track and field
Stoller was a member of the United States track and field team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and was scheduled to compete in the 4x100-meter relay. On the morning of the preliminary heats, which happened to be his 21st birthday, Stoller was removed from the American relay. Many believe that anti-Semitism played a major part in the removal of Stoller and Marty Glickman from the relay team as a craven attempt of 'Hitler appeasing' diplomacy.
USOC Chair Avery Brundage's official, (though utterly false) explanation was that the Germans had reportedly concealed a pair of exceptional sprinters for the relay, and therefore the American team needed to deploy more experienced runners for the event, despite the fact that the U.S. team was the prohibitive favorite. However, there were no 'secret' German runners and the German team did not medal in the 4x100-meter relay.
The removal of Glickman and Stoller was only time that healthy, first-string, rule-abiding American athletes (as opposed to alternates -- who technically aren't members of the Olympic team until they actually compete) had made the trip to the Olympics but were not allowed to compete in the Games
In the mid-1930s, Stoller was one of the best sprinters in United States. Sam ran the 100-yard dash in an incredible 9.8 seconds at the age of 15!He then attended the University of Michigan, where he was Jesse Owens' biggest rival in the Big Ten (Owens attended Ohio State). While in college, Stoller and Owens did not particularly like each other. In one race in May, 1936, Owens got out to a lead for the first time in his career against Stoller, who was an extremely strong starter, but then Stoller got a lead on Owens 20 yards into the race for the first time in his career (Owens had been known to pass Stoller in the middle of the race). Stoller ended up losing anyway, and Owens turned to him afterwards and spewed a simple taunt. "Thanks," he said. Following the 1936 Olympics, Stoller returned to Michgan and won the 1937 NCAA Championship in the 100-yard dash with a time of 9.7.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Aug. 8, 1915 - d. 1983
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)