Ken Matthews

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Ken Matthews
Ken Matthews 1964.jpg
Matthews at the 1964 Olympics
Personal information
Born21 June 1934 (1934-06-21)
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Died2 June 2019(2019-06-02) (aged 84)
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight78 kg (172 lb)
SportRace walking
ClubRoyal Sutton Coldfield Walking Club
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)42:35.6 (10 km, 1960)
1.28:15 (20 km, 1960)

Kenneth Joseph Matthews, MBE (21 June 1934 – 2 June 2019)[1] was a British race walker, who won the Olympic (1964) and European (1962) titles in the 20 km walk.

From 1957 Matthews worked as an electrician at a local power plant at Hams Hall near Sutton Coldfield and had to take a paid leave for competitions. In 1959, 1961, 1963 and 1964 he won the British titles in all three walking events. He took part in the 1960 Olympics, but failed to finish the 20 km race. He won the same event at the 1964 Games in a new Olympic record of 1.29:34. He was the only one of the four gold medallists from Great Britain who did not receive an MBE soon afterwards in recognition of his achievement. Following a public outcry, he was belatedly appointed an MBE in 1977.[2][3]

Matthews also won the European title in 1962[3] and twice the Lugano Trophy (1961 and 1963).[2]

In 2007, he was the guest of honour at Hawarden High School for the Year 11 Record Of Achievement.[citation needed] In 2011, he was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

He died on 2 June 2019, aged 84. An inquest concluded in early January 2020 that his death was the result of an unknown allergic reaction.[4]


  1. ^ Olympic champion race walker Ken Matthews dies
  2. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Ken Matthews". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Sam Knight (9 June 2012) Kenneth Matthews, Great Britain. FT Magazine.
  4. ^ "Olympian Ken Matthews died after 'unknown' allergic reaction". BBC News. 3 January 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2021.

External links[edit]

Kenneth Joseph Matthews at the International Olympic Committee