David Jacobs (Welsh athlete)

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David Jacobs
David Jacobs 1913.jpg
David Jacobs in 1913
Personal information
Born 30 April 1888
Cardiff, Wales
Died 6 June 1976 (aged 88)
Llandudno, Conwy, Great Britain
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 70 kg (150 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 100–400 m
Club Herne Hill Harriers, Mitcham
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 100 m – 10.8 (1912)
200 m – 21.9e (1912)
440 yd – 49.9e (1913)[1][2]

David Henry Jacobs (30 April 1888 – 6 June 1976) was a Welsh-born track and field sprinter. He was the first British Jew to win an Olympic gold medal.[3]

He was born in Cardiff, to John Jacobs (previously Yaakov), who was a general dealer from London. His athletics career started in London with Herne Hill Harriers in 1908.[3] His interest in athletics was aroused by watching the 1908 Olympic Games.

At the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Jacobs won a gold medal as the first leg in the British 4×100 m relay team, in spite of finishing second behind the United States in the semifinals. The United States was later disqualified for a fault in passing the baton, the same mistake made in the finals by the world record holder and main favourite German team.

Jacobs also competed in the 100 m and 200 m individual events, but was eliminated in the semifinals.[1]

Although many times Welsh champion, Jacobs never succeeded in winning a AAA title. He retired from active sport after World War I.[1]

He died suddenly in Aberconwy, aged 88, while on holiday from his London home. His body was returned to London, where he was buried in a Jewish cemetery,[3] at East Ham. At the time of his death he was Britain's oldest Olympic gold medalist.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d David Jacobs. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ David Jacobs. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ a b c William D. Rubinstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubinstein, eds. (2011). "Jacobs, David Henry". The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 465. ISBN 9781403939104. 
  4. ^ "David Henry Jacobs, Gold Medallist at the Olympics". The US. 25 July 2012.