Percy Williams

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Percy Alfred Williams, OC (May 19, 1908 – November 29, 1982) was a Canadian athlete, winner of the 100 m and 200 m races at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Williams was born in Vancouver and he died in Vancouver.

Williams surprised many when he won the Canadian trials and was sent out to the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam at age 20. To his surprise, he found out that he could easily advance to the final of the 100 m event. A good start in the final gave Williams the early advantage to win the race. He repeated his performance in the 200 m to come home with two gold medals - cheered by thousands of enthusiastic Canadians. He was also a member of the Canadian team which was disqualified in the final of the 4×100 metre relay contest.

He showed that his success was not an accident, winning the 100 yard dash at the inaugural British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and setting a World Record in 1930.

A pulled thigh muscle suffered while setting the world record at the British Empire Games stopped his successes.[1] He never made a full comeback. At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100 metre event. With the Canadian team he finished fourth in the 4×100 metre relay competition. Subsequently, Williams stopped running and became an insurance agent.

In 1979 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Williams lived with his mother until she died in 1977. After that, he lived alone and suffered in constant arthritic pain. Percy Williams committed suicide in 1982. [2]


1896: Tom Burke (USA)  • 1900: Frank Jarvis (USA)  • 1904: Archie Hahn (USA)  • 1908: Reggie Walker (RSA)  • 1912: Ralph Craig (USA)  • 1920: Charlie Paddock (USA)  • 1924: Harold Abrahams (GBR)  • 1928: Percy Williams (CAN)  • 1932: Eddie Tolan (USA)  • 1936: Jesse Owens (USA)  • 1948: Harrison Dillard (USA)  • 1952: Lindy Remigino (USA)  • 1956: Bobby Joe Morrow (USA)  • 1960: Armin Hary (GER)  • 1964: Bob Hayes (USA)  • 1968: Jim Hines (USA)  • 1972: Valeri Borzov (URS)  • 1976: Hasely Crawford (TRI)  • 1980: Allan Wells (GBR)  • 1984: Carl Lewis (USA)  • 1988: Carl Lewis (USA)  • 1992: Linford Christie (GBR)  • 1996: Donovan Bailey (CAN)  • 2000: Maurice Greene (USA)  • 2004: Justin Gatlin (USA)  • 2008: Usain Bolt (JAM)

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