Bill Carr
Bill Carr 1932.jpg
Carr playing tennis, 1932
Personal information
Birth nameWilliam Arthur Carr
National teamUnited States
Born(1909-10-24)October 24, 1909
Pine Bluff, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedJanuary 14, 1966(1966-01-14) (aged 56)
Tokyo, Japan
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania
Occupationcorporate executive
EmployerPrismo Safety Products
Sportoutdoor track and field
University teamPenn Quakers
Medal record

William "Bill" Arthur Carr (October 24, 1909 – January 14, 1966) was an American athlete and double Olympic champion in 1932.[1] Called the "Arkansas flyer," Carr never lost a race during his college and Olympic career.[2][3]

Early life and education

Carr was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.[4] His parents were Ann Holmes and William L. Carr, a traveling salesman with the Mann-Tankersley Drug Co.[1][5] He received his elementary school education at Lakeside School in Pine Bluff.[6]

He attended Pine Bluff High School in 1925.[7] In his freshman year, he joined the track team because he was too small for basketball or football.[7] He demonstrated skill at jumping, but he broke both ankles leaping over a bar and had resign late in the season.[3]

Carr was recruited back to the high school track team in 1927.[1] He received national attention at the spring state meet in Arkandelphia for his record–making high jump of 6.75 feet and a long jump of 21 feet 4 inches.[1] In addition to winning those two events, he came in second at the 100-yard sprint and 220-yard sprint.[1] In a prior track meet, he had already matched the Arkansas record in the 100-yard event.[1] As a result, national sports writers were calling him the top high school track star in the United States.[1]

A local banker convinced Carr to enroll in the Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania for 1928 in preparation for an Ivy League college.[1][2] There, he was coached by Jimmy Curran.[8] While he was at Mercersburg, they won the annual inter-scholastic track meet to become state champions.[9] Carr was the Pennsylvania champion in the 100-meter sprint, the 200-meter sprint, and the long jump, setting a state record for the latter.[1][9] He graduated from Mercersburg in the spring of 1929.[10]

Carr was recruited by the University of Pennsylvania and started there in 1929.[1] He was on the track team and served as its co-captain.[2] At Penn, he was a member of the Fraternity of Delta Psi (St. Anthony Hall) and a member of the Sphinx Senior Society.[2] He was president of the sophomore class and received the Golden Spoon as the "most outstanding, all-around student."[1] For three years, he received the Varsity Club scholarship "for scholastic excellence, character and athletic ability."[11] He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1933 with a B.S. in economics.[2]

Track and field

At the University of Pennsylvania, Carr was coached by 1904 Olympian Lawson Robertson who called him "the fastest Carr in America."[12] In college, he never lost the 400-meter sprint.[1] He also anchored the 1,600-meter relay team—which also never lost a competition during his college years.[1] His favorite events became the long jump, the 440-meter, and the 800-meter.[13]

He was the 1931 Amateur Athletic Union Indoor national champion in the 300-yards event.[14] At the 1932 Intercollegiate Championships (IC4A) championships in Berkeley California, Carr beat world-record holder Ben Eastman in the 440-yard dash, winning the IC4A 440-yard title for 1932.[14][1] His time was 47.0 seconds; Eastman's record was 46.4 seconds.[1] Carr was ranked number one in the world at the the end of the 1932 season.[14]

Several weeks later in Palo Alto, California, Carr again outran Eastman at the 1932 USA Outdoor Championships and 1932 United States Olympic trials (track and field).[14] In addition to making the United States Olympic team, Carr was also a favorite for the 400-meter gold medal at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.[13]

On August 4, 1932 in Los Angeles Olympics, Carr placed first in his semi-final 400-meter heat with a time of 47.2 seconds, breaking Eric Liddell’s world record time of 47.6 seconds from the 1924 Summer Olympics.[1] However, Eastman matched Liddell’s record in his semi-final heat, setting up a final Olympic race that The New York Times called the “400-meter race of the century."[1] In the final, Eastman led during most of the race, but Carr emerged victorious in the last 100-meters with a time of 46.2 seconds.[1] He had not only won a gold medal, but he also had set a world record.[1] A few days later, Carr won another gold medal as the anchor of the of the America's 4 × 400-meter relay team.[14] Although not schedule to complete, he substituted for Arnold Adams who had to withdraw due to an injury.[13] They set a new world record of 3:08.2.[15]

