Wint wins Olympic gold in the men's 400 metres (1948)
25 May 1920|
Plowden, Manchester, Jamaica
19 October 1992 (aged 72)|
Arthur Wint, known as the Gentle Giant, was born in Plowden, Manchester, Jamaica. While at Calabar High School, he ran sprints and did both the high jump and long jump. He later transferred to Excelsior High School, where he finished his secondary education. In 1937 he was the Jamaica Boy Athlete of the year, and the following year won a gold medal in the 800 metres at the Central American Games in Panama.
In 1942 he joined the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and set the Canadian 400 metre record while training there. He was sent to Britain for active combat during World War II as a pilot. He left the Royal Air Force in 1947 to attend St Bartholomew's Hospital as a medical student.
In the 1948 London Games, Wint won Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medal for the 400 metres (46.2 seconds), beating his team-mate Herb McKenley. In the 800 metres he won silver, after American Mal Whitfield's gold. Wint missed a probable third medal when he pulled a muscle in the 4 x 400 metres relay final.
In Helsinki 1952 he was part of the historic team setting the world record while capturing the gold in the 4 x 400 metres relay. He also won silver in the 800 metres, again coming second to Mal Whitfield.
Wint ran his final race in 1953 at Wembley Stadium, finished his internship, and graduated as a doctor. The following year he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1955 Wint returned to Jamaica, eventually settling in Hanover as the only resident doctor in the parish. In 1973 he was awarded the Jamaica honour of the Order of Distinction. He served as Jamaica's High Commissioner to Britain and ambassador to Sweden and Denmark from 1974 to 1978. He was inducted in the Black Athlete’s Hall of Fame in the US (1977), the Jamaica Sports Hall of Fame (1989) and the Central American & Caribbean Athletic Confederation Hall of Fame (2003).
Arthur Wint died on Heroes Day in Linstead, aged 72.