Eric Wilson (athlete)

Eric Colquhoun Wilson (October 8, 1900 – July 2, 1985) was an American track and field athlete. He won the first NCAA championship in the 220-yard dash in 1921 and competed for the United States in the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was the sports information director at the University of Iowa from 1923 to 1968.

Eric Wilson
Born(1900-10-08)October 8, 1900
DiedJuly 2, 1985(1985-07-02) (aged 84)
Known forNCAA champion, (1921, 23)


Wilson was born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1900. He was the son of a professor at the University of Iowa.[1] He enrolled at the University of Iowa and became one of the most accomplished athletes in the school's history. Wilson was a sprinter who won two NCAA championships and two Big Ten Conference championships while competing for the Iowa track team.

Wilson's first NCAA championship came in 1921. He won the 220-yard dash at the first NCAA track and field championships in 1921 with a time of 22.6 seconds.[2][3] At the 1922 NCAA Men's Track and Field Championships, Wilson finished second in the 220-yard dash and fourth in the 100-yard dash. In 1923, Wilson won his second NCAA championship in the 220-yard dash with a time of 21.9 seconds.[4]

Wilson was also the Big Ten Conference champion in the 220-yard dash in 1921 and 1923 and a member of the University of Iowa mile relay team that held the national intercollegiate record for seven years.[5]

Wilson competed for the United States at the 1924 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter race.[6] In qualifying meets leading up to the Olympics, Wilson had bettered the world record in the event with a time of 47.7—a time that would have been good for the silver medal in Paris.[5][6][7] At the Olympic games in Paris, he failed to qualify for the finals, though his quarterfinal time of 48.8 would have placed him in fourth place had he run that time in the finals.[7] The 400-meter competition at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris (won by Eric Liddell) was later depicted in the Academy Award-winning film "Chariots of Fire."[8]

In 1923, Wilson became the University of Iowa's first sports information director, a position he held for 45 years until his retirement in 1968.[9][10] He died in Iowa City, Iowa in 1985 at age 84.[6]

In 2006, Wilson was posthumously honored as part of the charter class of the University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium Wall of Fame.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jack Copeland (2006-07-17). "Focus - Defining Moments - Tracking championships: First NCAA postseason event in 1921 set the standard for the 87 that followed". NCAA News. Retrieved 2009-12-06.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Outdoor Track and Field Individual Champions, p. __" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 2009-12-07.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Illinois First in Great Meet: Notre Dame Second in National Collegiate Contests". Ogden Standard-Examiner. 1921-06-19.
  4. ^ "FIRST HONORS WON BY MICHIGAN TEAM: Seventeen Wolverines Scoop Up the Championship Track and Field Crown in the Big Meet On Stagg Field". Sunday State Journal (Associated Press story). 1923-06-17.
  5. ^ a b "Eric Wilson Honorary Ref Of 45th Dickinson Relays". Waterloo Daily Courier. 1968-04-09.
  6. ^ a b c "Eric Wilson profile". Sports Reference: Olympic Sports. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
  7. ^ a b "Athletics at the 1924 Paris Summer Games: Men's 400 metres". Sports Reference: Olympic Sports. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
  8. ^ "Britain's 1924 Olympic Champs Live Again in 'Chariots of Fire'—and Run Away with the Oscars". People. 17 (18). May 10, 1982. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  9. ^ Ken Noblit (1968-03-07). "QB Fetes Iowa Information Director". Muscatine Journal.
  10. ^ "Iowa Field House part of history". Oelwein Daily Register. 1982-02-20.
  11. ^ "Wall of Famers Honored This Weekend: Charter class includes 20 members". University of Iowa. 2006-10-23.