Back at college in 1933, Carr had a "lackluster" performance in the spring season.[1] On January 25, 1933, he announced that he would retire from track after the 1993 season.[11] He said, "I expect to be a member of the United States track and field team that will tour Europe next summer. When the team returns, my uniform and spiked shoes will be put away for good."[11] He planned on retiring so that he could focus on a new career in business.[11]

World Records

Event Time Date Competition Record held through Reference
400-meter 46.20 August 5, 1932 1932 Summer Olympics 1948 (tied) [14][7]
1,600-meter relay 3.08.20 August 7, 1932 1932 Summer Olympics [14]


Later life

On March 18, 1933, Carr was in a car accident that broke both his ankles and his right pelvis.[3] At the time of the two-car accident, he was standing on the car's running board.[3] He was in the hospital for four week and was not able to compete in track again.[3] He had a slight limp as a result of his injuries.[16]

In 1934, Carr started working for the Insurance Company of North America.[12] During World War II, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving as an officer in naval intelligence the Pacific Theater.[2][12] While there, he met his wife, Rachel Elizabeth Manasseh, in Shanghai, China.[1][12] She was a lecturer and writer about Oriental art.[12] They had one son, Alain.[12]

After the war, they lived in Japan where he became the Far Eastern general manager of the Insurance Company of North America.[1][12] Next, he worked for Pan-American World Airways as the general personnel manager.[12] He became the executive director of the International Center for overseas students in Midtown, New York.[12] He then moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was both vice president of the Prismo Safety Products, a Pennsylvania highway safety and building equipment company, and the Far East representative of the Potter Brothers, a highway building equipment dealer from New Jersey.[12][2]

In 1966, Carr died from congestive heart failure in Tokyo at the age of 56.[1] He was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Bearden, Russell E. "Bill Carr (1909–1966)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "William Arthur Carr". University Archives and Records Center. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Carr's Running Days at College Are Over" (PDF). The New York Times. March 19, 1933. p. 31. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  4. ^ "Carr is Buried in Simple Rights". The El Dorado Times (El Dorado, Arkansas). January 28, 1966. p. 6. Retrieved June 4, 2022 – via
  5. ^ "Wm. L. Carr, of Pine Bluff, Marries Miss Holmes of Beaumont". Pine Bluff Daily Graphic (Pine Bluff, Arkansas). August 2, 1903. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2022 – via
  6. ^ "Lakeside School". Pine Bluff Daily News (Pine Bluff, Arkansas). February 21, 1917. p. 7. Retrieved June 4, 2022 – via
  7. ^ a b c d "Carr Memorial Room". Pine Bluff and Jefferson County Library System. 2021. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "Heart Attack Fells Coach". The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania). February 7, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2022 – via
  9. ^ a b "Schoolboys Set Two New Marks". The Evening News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). May 19, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2022 – via
  10. ^ "Outdoor Track & Field - Boys - Varsity". Mercersburg Academy. 2021-07-21. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  11. ^ a b c d "Carr Will Retire after 1933 Season" (PDF). The New York Times. January 26, 1933. p. 21. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Bill Carr, Victor in 1932 Olympics" (PDF). The New York Times. January 15, 1966. p. 27. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "William Arthur "Bill" Carr". Sprintic magazine. 2011-07-16. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bill Carr". USA Track & Field. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  15. ^ Gould, Alan (AP) (August 7, 1932). "Iso-Hollo Wins Steeplechase Crown Easily". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "Bill Carr, Olympic Ace, is Peddling Insurance". Hope Star (Hope, Arkansas). March 9, 1937. p. 4. Retrieved June 4, 2022 – via