EDITORS — With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was published in The Chattanooga News on Aug. 2, 1932. The story is published as it appears in the newspaper despite several punctuation errors. Note also the language to describe Eddie Tolan and Ralph Metcalfe, the first Black American sprinters to finish 1-2 in the 100-meters and Japan’s Takayoshi Yoshioka.


By ALAN GOULD, Associated Press Sports Editor

Los Angeles, Cal., Aug. 1 — (A.P.) — On the crest of a record-breaking wave unparalleled in world athletic competition, America move swiftly today into a commanding position in the Olympic track and field championships, as the result of the most smashing victory for the nation’s sprinters in eight years.

The first brilliant chapter of the United States comeback in the realm of human speed was completed yesterday when two black thunderbolts blazed down the Olympic cinderpath. They were so close together that only the motion pictures could finally establish that Eddie Tolan of Detroit beat Ralph Metcalfe of Marquette by two inches in the world record equalling time of 10.33 seconds for the Olympic 100-meter championship.

Not since Jackson Scholz shaded Charley Paddock in the Olympic 200-meter final of 1924 has there been so dazzlingly close a sprint finish in these international games. Not since then, either, has America known what it meant to acclaim an Olympic dash winner and a crowd of 60,000 in the mammoth Olympic stadium yesterday gave the two Negro boys a remarkable ovation.

Without a single day of rest Tolan and Metcalfe, along with their two closest rivals, Arthur Jonath of Germany and George Simpson, third American sprinter, were primed to renew the speed battle today in the first two rounds of the 200-meter trials.

Metcalfe, because of his tremendous finishing powers, has been established the favorite to turn the tables on Tolan, but the experts at any rate now foresee the first United States dash sweep since Paddock and Woodring combined to take the honors in 1920.


Officials said paid attendance for the two days of sparkling competition in the stadium approximated 110,000, making it certain the tenth Olympic games will pass the previous record turnout of 130,282 paid for the entire eight days of track and field sports at Amsterdam.

The shirt-sleeved crowds have been given an eyeful under the broiling California sun. Records tumbled in five track and field events Sunday and in four yesterday. New Olympic standards have been set in four of the six men’s events concluded so far.

It will be a long time before yesterday’s crowd quits arguing about that 100-meter battle between Tolan and Metcalfe. To perhaps a majority, at least in the gallery of experts, it looked as though Metcale won by a scant margin as the two sweeped into the tape.

But the judges, after a long parley, said “Tolan”. They were convinced they were right by two inches after examining the pictures taken by the electro-photographic device, the “camera clock”. Metcalfe’s foot touched the line first, but Tolan, in the words of Gustavus T. Kirby, American chief judge, “got his torso to the tape first” and that’s what the pay-off is based on.

The impression that Metcalfe had won was due to the fact the Marquette Negro, taller and rangier, was comping up faster at the finish and in a few strides beyond the mark was clearly past Tolan.

Tolan and Metcalfe were the class of the field, although they were not far in front of Jonath or Simpson, the third and fourth men. Joubert of South Arica, fifth, and Yoshioka, the little Japanese, trailed by two and four yards respectively.

The 1-2-4 finish of the American spring trio added 18 points to the team score and helped boost the two-day total for the United States to 38 points, enough to point the way to certain defense of the team title. Ireland is nearest, with 20 points, and Finland third with 16. Germany, Canada and Poland have 10 each and Great Britain, which finished third four years ago to the U.S.A. and Finland, only 3 points in six events.


Source: The Chattanooga News. Retrieved by AP researcher Francesca Pitaro.