Stan Cox

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Stan Cox
Personal information
Birth name Stanley Ernest Walter Cox
Born 15 July 1918
Wood Green
Died 27 June 2012(2012-06-27) (aged 93)
Felixstowe, Suffolk

Stanley Ernest Walter Cox (15 July 1918 – 27 June 2012)[1] was a British athlete who competed in two Olympic games in 1948 and 1952. Born in Wood Green, England, he served with Royal Air Force in World War II before competing in the 10,000 metre event at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Unable to participate in the 1950 British Empire Games, he returned to the Olympics in 1952, although he did not complete his event, the marathon, due to the flu. At the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, he suffered a sunstroke and collapsed within two miles (3 km) of the finish. He retired from running in 1956, but continued to work with UK Athletics for several years and was due to participate in the ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Early life[edit]

Cox was born on 15 July 1918 in Wood Green, England and began his professional running career in 1939.[2] During World War II, he served in Iraq with the Royal Air Force.[3] After returning to competition shape and qualifying, Cox was only allowed two days off work for the 1948 Summer Olympics, one to observe the opening ceremonies and a second actually to compete.[4]

Olympic career[edit]

In 1948, Cox was the British six mile (10 km) champion, with a time of approximately 29 minutes.[5] In the Men's 10,000 metres competition, he did not receive a medal, placing 7th. He later claimed that he was told by 1924 Olympian Harold Abrahams that he had run an extra lap due to confusion caused by Emil Zátopek, and should have placed 5th instead.[6] In 1952, he was due to compete in the marathon event, but after riding in a drafty aeroplane to the competition, he awoke the day of the race with a paralysed left side. It was later discovered that he was suffering from the flu.[2][3][5]

Cox was a Great Britain International from 1939–1956.[7] He had qualified for the 1950 British Empire Games, but his employers threatened to fire him if he attended, so he remained at home.[5] He did, however, compete in the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in the marathon event, but did not receive a medal. During the race he, along with fellow athlete Jim Peters, was afflicted with severe hyperthermia and was taken to hospital after running into a post, with only two miles remaining.[2][3] His personal best time in the marathon was 2 hours and 18 minutes.[7]

Later life[edit]

After retiring from running in 1956, he worked as a judge with British Amateur Athletics Association. During his tenure at this job, he was hit by a javelin while judging the throw of another competitor, an incident that nearly killed him.[3] Cox, who lived in Felixstowe for nearly 30 years, was seeking to take an active part in the 2012 Summer Olympics and a campaign began to make him a participant in the games' ceremonies. He led a weekly walk group to remain fit and active, walking an average of four miles (6 km) a day,[3][5] until a year before his death on 27 June 2012.[1]


  1. ^ a b Cornwell, Richard (2012-06-28). "Felixstowe: Tributes paid to former Olympian Stan Cox". East Anglian Daily Times (Archant). Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Gjerde, Arild; Jeroen Heijmans; Bill Mallon; Hilary Evans (2008). "Stan Cox Biography and Statistics". Olympics. Sports Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Robinson, Craig (16 July 2008). "90-year-old Stan's Olympic dream". Evening Star. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  4. ^ Rowbottom, Mike (7 July 2005). "LONDON OLYMPICS: THE 1948 GAMES: 'We had much more fun and a greater". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 3 August 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d Cornwell, Richard (14 July 2008). "Stan's 2012 Olympic dream". The Evening Star. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  6. ^ Rowbottom, Mike (30 July 1998). "Olympics: Olympian ideals in age of rationing". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 3 August 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Honington 10K". RAF Athletics Association. Royal Air Force. 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2008.