.

Discover the best photos of Paris 1924

  • Johnny Weissmuller (USA)

    A part of Hollywood legend for his role as Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller was nonetheless an accomplished swimmer. At the Paris 1924 Games, he won gold in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay. We see him here after his 400m freestyle surrounded by his fellow medal-winners, Sweden’s Arne Borg (2nd, on the right) and the USA’s Andrew Charlton (3rd, on the left)

  • Paavo Nurmi (FIN)

    Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals at the Paris 1924 Games. He won the individual cross country, team cross country, the 1500m, 5000m and the team 3000m events. On 10 July 1924, he won the 1500m before victoriously taking gold, 55 minutes later (!) in the 5000m


  • Winner’s medal Paris 1924

    The reverse of the medal is occupied by the representation of an athlete helping one of his opponents to stand. This motif thus perfectly illustrates the solidarity that we expect from any athletes taking part in the Olympic Games. Besides this, the Olympic rings appear for the first time on a medal (they are visible here on the upper part of the medal)

  • Liddell Chaired

    18th July 1924: Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945), winner of the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics, is paraded around Edinburgh University after his victory. He was known as the 'Flying Scotsman' and was immortalised in the film Chariots of Fire. (Photo by Firmin/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • Liddell Triumphant

    18th July 1924: Scottish athlete Eric Liddell (1902 - 1945) is paraded around Edinburgh University after winning the 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite t

  • Eric Liddell

    Scottish athlete and missionary, Eric Henry Liddell (1902 -1945) being carried round the streets after his Olympic victory. Eric Liddell, known as the 'Flying Scotsman' went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 as the favourite to win the 100 metres race but refused to run because he felt that running on a Sunday conflicted with his Christian beliefs. He won a bronze medal in the 200 metres event instead and then ran the 400 metre race despite having little experience at the distance. He not only won the gold medal but broke the world record by completing the race in 47.6 seconds, an achievement which is celebrated in the 1981 film 'Chariots of Fire'. Liddell gained two degrees, one in science and the other in divinity, before leaving Britain to work as a Scottish Congregational Church missionary in China as his parents had before him. Original Publication: People Disc - HG0205 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)