Willie Applegarth

William Reuben Applegarth (11 May 1890 – 5 December 1958) was a British track and field athlete, and winner of a gold medal in the 4 × 100 metres relay at the 1912 Summer Olympics.[2]

Willie Applegarth
Applegarth with coach Sam Mussabini at the 1912 Olympics
Personal information
Born11 May 1890
Guisborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died (aged 68)
Schenectady, New York, United States
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb)
Event(s)100 m, 200 m
ClubPolytechnic Harriers, London
Coached bySam Mussabini
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 10.6 (1912)
200 m – 21.1 (1914)[1]
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
1912 Stockholm 4×100 m relay
1912 Stockholm 200 metres


Born in Guisborough, then in the North Riding of Yorkshire, William Applegarth was one of the best European sprinters during World War I.

At the Stockholm Olympics, Applegarth was eliminated in the semifinals of the 100 m competition and won a bronze medal in the 200 m. As the anchoring leg in the British 4 × 100 m relay team, he won a gold medal, in spite of finishing second after the US in the semifinal. The United States was later disqualified for a fault in passing the baton; the same mistake was made in the final by the world record holder and main favourite German team.[3]

Applegarth was a British AAA champion in 100 yd (91 m) in 1913 and 1914 and in 220 yd (200 m) from 1912 to 1914. Shortly after the Olympics, Applegarth repeated Donald Lippincott's world record in the 100 m of 10.6 and set a new world record of 21.2 in the 200 m in the 1914 AAA meeting. His 200 m record was not broken until 1928.[3]

In November 1914, Applegarth turned professional and in 1922 emigrated to America, where he became the track and association football coach at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. He also played for Brooklyn in the American Soccer League. In 1925 he retired from sport and began working as a welder at the General Electric Company, where he stayed until 1955. He died aged 68, in the same year that his British 100 yd (91 m) record of 9.8 s was finally broken.[3]


  1. William Applegarth. trackfield.brinkster.net
  2. "Willie Applegarth". Olympedia. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  3. Willie Applegarth. sports-reference.com
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