1928 Olympics - Amsterdam

“We are here to represent the greatest country on earth. We did not come here to lose gracefully. We came here to win–and win decisively.”

So ordered American Olympic Committee president Gen. Douglas MacArthur before the start of the 1928 Games. His athletes would deliver, easily winning the unofficial national standings for the third Olympiad in a row.

The U.S. men won eight gold medals in track and field, but were victorious in only one individual running race (Ray Barbuti in the 400 meters). In the sprints, Canada's Percy Williams became the first non-American to win both the 100 and 200. Finland claimed four running titles, including Paavo Nurmi's victory in the 10,000 meters–his ninth overall gold medal in three Olympic Games. Teammate and arch-rival Ville Ritola placed second in the 10,000 and outran Nurmi in the 5,000.

These Games marked Germany's return to the Olympic fold after serving a 10-year probation for its “aggressiveness” in World War I. It was also the first Olympics that women were allowed to participate in track and field (despite objections from Pope Pius IX). And in swimming, the U.S. got double gold performances from Martha Norelius, Albina Osipowich and Johnny Weissmuller, as well as diver Pete Desjardins.


Event   Time  
 100m Percy Williams, CAN 10.8  
  Jack London, GBR 10.9  
  Georg Lammers, GER 10.9  
 200m Percy Williams, CAN 21.8  
  Walter Placeeley, GBR 21.9  
  Helmut Körnig, GER 21.9  
 400m Ray Barbuti, USA 47.8  
  James Ball, CAN 48.0  
  Joachim Büchner, GER 48.2  
 800m Douglas Lowe, GBR 1:51.8 OR
  Erik Byléhn, SWE 1:52.8  
  Hermann Englehard, GER 1:53.2  
1500m Harri Larva, FIN 3:53.2 OR
  Jules Ladoumégue, FRA 3:53.8  
  Eino Purje, FIN 3:56.4  
5000m Ville Ritola, FIN 14:38.0  
  Paavo Nurmi, FIN 14:40.0  
  Edvin Wide, SWE 14:41.2  
10,000m Paavo Nurmi, FIN 30:18.8 OR
  Ville Ritola, FIN 30:19.4  
  Edvin Wide, SWE 31:00.8  
Marathon Mohamed El Quafi, FRA 2:32:57.0  
  Miguel Plaza, CHI 2:33:23  
  Martti Marttelin, FIN 2:35:02  
110m H Syd Atkinson, S. Afr. 14.8  
  Stephen Anderson, USA 14.8  
  John Collier, USA 14.9  
400m H David Burghley, GBR 53.4 OR
  Frank Cuhel, USA 53.6  
  F.Morgan Taylor, USA 53.6  
Toivo Loukola, FIN 9:21.8 WR
  Paavo Nurmi, FIN 9:31.6  
  Ove Andersen, FIN 9:35.6  
4x100m USA (Frank Wykoff, Jimmy Quinn,
Charley Borah, Hank Russell)
41.0 WR
  Germany 41.2  
  Great Britain 41.8  
4x400m USA (George Baird, Bud
Spencer, Fred Alderman,
Ray Barbuti)
3:14.2 WR
  Germany 3:14.8  
  Canada 3:15.4  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Bob King, USA 6-41/2  
  Benjamin Hedges, USA 6-31/4  
  Claude Ménard, FRA 6-31/4  
Pole Vault Sabin Carr, USA 13-91/4 OR
  William Droegemueller, USA 13-51/4  
  Charles McGinnis, USA 12-111/2  
Long Jump Ed Hamm, USA 25- 41/2 OR
  Silvio Cator, HAI 24-101/4  
  Alfred Bates, USA 24-31/4  
Triple Jump Mikio Oda, JPN 49-11  
  Levi Casey, USA 49-9  
  Vilho Tuulos, FIN 49-63/4  
Shot Put Johnny Kuck, USA 52-03/4 WR
  Herman Brix, USA 51-8  
  Emil Hirschfeld, GER 51-63/4  
Discus Bud Houser, USA 155- 3 OR
  Antero Kivi, FIN 154-11  
  James Corson, USA 154-6  
Hammer Pat O'Callaghan, IRE 168- 7  
  Ossian Skiöld, SWE 168-3  
  Edmund Black, USA 160-10  
Javelin Erik Lundkvist, SWE 218- 6 OR
  Béla Szepes, HUN 214-1  
  Olav Sunde, NOR 209-101/2  
Decathlon Paavo Yrjölä, FIN 8053 pts WR
  Akilles Järvinen, FIN 7931  
  John Kenneth Doherty, USA 7706  


Event   Time  
 100m Betty Robinson, USA 12.2 =WR
  Fanny Rosenfeld, CAN 12.3  
  Ethel Smith, CAN 12.3  
 800m Lina Radke, GER 2:16.8 WR
  Kinue Hitomi, JPN 2:17.6  
  Inga Gentzel, SWE 2:17.8  
4x100m Canada (Fanny Rosenfeld, Ethel
Smith, Florence Bell,
Myrtle Cook)
48.4 WR
  USA 48.8  
  Germany 49.2  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Ethel Catherwood, CAN 5- 21/2  
  Carolina Gisolf, NED 5-11/4  
  Mildred Wiley, USA 5-11/4  
Discus Halina Konopacka, POL 129-113/4 WR
  Lillian Copeland, USA 121-71/2  
  Ruth Svedberg, SWE 117-10