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Paris 1924

Morgan Taylor surges to 400m hurdle glory

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.

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