Match sprint race today

Here’s one last picture from the photo page of the June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring two champion athletes.

Frank Wykoff (1909-1980) was an Olympic gold medal winner in the 4 x 100 relay in 1928, 1932, and 1936. He later became a teacher in Los Angeles. A slogan of his, “Clean Speech, Clean Sport, Clean Scholarship, Clean Life,” was adopted by the YMCA.

Searching for Olive Hatch was difficult because the search turned up a lot of fishing-related entries. I couldn’t find any entries on a swimmer by that name, but I did find an actress and writer named Olive Hatch who was about the right age. I have no way of knowing whether they are different people or whether the caption is wrong about this Ms. Hatch’s line of work.

Wykoff’s match sprint opponent, Percy Williams (1908-1982), became famous in Canada when he won the 100 and 200 metre dash events at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Approximately 25,000 people turned out to welcome him back home to Vancouver.

By the time of this match sprint, Williams was past his prime, having torn a tendon at the British Empire Games in 1930. In later years, he became an insurance agent.

Unfortunately, Williams’ life ended in tragedy:

  • In 1980, he gave away his gold medals to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, only to have them stolen a few weeks later.
  • Williams had been living with his mother all of his life (he never married), and she passed away in 1980 at the age of 92.
  • In 1982, Williams shot himself with a gun he had been awarded as a prize for his 1928 heroics. He left no note.

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