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Ralph Metcalfe

Photo of Ralph Metcalfe

Inducted: 1975, athlete

Born: May 29, 1910 - Atlanta, Georgia
Deceased: October 10, 1979

100 m - 10.30

In the early 1930s, Ralph Metcalfe was the prime U.S. sprinter, winning most of the national titles and tying the world records in the 100 and 200 meters. He competed in both the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games, ending up with one gold medal, two silvers and a bronze. At Marquette University, Metcalfe won the national collegiate 100-200 double three straight years from 1932 to 1934. He achieved the same double victories in the national AAU meet during those years and wound up with five straight national titles in the 200-220. Overall, counting indoor competition, Metcalfe won 11 AAU sprint titles. In 1932, he won both the 100m and 200m runs at the Olympic Trials, but failed to maintain his dominance at the Los Angeles Olympics. In the 100m, he lost by an inch to fellow American (and Hall of Famer) Eddie Tolan in a controversial finish. In the 200m, he again was unlucky, since it appeared that he had been placed behind his fellow finalists at the starting line and was unable to make up the distance, finishing third to Tolan and fellow American George Simpson. In 1934, Metcalfe tied the world 100-meter record of 10.3 three times during a tour of Europe and Asia. He finally won an Olympic gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the 1936 Berlin Games after taking second to Jesse Owens in the 100. Metcalfe later coached track at Xavier College in Louisiana before becoming a successful businessman in Chicago. He began a political career in 1949, becoming an alderman for the city of Chicago before being elected to Congress in 1970.

Records Held
World Record: 100 m - 10.30 (September 23, 1934 - )

1932 Olympics: 100 m (2nd)
1932 Olympics: 200 m (3rd)
1936 Olympics: 100 m (2nd)
1936 Olympics: 400 m relay (1st)
1932 AAU: 100 m (1st)
1932 AAU: 200 m (1st)
1933 AAU: 100 m (1st)
1933 AAU: 200 m (1st)
1934 AAU: 100 m (1st)
1934 AAU: 200 m (1st)
1935 AAU: 200 m (1st)
1936 AAU: 200 m (1st)
1932 NCAA: 100 m (1st)
1932 NCAA: 200 m (1st)
1933 NCAA: 100 m (1st)
1933 NCAA: 200 m (1st)
1934 NCAA: 100 m (1st)
1934 NCAA: 200 m (1st)

high school: Tilden Technical (Chicago, Illinois), 1930
undergraduate: Marquette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 1936


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