The First Ever Photo-Finish in the Olympics Ends in a Heartbreak | On The Line

The First Ever Photo-Finish in the Olympics Ends in a Heartbreak | On The Line


Took longer
than they normally do to come up with
the official decision, and I’ve never been convinced
that I was defeated. I think that it should’ve been
a tied race because the timers gave me
the same time as they’d awarded
to Eddie Tolan. (BEING SECOND) (LOS ANGELES ’32) (LOS ANGELES,
1ST AUGUST 1932, 3:30 PM) (FOX FILM CORPORATION PRESENTS) (OLYMPIC GAMES 1932) (LOS ANGELES, USA) In the name of the President
of the United States I proclaim open the Olympic Games
of Los Angeles, celebrating the 10th Olympiad of the modern era. (DAVID WALLECHINSKY) (UNITED STATES) (OLYMPIC HISTORIAN) Hello? The 1932 Olympics
were held in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, there was a
global depression at the time, and the combination of
the world financial situation and the relative remoteness
of Los Angeles really cut back on attendance. There were fewer than
half as many athletes taking part in
the 1932 Olympics as had taken part in the 1928 Olympics
in Amsterdam. However, the 1932 Olympics,
being in Los Angeles, also had the glitz and glamour
of Hollywood. A lot of the athletes got to
meet the famous stars. So, on the one hand
you had some athletes who were so poor that they were
hitch-hiking to the Olympics, and then taking food home
to their family, and on the other hand, you had athletes meeting
Mary Pickford and other famous actors. First thing to know is
that Tolan and Metcalfe, the two favourites
from the United States, were African-American,
they were black athletes. Amongst the other runners
was Takayoshi Yoshioka, who was from Japan and famous
for being a quick starter, and in fact
in the Olympic final he dashed out into the lead
from the very first step and held the lead for the first
40 metres before fading. Then there was Daniel Joubert,
who was from South Africa. He had travelled 38 days
to get to the Olympics. So it was quite an achievement
that he was even there. Eddie Tolan was
unusually short for an athlete by American standards. He was called “5 Foot 7”, and he wore glasses which
he kept together by tape. You know, he was not a man
from a wealthy family. So he was kind of considered… How can I put it?
..stocky and very strong. He chewed gum while he ran.
He had glasses, he was short,
and he chewed gum. Ralph Metcalfe was taller, he seemed to be more the way you would imagine
a sprinter to look. Metcalfe, as an athlete, he had come on strong
in the Olympic year. He was famous for his finish – he would come on strong
at the end and kind of nip people
right at the line. And so when, for example,
when the race… the Olympic final actually
took place in 1932, Tolan and Metcalfe appeared to reach the finish line
at the same time. And it took judges… Seven judges had to view
a film of the race – which was an Olympic first, to start using
photo-finish cameras and technical innovations
to decide who won. A lot of the people
who were in the stadium thought that it was
a dead heat, a draw. (LINDY REMIGINO) (UNITED STATES) (100 METRES –
4 x 100 METRES RELAY) Hello? This is Lindy. If you see that finish, it’s very difficult
to understand that Metcalfe did not win. But the judgment was that
Eddie Tolan won the race, and the way they understood it, to win the race in those days, you had to go through
the finish line. If the current rules
had been used, the rules that later came
into force in the Olympics, then it’s quite possible
that Metcalfe would’ve been given
the victory. So they gave Eddie Tolan
the victory. Eddie Tolan was a good sprinter because he also won the 200. He still won gold, he proved
that he was the fastest, but Metcalfe never accepted
that all his life. He said, “I won that race.” This is the world’s
fastest human, Eddie Tolan
of the United States, who tied the world’s record
and broke the Olympic record in winning the 100 metre dash
in 10.3 seconds. Lots of fortune, and I happen to be
the fortunate one this time. I think what was very difficult
for Metcalfe was that four years later
he was back in the Olympics and he finished second again, this time to the famous runner
Jesse Owens, so here was Metcalfe twice
almost winning the gold medal in the 100 metres,
but not quite. (DWIGHT STONES) (UNITED STATES) (TV COMMENTATOR
AND FORMER LONG JUMP ATHLETE) This is Dwight. Timing is everything in sport, and in individual sport,
timing certainly is everything. And the same goes
for Ralph Metcalfe – a great sprinter,
just at the wrong time in that he was at the same time
as Jesse Owens, and Jesse Owens,
what he did in 1936, especially when you consider
the political atmosphere and the location of
the Olympic Games that year, that kind of a back story –
and really it’s a front story – is so compelling that
you forget everything else. Ralph Metcalfe,
one of the great sprinters this country has produced –
and we’ve produced many – just had a timing problem. (EDDIE TOLAN BECAME
THE FIRST BLACK MAN) (TO WIN THE 100 METRES RACE
AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES) (TOLAN WON 300 RACES
AND ONLY LOST 7) (RALPH METCALFE
WENT INTO POLITICS) (AND HAD A SUCCESSFUL CAREER
AS CONGRESSMAN)

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