track and field
A member of the United States track and field team at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, Spring competed in the marathon. These first Games held in the United States were originally slated for Chicago and were held in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Louisiana Purchase. The marathon was run over dusty roads in extremely hot weather and the dust got even worse when automobiles passed the contestants. During the race, Spring started well and led the pack in the first few miles, but cramps caused him to fall towards the back as the race progressed. He did not finish the race, and in fact, only 14 of the 32 entrants crossed the finish line while many others were forced to stop due to vomiting, cramps, or other illness.
The 1904 Olympic marathon is noted not only for the lack of preparation by the officials (some of the roads had large rocks and other impediments that caused the runners trouble, and two contestants were chased by dogs), but it also may have been the most bizarre event of the St.Louis Games. Thomas Hicks, who won the marathon, was fed painkillers during the race. Fred Lorz, who dropped out after nine miles, was seen trotting back to the finish line to retrieve his clothes and was thought to have won the race; Lorz played along even through the medal ceremony, but his deception was discovered shortly afterwards.
Spring, a clerk from New York, won the 1904 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:39:04.4. Running for Pastime Athletic Club, Spring allowed Samuel Mellon (1902 champion) to build up a four minute lead by the 20-mile mark, but as Mellon faded, Spring took the lead in the final miles and won by over a minute. Spring had finished third at the Boston Marathon the year before; he did not finish the race in 1905.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 14, 1879 - d. March 1970
New York City
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)