Harry Smith (athlete)

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Harry Smith
Harry J. Smith Runner in 1911 croped.png
Smith in 1911, holding a trophy.
Personal information
Birth name Harry James Smith
Nationality American
Born (1888-07-30)July 30, 1888
Bronx, New York, United States
Died November 20, 1962(1962-11-20) (aged 74)
Mitchell, Indiana, United States
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Sport
Sport Long-distance running
Event(s) Marathon
Club Pastime Athletic Club

Harry James Smith[2][3] (July 30, 1888 – November 20, 1962) was an American long-distance runner.[4][5] He was most notable for competing in the 1912 olympics in Stockholm. He was also the father of Hart wrestling family matriarch Helen Hart and the father-in-law of Stu Hart.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

He was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States and was of Irish descent.[8][9] Smith came from a relatively well off family[10] and had a brother named Frank. It has been speculated that both of them may have suffered from bipolar disorder.[10]

His athletic interest began when he was a child. At the age of 12 Smith was playing craps with some friends in an alley when a police officer spotted them and ran after them, attempting to arrest them for illegal gambling. The man caught all of them except Smith. Another day when the officer found Smith he advised him to pursue competitive running.[10]

Career[edit]

He competed in the marathon for the United States at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He finished in 17th place.[11] He shared rooms with Jim Thorpe on the way to the Olympics.[8][12] Smith also ran the Boston Marathon 10 years in a row.[13] He finished 10th at the 1912 event with a time of 2:27:46.[14][15] He finished in the top three at the 1913 event.[16][17][18][19][20]

Smith also participated in at least three Run for the Diamonds events.[21] In came in at third place in both 1911 and 1913.[22][23][24] He came first and won in 1912.[25][26]

Smith was USA Outdoor Track & Field Champion 10000 m in 1912, a victory he shared with Hannes Kolehmainen.[27][28][29]

Later in 1912 Smith won a race called the Union Settlement Road Race and was given a gold medal award, handed to him by congressman Amos Pinchot.[30][31]

He won the Coney Island Derby Race in 1913.[32][33]

Smith refrained from competing in the fall of 1914 due to sore feet.[34]

While in training Smith had a diet that had him consume little watter and instead eat a lot of vegestables.[35]

He was of the belief that a marathon runner should never look behind themself, as this throws off ones timing while running. He made an exception to this however when he once encountered Tom Longboat while in a race and exchanged a glance with him. This later became a story he would tell his five daughters.[36]

Smith was a member and Captain of the Pastime Athletic Club.[37][38]

Supposedly Smith was an early underground sports agent.[39]

After his athletic career ended he became a sports columnist for The New York Tribune.[9][40]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to a Greek woman named Elizabeth "Ellie" Poulis.[8][41] Ellie’s parents were from the town of Missolonghi in Agrinio. She was born on Ellis Island while her parents were in quarantine and waiting to be granted entry into the United States.[42] Ellie was a dancer and artist in her younger years.[42]

Harry and Ellie were the parents of five girls, Helen, Diana, Patricia "Patsy", Elizabeth "Betty" and Joanie.[10][43]

Some time during the 1930s he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident which left him with permanent injury on one of his legs, he was bedridden for a long time and walked with a limp for the rest of his life.[9][44] This left the family in financial troubles.

He and his wife helped raise their daughter, Helen Hart's oldest son Smith when she and her husband, Stu, suffered an automobile accident while she was pregnant with their second child, Bruce.[45]

His daughter Diana married Jock Osler[46] descendant of Sir William Osler and his daughter Patsy married a man named Jack Forrest, who was the great great grandnephew of Nathan Bedford Forrest.[10]

Legacy[edit]

