David Jacobs
David Jacobs in 1913
Personal information
Born30 April 1888
Cardiff, Wales
Died6 June 1976 (aged 88)
Llandudno, Conwy, Great Britain
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight70 kg (154 lb)
Event(s)100–400 m
ClubHerne Hill Harriers, Mitcham
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 10.8 (1912)
200 m – 21.9e (1912)
440 yd – 49.9e (1913)[1][2]

David Henry Jacobs (30 April 1888 – 6 June 1976) was a Welsh-born track and field sprinter.[3] He was the first British Jew to win an Olympic gold medal.[4]

He was born in Cardiff, to John Jacobs (previously Yaakov), who was a general dealer from London. His athletics career started in London with Herne Hill Harriers in 1908.[4] His interest in athletics was aroused by watching the 1908 Olympic Games.

At the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Jacobs won a gold medal as the first leg in the British 4 × 100 m relay team, in spite of finishing second behind the United States in the semifinals. The United States was later disqualified for a fault in passing the baton, the same mistake made in the finals by the world record holder and main favourite German team.

Jacobs also competed in the 100m and 200m individual events, but was eliminated in the semifinals.[1]

Although many times a Welsh champion, Jacobs never succeeded in winning a AAA title. He retired from active sport after World War I.[1]

He died suddenly in Aberconwy, aged 88, while on holiday from his London home. His body was returned to London, where he was buried in a Jewish cemetery,[4] at East Ham. At the time of his death he was Britain's oldest Olympic gold medalist.[1][5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d David Jacobs. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ David Jacobs. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ "David Jacobs". Olympedia. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b c William D. Rubinstein; Michael Jolles; Hilary L. Rubinstein, eds. (2011). "Jacobs, David Henry". The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 465. ISBN 9781403939104.
  5. ^ "David Henry Jacobs, Gold Medallist at the Olympics". The US. 25 July 2012.