March 15, 1897|
Buchanan, Michigan, United States
|Died||October 26, 1986
Delray Beach, Florida, United States
Jackson Volney Scholz (March 15, 1897 – October 26, 1986) was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprint. In the 1920s, he became the first person to appear in an Olympic sprint final in three different Olympic Games. After his athletic career, he also gained fame as a writer.
Born to Susan and Zachary Scholz in Buchanan, Michigan, Jackson Scholz, A.K.A. "The New York Thunderbolt," competed for the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri (where he joined Kappa Alpha Order), and later the Newark Athletic Club. While quite successful in the Olympics, he managed to win only a single national title, the 1925 220 yards AAU title.
His first Olympic appearance was in Antwerp at the 1920 Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal with the American 4x100 m relay team. In addition, he placed fourth in the 100 m final. Later that year, Scholz equaled the World Record in the 100 m, running 10.6s in Stockholm.
Four years later, he was one of the favorites for the sprint titles in the 100 and 200 m at the Paris Games. He lived up to the expectations in the 200 m, but was beaten to the gold in the 100 m by Britain's Harold Abrahams. The 100m race and the 400m race which Eric Liddell won, are depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire, which was released in 1981 - five years before Scholz's death at the age of 89. He was played in the film by actor Brad Davis, who would die 10 years later aged only 41.
Scholz made a third Olympic appearance in 1928. As the reigning champion, he placed fourth in the 200 m.
During the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, an American Express credit card commercial ("Don't leave home without it") included Ben Cross and the 87-year-old Scholz. When Cross--who portrayed Abrahams in the film Chariots of Fire--said something about beating Scholz, the latter remarked, "You didn't beat me!" with mock indignation. Proving he was "still pretty fast," Scholz beat Cross to the draw in picking up the tab with his credit card.