Bob Tisdall

Hurdler, Gold Medalist, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Australia

Category Data
Full Name Robert Morton Newburgh "Bob" Tisdall
Used Name Bob Tisdall
Nickname The Irish Wonder
Born 16 May 1907; Nuwara Eliya (SRI)
Died 27 July 2004; Nambour-Queensland (AUS)
Measurements 186 cm / 74 kg
Affiliations Achilles Club (GBR)
Year-Games Sport Event Place Medal
1932 Summer Athletics 400 metres Hurdles 1 Gold
Decathlon 8

A year before the 1932 Olympics, nobody would have even considered Bob Tisdall for the Olympic gold in the 400 m hurdles. While a decent sprinter and high hurdler at Cambridge University, where he majored in agriculture and forestry, Tisdall had never contested the event until, early in 1932, he asked the president of the Irish NOC to send him to Los Angeles for that event. He met the qualifying standard in his second attempt, winning the Irish championship in the event. In 1931 Tisdall had won four events in the Oxbridge meet – the 440 yards, long jump, shot put, and 120 yard hurdles. He was Irish champion in the 120 yard hurdles in 1930 and in the 440 yards hurdles in 1932, but he was not considered of world caliber. But once in Los Angeles, Tisdall was unbeatable. In the final, he even bettered the world record to win the gold medal. He received the medal, but not the record, as Tisdall had knocked over the final hurdle, which was not allowed by the rules of the day for record purposes.

Born in Sri Lanka, raised in Ireland and educated in England, Tisdall emigrated to South Africa at the end of 1933 and while there helped to form the South African-Irish Regiment during World War II. He later lived in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Kenya and Tanzania before returning to Ireland and eventually settling in Nambour, in Queensland, Australia. He participated in the torch relay for the Sydney Olympics, aged 93.

Personal Bests: 400H – 51.67 (1932); Dec – 6398 (1932).

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