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Morgan Taylor steals Parisien limelight in hurdles

Morgan Taylor steals Parisien limelight in hurdles

09/07/1924

Given American dominance in the 400m hurdles over the years, it’s hard to believe the event was run so rarely in the 1920s. The ultimate test of sprinting endurance and perfectly timed stride patterns was only held at national collegiate level in the US during Olympic years.

Yet in 1924, Frederick Morgan Taylor began his bid for the 1924 Olympic Games gold medal in Paris with in emphatic style at the United States trials.

He set new world records on consecutive days at Cambridge, Massachusetts, running 53 seconds exactly in his semi-final before shaving off four tenths of a second the next day as he strode to victory in the final.

Morgan Taylor and team-mate Charlie Brookins were considered the two best hurdlers in the field, and they both passed through the qualifying races.

Brookins edged out Morgan Taylor in the semi-final in a time of 54.6 secs, almost two seconds faster than the winner of the second semi-final, another American Ivan Riley.

In the final, Morgan Taylor surged clear and matched his record time set at the trials but it was not allowed to stand as a world record as he had knocked over a hurdle in the process.

Brookins finished second but he suffered a more severe legal punishment when he ran out of lane and was disqualified, handing the silver medal to the Finn Erik Vilen.

Although Morgan Taylor barely ran 30 races over the distance during his entire career, he added bronze medals at Amsterdam in 1928 and in Los Angeles in 1932.

Morgan Taylor again set a new world record prior to the Los Angeles Games, but was undone in the final by a superb run from Irishman Bob Tisdall.

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)
    ©IOC

  • 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

    ©IOC

  • 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)
    ©IOC

  • 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)

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