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06 Jul 1924
Paris 1924, Athletics, South Africa
Paris 1924

Kinsey pips Atkinson in dramatic hurdles final

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.

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