Charles Gmelin

Charles Henry Stuart Gmelin (28 May 1872 – 12 October 1950) was a British athlete. He competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.[1][2]

Charles Gmelin
Personal information
Born(1872-05-28)28 May 1872
Krishnanagar, Nadia, India
Died12 October 1950(1950-10-12) (aged 78)
Oxford, England
Event(s)100m, 400m

Personal lifeEdit

Gmelin was born in Krishnanagar Nadia, in Bengal, India, where his father was a Christian missionary, but returned to England at an early age for schooling.

He was educated at Magdalen College School and Keble College, Oxford. After graduating he took holy orders and later become headmaster of Freshfields School in Oxford, he eventually became curate in Summertown, Oxford and Kidlington in Oxfordshire.[3] Gmelin was an all-round sportsman who represented Oxfordshire at both football and in cricket where he competed in the Minor Counties Championship from 1895 to 1906.[3]

In August 1904 Gmelin married Hester Royds in Little Barford, Bedfordshire.[4]

He died on 12 October 1950 at Cowley Road Hospital Oxford, aged 78,[5] his wife died in April the following year.[5]

Olympic recordEdit

He had the distinction of being the first British athlete to compete in Olympic competition when he finished third in the inaugural heat of the 100 metres. He did not advance to the final. As per the record he was the first man to win a medal for Great Britain at a modern Olympics.[6]

He was more successful in the 400 metres where he finished second behind Thomas Burke of the United States in his preliminary heat. This qualified him for the final, where he placed third behind the United States pairing of Burke and Herbert Jamison in a time of 55.6 seconds.[citation needed] For many years the German runner Fritz Hofmann was incorrectly listed as placing ahead of Gmelin.[by whom?]

Although no awards were made for third place in the 1896 Summer Olympics he is usually credited as a bronze medal winner.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Olympics Statistics: Charles Gmelin". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Charles Gmelin Olympic Results". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Charles Gmelin". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Little Barford". Bedfordshire Mercury. 12 August 1904. Retrieved 14 February 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ a b "Charles Henry Stuart Gmelin". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  6. ^ Tom Fordyce (17 October 2013). "Prejudice & patriotism: When is a Briton not a Briton?". Retrieved 24 May 2017.