Harold Abrahams

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Harold Maurice Abrahams, CBE, (15 December 1899 – 14 January 1978)[1] was a Jewish British athlete. He was Olympic champion in 1924 in the 100 metres sprint, a feat depicted in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.



Abrahams' father Isaac had emigrated to England from Russian Poland. He worked as a financier and settled in Bedford with his Welsh wife Ester.[1] Harold was born in Bedford, and was the younger brother of another British athlete, the Olympic long jumper Sir Sidney Abrahams. Another brother, Sir Adolphe Abrahams, became the founder of British sport medicine.

Harold was educated at Bedford School, Repton School[1] and then at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge from 1920 to 1924, before training as a lawyer. At Cambridge, he was a member of the Cambridge University Athletics Club (of which he was president 1922–1923)[2], Cambridge University Liberal Club[3] the Pitt Club[2], and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society.[4] Before going to Cambridge he served as a lieutenant in the British Army.[1]

A sprinter and long jumper since his youth, he continued to compete in sport while at Cambridge. He earned a place in the 1920 Olympic team,[1] but was eliminated in the quarter-finals of both the 100m and 200m, and finished 20th in the long jump.[1] He was also part of the British relay team that took fourth place in the 4 x 100 m.

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