Edwin Flack


Edwin Flack

Edwin Harold "Teddy" Flack (5 November 1873 – 10 January 1935) was an Australian athlete and tennis player. He was the first and only Australian Olympian in 1896, and the first Olympic champion in the 800 metres and the 1500 metres running events.cite web |url=http://www.casey.vic.gov.au/olympic/ |title=Edwin Flack - Our first Olympic champion|accessdate=2007-09-14 |work=City of Casey]

Early life

Born in London, England, Teddy Flack was five years old when his family migrated to Australia, to live in Berwick, Victoria. Soon after leaving the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School in 1892, where he studied Greek history, Flack became the one mile champion of New South Wales and Victoria. Edwin competed for Old Melburnians Athletics Club, and wore the club singlet when he ran at the Olympics. After graduation Edwin joined his father's accountancy firm, Davey, Flack & Co. At the age of 21 Flack was sent to London to receive further training as an accountant with the firm Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). A keen athlete in Australia, Flack joined the London Athletic club and was intent on attending the coming inaugural Olympics while in Europe.

1896 Olympics

Flack reached Athens after an uncomfortable six day rail and sea trip, during which he was plagued with sea sickness. On the opening day of the Games he won his first race, the first heat of the 800 metres run, finishing in a time of 2:10.0. On the second day he lined up against the American favourite, Arthur Blake, in the 1500 metres run. Running shoulder to shoulder with Blake in the final straight, Flack powered ahead near the end to win by more than five metres. On the fourth day of the Games Flack earned his second first-place medal, winning the 800 metres in 2:11.0.

Just a day later Flack tried for a treble, in the marathon, even though he had never run a race more than 10 miles, less than half the marathon distance. He was in second place behind Frenchman Albin Lermusiaux, bronze medallist in the 1500 m run, for much of the race. After 32 kilometres, the Frenchman dropped out and Flack was left in the lead. But with just three kilometres to go, Flack suddenly collapsed. He was so delirious that, when a Greek spectator tried to help him, Flack punched him to the ground. Flack was removed from the course and tended to by Prince Nicholas.

Although largely unknown, Flack also competed in the tennis singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. He lost in the first round of the singles to Aristidis Akratopoulos of Greece. In the doubles he was paired with an English friend, George S. Robertson. They reached the semi-finals after a walk-over in the first round, but lost their only match to Dionysios Kasdaglis of Egypt and Demetrios Petrokokkinos of Greece. They placed third due to their semi-final appearance, but medals for third places were not yet awarded in 1896.

Flack was a popular competitor at the 1896 games, and was commonly referred to as the "Lion of Athens".

Later life

Flack returned to Australia and the family accounting firm in Melbourne in 1898, and purchased a property near Berwick, Victoria, where he stayed on weekends and bred Friesian cattle. Flack never competed for Australia again, but joined the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and was involved as a representative for Australia at the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress.cite web |url=http://www.casey.vic.gov.au/olympic/article.asp?Item=838 |title=25 things you probably didn't know about Edwin Flack|accessdate=2008-09-22 |work=City of Casey] Flack died in 1935 following an operation at a private hospital, and was cremated with his ashes interred at Berwick Cemetery.

Flack is commemorated by a bronze statue on the median strip of High St, Berwick, which was unveiled in 1998 by former running great and later Governor of Victoria, John Landy. The former Berwick Recreational Reserve was renamed "Edwin Flack Reserve" in 1996 to honour the town's first Olympic hero and medal winner, and includes several sporting grounds including an athletics track, an Australian rules football oval, netball courts and soccer pitch. Melbourne Grammar School's sporting complex at Port Melbourne has been named "Edwin Flack Park" in honour of their past student.

Flack was commemorated on a 45 cent Australian postage stamp in the Olympic centenary year of 1996. The AOC named one of streets alongside Stadium Australia at Homebush in Sydney, venue of 2000 Summer Olympics, as "Edwin Flack Avenue". Flack has been inducted into the Australian Sports and Athletics Hall of Fame.

References

External links

* [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080540b.htm ADB biography]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edwin Flack — Medaillenspiegel Mittelstreckenlauf, Tennis Australien  Australien Olympische Sommerspiele Gold …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edwin Flack — Teddy Flack Teddy Flack Pays représenté(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Flack — is a surname, and may refer to:;Persons *Audrey Flack (b. 1931), American painter and sculptor *Caroline Flack (contemporary), British television presenter *Edwin Flack (1873–1935), Australian Olympic athlete in track and field and tennis *John… …   Wikipedia

  • Flack — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Audrey Flack (* 1931), US amerikanische Malerin und Bildhauerin Edwin Flack (1873–1935), australischer Leichtathlet Layne Flack (* 1969), US amerikanischer Pokerspieler Lotte Flack (* 1994), deutsche… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Flack — /flæk/ (say flak) noun 1. Edwin Harold, 1873–1935, Australian middle distance runner; winner of Australia s first two Olympic gold medals in 1896. 2. Roberta, born 1937, US blues and jazz singer …   Australian English dictionary

  • Teddy Flack — Edwin Flack Palmarés Juegos Olímpicos Atletismo Oro Atenas 1896 1500 m …   Wikipedia Español

  • Olympische Sommerspiele 1896/Leichtathletik — Bei den I. Olympischen Sommerspielen 1896 in Athen wurden zwölf Wettbewerbe in der Leichtathletik ausgetragen. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste der Olympiasieger in der Leichtathletik/Medaillengewinner — Olympiasieger Leichtathletik Übersicht Alle Medaillengewinner Alle Medaillengewinnerinnen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Berwick, Victoria — Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb name = Berwick city = Melbourne state = vic caption = lga = City of Casey postcode = 3806 pop = 36,420 (2006) Census 2006 AUS|id=SSC21077|name = Berwick (State Suburb)|accessdate=2007 09 15|quick=on] area …   Wikipedia

  • Australia at the 1896 Summer Olympics — Infobox Olympics Australia games=1896 Summer competitors=1 sports=2 gold=2 silver=0 bronze=0 total=2One athlete from Victoria, a British colony which later formed part of Australia, competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Edwin… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.