Athletics at the 1920 Summer Olympics – Men's 110 metres hurdles

The men's 110 metres hurdles event was part of the track and field athletics programme at the 1920 Summer Olympics. The competition was held on Tuesday, August 17, 1920, and on Wednesday, August 18, 1920. 24 runners from 15 nations competed.[1] No nation had more than 4 runners, suggesting the limit had been reduced from the 12 maximum in force in 1908 and 1912. The event was won by Earl Thomson of Canada in world record time, the first victory by any nation other than the United States in the men's 110 metres hurdles and the first time that any non-U.S. nation had even been on the podium since 1896. Thomson, who had lived in the United States since age 8, had wanted to run for the U.S. team but was ineligible due to his Canadian citizenship.[2] A British flag was displayed at the medal ceremony rather than a Canadian one because the organizing officials did not have the appropriate flag.[3]

Men's 110 metres hurdles
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
Anvers 110 m haies (Jeux olympiques) Agence Rol btv1b530536254 1.jpg
110 metres hurdles at the 1920 Summer Olympics
VenueOlympisch Stadion
DatesAugust 17–18
Competitors24 from 15 nations
Winning time14.8 WR
1st place, gold medalist(s) Earl Thomson
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Harold Barron
 United States
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Feg Murray
 United States
← 1912
1924 →


This was the sixth appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics. None of the finalists from the pre-war 1912 Games returned. Earl Thomson of Canada was a heavy favorite; he had won the 1920 AAU championship, IC4A championship (120 yards, in a world record 14.4 seconds), and Canadian Olympic trials.[3]

Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland each made their first appearance in the event. The United States made its sixth appearance, the only nation to have competed in the 110 metres hurdles in each Games to that point.

Competition formatEdit

The competition used the three-round basic format introduced in 1908, though the effectiveness of the first round in narrowing the field was dramatically increased compared to 1908 and 1912. The first round consisted of six heats, with between 3 and 5 hurdlers each. The top two hurdlers in each heat advanced to the semifinals. The 12 semifinalists were divided into two semifinals of 6 runners each; the top three hurdlers in each advanced to the 6-man final.[3][4]


These were the standing world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1920 Summer Olympics.

World record   Forrest Smithson (USA) 15.0 London, United Kingdom 25 July 1908
Olympic record   Forrest Smithson (USA) 15.0 London, United Kingdom 25 July 1908

In the semifinals, Harold Barron and Earl Thomson equalled the world record with 15.0 seconds. In the final, Earl Thomson set a new world record with 14.8 seconds.


Date Time Round
Tuesday, 17 August 1920 14:00
Round 1
Wednesday, 18 August 1920 14:30 Final



Quarterfinal 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Daciano Colbacchini   Italy 15.6 Q
2 Harry Wilson   New Zealand 15.8 Q
3 Georg Lindström   Sweden 15.9
4 Wilfred Kent-Hughes   Australia Unknown

Quarterfinal 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Harold Barron   United States 15.2 Q
2 Earl Thomson   Canada 15.4 Q
3 Gösta Holmér   Sweden Unknown
4 František Marek   Czechoslovakia Unknown

Quarterfinal 3Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Feg Murray   United States 15.8 Q
2 George Gray   Great Britain Unknown Q
3 Henri Bernard   France Unknown
4 René Joannes-Powell   Belgium Unknown
5 Dimitrios Andromedas   Greece Unknown

Quarterfinal 4Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Henri Thorsen   Denmark 16.8 Q
2 William Hunter   Great Britain Unknown Q
Willi Moser   Switzerland DNF

Quarterfinal 5Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 William Yount   United States 15.6 Q
2 Göran Hultin   Sweden Unknown Q
3 Harold Jeppe   South Africa Unknown
4 Adolf Reich   Czechoslovakia Unknown

Quarterfinal 6Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Walker Smith   United States 15.8 Q
2 Carl-Axel Christiernsson   Sweden Unknown Q
3 Oscar van Rappard   Netherlands Unknown
4 Eric Dunbar   Great Britain Unknown


Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Harold Barron   United States 15.0 Q, =WR
2 Walker Smith   United States 15.2 Q
3 Harry Wilson   New Zealand 15.3 Q
4 Henri Thorsen   Denmark Unknown
5 William Hunter   Great Britain Unknown
6 Göran Hultin   Sweden Unknown

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Earl Thomson   Canada 15.0 Q, =WR
2 Feg Murray   United States 15.2 Q
3 Carl-Axel Christiernsson   Sweden 15.2 Q
4 George Gray   Great Britain Unknown
5 William Yount   United States Unknown
6 Daciano Colbacchini   Italy Unknown


The final was held on Wednesday, August 18, 1920.

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Earl Thomson   Canada 14.8 WR
2 Harold Barron   United States 15.1
3 Feg Murray   United States 15.1
4 Harry Wilson   New Zealand 15.2
5 Walker Smith   United States 15.3
6 Carl-Axel Christiernsson   Sweden 15.3


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games: Men's 110 metres Hurdles". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Canada will have Earl Thomson as entry for hurdles". Regina Morning Leader. 1920-04-21. p. 11. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  3. ^ a b c "110 metres Hurdles, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  4. ^ Official Report, p. 102.


  • Belgium Olympic Committee (1957). Olympic Games Antwerp 1920: Official Report (in French).
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 16 August 2007.