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Profile - Jack Metcalfe

Jack Metcalfe - 1938

  • Born 03 February 1912
  • Australia/NSW

    Jack Metcalfe was one of Australia's greatest athletes during the 1930s.

    An all-round talent, he set a world record for the Triple Jump in 1935 and, the next year, won Australia's only medal at the Berlin Olympics.

    Metcalfe also won medals in Long Jump and Javelin at the Commonwealth Games and held the Australian High Jump record. 

    Additionally, he was a good hurdler and competent at shot and discus; twice winning the NSW Decathlon title.

    He later managed Australia's 1948 Olympic Athletics team and officiated during the Melbourne Games in 1956.


James P Metcalfe first came to attention in the early 1930s, winning four Sydney University titles before starring at the intervarsity championships.  In 1933, he twice broke the Australian High Jump record, while the following year - touring New Zealand - he broke Kiwi records for High Jump, Long Jump and Triple Jump.

Selected in the 1934 Empire Games team, Metcalfe won Gold in the Triple Jump, Bronze in the Long Jump and placed fourth in the High Jump.

Early in 1935, Metcalfe set a new Australian (residential) Triple Jump record of 50' 4 7/8, in Melbourne.  This mark only stood until the end of the year, when he smashed the World Record at the NSW Championships, leaping out to 51' 9 3/8, which added 2" to Tambu's previous record. 

Though Metcalfe missed the Australian Championships that year, he was an almost automatic selection in the Australian team for the Berlin Olympic Games.  At the Games he won Australia's only medal, in any sport, with a bronze in the Triple Jump behind Tajima of Japan.  Legend has it that Metcalfe gave Tajima some tips prior to competition and, as well as taking the Gold Medal, Tajima took Metcalfe's World Record in winning the final.

In 1937, Metcalfe won Australian Championships at Triple Jump and Javelin and was selected to represent Australia in these events, plus the High Jump and Long Jump, at the 1938 Sydney Empire Games.

At the Sydney Games, Metcalfe was the only Australian male to win a Gold Medal in athletics, successfully defending his Triple Jump title from local rival Lloyd Miller.  Metcalfe also took bronze in the Javelin and was fifth in the Long Jump and seventh in the High Jump.

He retired from top-level competition soon afterwards to concentrate on his studies.  Jack remained involved in local athletics though and offered to coach Decima Norman in the lead up to the 1940 Olympics (which were subsequently cancelled due to World War II).

After the war, Metcalfe was appointed Manager of the Australian Athletics Team at the 1948 London Olympics.     Later he became a member of the Organising Committee for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and refereed during the Athletics competition.

More about Jack Metcalfe - COMING SOON!!


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