His granddaughter Diana Hart dedicated the fourth chapter, "Roots", in her book Under the Mat to discussing Smith's life. She also named her son Harry.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hart, Diana; McLellan, Kirstie (2001). Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family. Fenn. p. 15 pp. ISBN 1-55168-256-7. 
  2. ^ https://www.olympic.org/stockholm-1912/athletics/marathon-men
  3. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/sm/harry-smith-2.html https://web.archive.org/web/20170415210459/http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/sm/harry-smith-2.html
  4. ^ "SMITH WINS OVER BIG FIELD IN START EVENT". news.google.com. The Evening News. January 1, 1913. 
  5. ^ "American olympic champions to take part in contest at Moscow and St. Petersburg". news.google.com. Berkeley Daily Gazette. July 19, 1912. 
  6. ^ Martha Hart; Eric Francis (2004). Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 37 pp. ISBN 978-1-59077-036-8. 
  7. ^ ? (January 30, 2016). "The Hart Family". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  8. ^ a b c Hart, Diana; McLellan, Kirstie (2001). Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family. Fenn. p. 16 pp. ISBN 1-55168-256-7. 
  9. ^ a b c Heath McCoy (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. ECWPress. p. 30 pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Hart, Diana; McLellan, Kirstie (2001). Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family. Fenn. p. 17 pp. ISBN 1-55168-256-7. 
  11. ^ "Harry Smith Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  12. ^ Ned Powers (1995-12-10). "Pro wrestling on Prairies owes it all to Stu Hart". hack-man.com. 
  13. ^ Heath McCoy (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. ECWPress. p. 29 pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 
  14. ^ "Boston 2000""Boston 2000". coolrunning.com. Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ "2014 Boston Marathon""Boston Marathon Yearly Synopses (1897 - 2013)". johnhancock.com. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ "2014 Boston Marathon""Boston Marathon Yearly Synopses (1897 - 2013)". johnhancock.com. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ Boston Marathon: the history of the world's premier running event. Human Kinetics. 1994. p. 65 pp. ISBN 0-87322-491-4. 
  18. ^ Thomas C. Bennett. "An rew Sockalexis, Olympic Marathoner from Maine" (PDF). pdf. Retrieved 2016-03-22. 
  19. ^ "Annual Marathon Run". news.google.com. Boston Evening Transcript. April 17, 1913. 
  20. ^ "CARLSON WINS MARATHON, Harry J. Smith of New York Took Third Place". news.google.com. Boston Evening Transcript. April 19, 1913. 
  21. ^ "Claim Your Race History from 192,561,157 Race Results""Find Your Results". storage.athlinks.com. Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  22. ^ "Hamilton and Montreal Runners Well Up in Early Stages of Boston Mrathon But Failed at Finish Heavy Going after Night of Rain". news.google.com. The Toronto Sunday World. April 20, 1913. 
  23. ^ "1911 Run For The Diamonds Results""1911 Run For The Diamonds Results". Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  24. ^ "1913 Run For The Diamonds Results""1913 Run For The Diamonds Results". Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. ^ "Run for the Diamonds 9 Mile""Race Winners". arrs.net. Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  26. ^ "1912 Run For The Diamonds Results""1912 Run For The Diamonds Results". Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  27. ^ "USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions""Men's 10,000 m". usatf.org. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  28. ^ ???? (1913). Our Paper, Volym 29. Massachusetts Reformatory. p. 45 pp. 
  29. ^ "The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 8". newspapers.com. The Des Moines Register. January 17, 1914. 
  30. ^ ???? (1912). The Summary, Volym 30–31. State Reformatory, 1912. p. 4 pp. 
  31. ^ "The New York Times""TEN-MILE CHAMPION WINS PINCHOT PRIZE; Harry Smith Scores Another Victory in the Union Settlement Road Race". query.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. ^ "The New York Times""HARRY SMITH FIRST IN RACE; Bronx Athlete Easy Victor in Coney Island Derby". query.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  33. ^ "Brooklyn Newsstand""The Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn, New York · Page 20". bklyn.newspapers.com. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  34. ^ "Track and Field". news.google.com. The Pittsburgh Press. November 13, 1914. 
  35. ^ "Drinks no watter, yet Smith is best marathon runner in country". The Milwaukee Journal. December 29, 1912. 
  36. ^ "Exhibiting our pride". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. 2000-01-23. 
  37. ^ Pamela Cooper (1998). The American Marathon. Syracuse University Press. p. 50 pp. ISBN 0-8156-0573-0. 
  38. ^ "The New York Times""GLENCOE ROAD RACE RESULTS IN A TIE; Harry Smith and Alexis Ahlgren Make a Dead Heat of the Ten-Mile Contest". query.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  39. ^ Alan Katchen (2009). Abel Kiviat, National Champion Twentieth-Century Track & Field and the Melting Pot. Syracuse University Press. p. 168 pp. ISBN 0-8156-0939-6. 
  40. ^ "Page 13". New-York Tribune. November 29, 1915. 
  41. ^ Hart, Bret (2007). Hitman: My real life in the cartoon world of wrestling. Ebury Press. p. 8 pp. ISBN 9780091932862. 
  42. ^ a b Marsha Erb (2002). Stu Hart: Lord of the ring. ECWPress. p. 93 pp. ISBN 1-55022-508-1. 
  43. ^ Heath McCoy (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. ECWPress. p. 27 pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 
  44. ^ Marsha Erb (2002). Stu Hart: Lord of the ring. ECWPress. p. 92 pp. ISBN 1-55022-508-1. 
  45. ^ Heath McCoy (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. ECWPress. p. 37 pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 
  46. ^ Heath McCoy (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling. ECWPress. p. 46 pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 
  47. ^ Hart, Diana; McLellan, Kirstie (2001). Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family. Fenn. p. 15 pp. ISBN 1-55168-256-7. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]