Golden Scots: Henry Macintosh, 100m relay winner

Great Britain 4 x 100m relay team, 1912 Olympic Games

Kelso-born Henry Macintosh ran to gold in 1912 with the Great Britain men's 4 x 100m relay team.

Born in 1892, Macintosh was educated at Glenalmond Collegeexternal-link and Corpus Christi College,external-link Cambridge, where he represented the university on the athletics track.

Poor form in university and amateur competitions had dogged Macintosh before travelling to Stockholm for the 1912 Olympic Games.external-link


Early omens for his 1912 Games were not good. Macintosh was eliminated in the first round of the 100m and did not finish in the semi-final of the 200m.

There was another route to a medal open to him. Alongside D. H. Jacobs, V. H. A.d'Arcy and W. R. Applegarth, Macintosh was a member of the GB 4 x 100m relay team.

In the second round of the relay heats, Great Britain had finished second the United States.

An error passing the baton between the first and second leg runners led to the disqualification of the USA team, meaning Great Britain secured a place in the final.

The three-way 4 x 100m final was contested between Great Britain, Sweden and Germany on 9 July, 1912, with Macintosh running the second leg for the British team.

Poor baton passing again meant the world record holders, Germany, who had been hotly tipped to win, were disqualified.

Problems with the baton also meant Sweden lost valuable time.

The official report reported, "Möller fumbled the pass very badly, however, so that d'Arcy was not only able to make good the ground lost, but also to get a most useful lead of a metre."

Clinging on to their lead, the Official Report of the 1912 Games recorded, "Great Britain broke the worsted a decimetre or two in front".external-link

Macintosh and his team-mates had fought and won the track gold medal for the 4 x 100m relay.

After Stockholm

The Olympic Movementexternal-link records the official time for the GB team at Stockholm in 1912 as 43.60 seconds.

Currently, the Olympic recordexternal-link rests with the Jamaican team who ran at Beijing in 2008. That team, which included Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, ran the distance in 37.10.

The son of the Rev William Macintosh and Annie Macintosh of Kinross, Henry Maitland Macintosh was commissioned as a captain into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during World War One.

On 26 July, 1918, at the age of 26, Macintosh died in France from wounds sustained during the Second Battle of the Somme. He is buried in Senlis French National Cemetery.external-link

Golden Scots

The Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912 were fruitful in terms of gold medals for Scotland.

In addition to Macintosh, Angus Gillan and Philip Fleming won as part of the coxed eights team, Robert Murray winning gold in rifle shooting, 'Wally' Kinnear in single sculls and George Cornet took his second water polo gold. Swimmer Isabella Moore also took gold in the 4 x 100m relay.

Find the stories of other Golden Scots via this link.

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