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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All-Time Top Tens -- Men's 800 meters

Fourth in a continuing series.

#10. Joaquim Cruz, Brazil
#9. Mel Sheppard, USA
#8. Alberto Juantorena, Cuba

#7. Ted Meredith, USA
Born November 11, 1891, Chester Heights, Pennsylvania
Died November 2, 1957, Camden New Jersey

Meredith is probably best known as one of the youngest Olympic champions ever in track & field. He was set to enter the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1912 and over the summer he merely won Olympic gold in Stockholm while setting a world record. Some sources say he was still in high school while achieving this, but he'd graduated more than a year earlier and then enrolled at the prestigious Mercersburg Academy prep school.

In 1912, he won little of any import besides the Eastern Olympic trials and the Olympics; that year alone would not put him in the top ten of all time. The next two years wouldn't have helped his case, either. But the 1915 and 1916 seasons do, as he was undoubtedly the world's best half-miler in each of those seasons. While much of the rest of the athletic world was at war and not running, it's doubtful that anyone could have beaten him in 1916, as he broke his own world record (a mark that would not be bettered for ten years).

Like most men his age, he fought in World War I when the United States entered the conflict. After the war he tried to revive his running career for the 1920 Olympics but soon found his best days were behind him. He took up coaching, first at Penn and then with the Czechoslovakian national team in preparation for the 1936 Olympics. After those games he began work for the IRS.

Year Rank Mark Meets, Etc
1912 1 1:51.9 WB 1)En OT, 1)Oly Gms
1913 -- 1:56.1*
1914 4 1:53.4*e 3)IC4A
1915 1 1:53.7* 1)IC4A
1916 1 1:51.5* WB 1)IC4A

Links: Wikipedia -- Penn Biography

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