skip to content
BURGHLEY David George
BURGHLEY David George

David George BURGHLEY

  • G 1
  • S 1
  • B 0

Lord of the Hurdles

Lord David George Brownlow Cecil Burghley was one of the most popular winners of the 1928 Games. Heir to the Marquess of Exeter, he first appeared in the Olympics in 1924, when he was eliminated in the first round of the 110m hurdles.

In 1927, during his last year at Cambridge, he caused a sensation by running around the Great Court at Trinity College in the time it took the Trinity Clock to toll 12 o'clock. A completely distorted version of this event was presented in the film Chariots of Fire, in which the feat is credited to Harold Abrahams. For this reason, Lord Burghley, who was then 76 years old, reportedly refused to view the film.

At the 1928 Olympics, Burghley won the 400m hurdles. Burghley was an extremely colorful character, who once set another unusual record by racing around the upper promenade deck of the ocean liner Queen Mary in 57 seconds, dressed in street clothes. He is believed to be the first hurdler to place matchboxes on hurdles and practice knocking over the matchboxes with his lead foot without touching the hurdle.

Burghley was elected to Parliament in 1931, but was granted a leave of absence to compete in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, where he placed fourth in the 400m hurdles. He later served as president of the British Amateur Athletic Association for 40 years, president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation for 30 years and as a member of the International Olympic Committee for 48 years. He was also chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 1948 Olympics.



Image Alt Text


Helsinki 1952-Lord BURGHLEY (IOC GBR) with MOORE Charles (USA) 1st, and on the left HOLLAND John (NZL) 3rd.
Image Alt Text


Berlin 1936-TOWNS Forrest G. (USA), Lord BURGHLEY, CIOGBR, VALLA Trebisonda (ITA)

Amsterdam 1928 - Burghley David

Amsterdam 1928 - Burghley David

David Burghley Wins 400m Hurdles Gold by a Fingernail

At the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, David Burghley of Great Britain captures the 400m hurdles Olympic title by two tenths of a second. Burghley finishes first in 53.4 seconds, setting a new Olympic record. American Frank Cuhel crosses the finish line in 53.6, settling for the silver medal. Morgan Taylor of USA earns the bronze medal. Athletics 400m Hurdles Men's Final - Amsterdam 1928 Summer Olympics - David Burghley (GBR), Frank Cuhel (USA), Morgan Taylor (USA)
Image Alt Text

Leaping Lord

Lord David George Brownlow Cecil (1905 -1981), 6th Marquess of Exeter (centre) on his way to winning the Men's 400-Metre Hurdles and equalling the Olympic record of 53.4 seconds, at the Amsterdam games, 1928. For the race, Lord Burghley's mother had provided him with silk shorts to prevent chafing of the legs. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


back to top Fr