track and field
One of America's top sprinters in the mid-1930s, Green was a lock to make the U.S. Olympic track and field team, but he refused to participate in the Olympic qualifying meet. An outstanding hurdler, he boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympics in support of the movement to have the U.S. boycott the Games, protesting the exclusion of Jewish athletes from the German team.
Green and his Harvard teammate, Norman Cahners, spoke to a rabbi prior to the U.S. Olympic trials and decided to boycott the Games. Shocked at what they heard about the atrocities committed by the Nazis, Green and Cahners refused to compete at the Trials, although their coach at Harvard tried to convince them otherwise. Green never regretted his boycott, although he attended three subsequent Olympiads and pictured himself winning the hurdles and long jump.
Harvard University's track captain in the mid-1930s, Green equaled the world record in the 45-yard high hurdles (5.8) four times in 1935 and 1936; he also set the world record in the 60-yard high hurdles in 1936. While at Harvard, he combined with fellow Jewish track star Norman Cahners to win six gold medals at the 1936 Harvard/Yale meet. The previous year, Green set the Harvard/Yale meet record in the broad jump (long jump); his jump of 24'11-1/4" is still third-best all-time in Harvard's history.
Green was elected to the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame in 1961, and is also a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984, at the age of 71, Green won six gold medals and four silver medals at the Florida Senior Olympics.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 31, 1913 - d. March 29, 2005
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)