Robert David "Bob" Chambers (born November 16, 1926 in Santa Clara County, California, died November 6, 2010 in San Pedro, California) was an American track and field athlete known for running the half mile and 800 meters. Representing the USA, Chambers finished sixth at the 1948 Olympics.

While running for Los Gatos High School, Chambers ran the second fastest 880 in history (to that point in time) 1:54.4.[1] He was unable to run in the CIF California State Meet because it was cancelled during World War II.[2] Following his stint in the U.S. Navy for the war, he entered the University of Southern California in 1946. As a sophomore in 1948, he finished second in the 800 meters at the 1948 NCAA Track and Field Championships. A few weeks later he also finished third at the 1948 Olympic Trials. In the Olympic final, his two American teammates again finished ahead of him, led by gold medalist Mal Whitfield,[3][4] who had also beaten him at the NCAA and Olympic Trials.

After the Olympics Chambers, returned to USC leading the team to back to back NCAA Championships in 1949 and 1950, as team captain his senior year.

He went on to be the track coach at Los Angeles Pierce College. While at Pierce, Chambers invented a lane seeding formula for the Southern California Championships. It was adopted into the rules in 1970. The NCAA adopted the scheme a year later and by 1972 it became the standard by which the Olympics and other global competitions use for lane seeding.[5]

In 1954 he joined the Los Angeles County Lifeguards and remained a lifeguard for 34 years until 1988.[6][7]

He is a member of the Los Gatos High School Hall of Fame.[8]


  1. ^ "Nevada State Journal from Reno, Nevada on June 11, 1944 · Page 13". Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  2. ^ Garrod, Vince S. (2013-08-31). Gulchin' Out. ISBN 9781483683676.
  3. ^ "Bob Chambers Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Athletics at the 1948 London Summer Games: Men's 800 metres". Olympics at Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Bob Chambers '48 Olympian RIP". Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  6. ^ "In Memoriam: Bob Chambers, 83". 5 December 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  7. ^ Maguire, William (5 December 2010). "County Recurrent: L.A. City & LACo OL, Bob Chambers, R.I.P." Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Eleven more Los Gatos athletes join John Baggerly's Hall of Fame list". 3 February 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2017.