Meyer, Alvah : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Meyer, Alvah

Alvah T. Meyer

track and field

Country Represented:
United States

Years Competed:

Medals Received:

Olympic Info:
An American sprinter at the 1912 Stockholm Games, Meyer competed in both the 100-meter and 200-meter events. A favorite in the 100-meter sprint, Meyer did not disappoint his fans, winning his preliminary heat "without any apparent effort." After winning his second-round heat in 10.7 seconds, Alvah competed in one of the most nerve-wracking finals in the history of track and field. Time and again, the athletes broke off at the word "Ready" without waiting for the gun to start the race. There were eight false starts before the field started cleanly and Meyer finished in 10.9 seconds to capture the silver medal; he was only 0.1 seconds (60 cm) behind the winner.

Meyer also competed in the 200-meter sprint at the Games, but did not have the same success as in the 100-meter. In his preliminary heat, there was only one other runner and Alvah easily won the race in 24.1. The second round proved to be more difficult, however, because like the 100-meter, only one runner from each race advanced to the final. Unfortunately for Meyer, fellow American Donald Lippincott (100-meter bronze medalist) was in his heat. Meyer trailed his countryman at the turn and while he remained close, he was outdistanced at the finish and did not advance to the final.

Career Highlights:
Meyer, who competed for the Irish Amateur Athletic Club in New York (as did Abel Kiviat), won the U.S. Indoor Championship in the 60-meter in 1911 (6.6) and the 75-meter in 1914 (7.6). In 1914, Meyer also set the world record in the 60-yard with a time of 6.4, and the following year, he broke the 300-yard record with a time of 32.2. At the 1912 National AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Championships, he won the gold medal in the the 220-yard sprint (21.8), clinching his spot on the Olympic team. A poor showing at the Eastern Olympic Trials, however, caused him to be named as an alternate, provided that he could pay his own way (about $350) to Stockholm.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 18, 1888 - d. 1950s

New York City

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Jewish Almanac, edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins (New York: Bantam Books, 1980)
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)