Arthur Wint

Published on August 9th, 2012

Arthur Stanley Wint (25 May 1920 – 19 October 1992) was the first Jamaican Olympic gold medalist, winning the 400 m at 1948 Summer Olympics.

Arthur Wint, known as the Gentle Giant, was born in Plowden, Manchester, Jamaica. While at Calabar High School, he ran the sprints and did both the high jump and long jump. He later later transferred to Excelsior High School and finished his secondary education there. In 1937 he was the Jamaica Boy Athlete of the year, the following year he won a gold medal in the 800 m at the Central American Games in Panama.

In 1942 he joined the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and set the Canadian 400 m record while training there. He was sent to Britain for active combat during the World War II as a pilot. He left the Royal Air Force in 1947 to attend St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a medical student.

In 1948 Wint won Jamaica’s first Olympic gold for the 400 m (46.2) in London, beating his team-mate Herb McKenley. In 800 m he won silver afterAmerican Mal Whitfield. He probably missed his third medal in London Games by pulling a muscle in the 4 x 400 m relay final.

In Helsinki 1952 he was part of the historic team setting the world record while capturing the gold in 4 x 400 m relay. He also won silver in 800 m, again coming second to Mal Whitfield.

He ran his final race in 1953 at Wembley Stadium, finished his internship, graduated as a doctor and the following year he was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1955 Wint returned to Jamaica eventually settling in Hanover as the only resident doctor in the parish. In 1973 he was awarded the Jamaica honour of the Order of Distinction. He served as Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Britain and ambassador to Sweden and Denmark from 1974 to 1978. He was inducted in the Black Athlete’s Hall of Fame in the US (1977), the Jamaica Sports Hall of Fame (1989) and the Central American & Caribbean Athletic Confederation Hall of Fame (2003).

Arthur Wint died on Heroes Day in Linstead, aged 72.

Olympic medal record
Competitor for Jamaica
Gold 1948 London 400 metres
Gold 1952 Helsinki 4×400 m relay
Silver 1948 London 800 metres
Silver 1952 Helsinki 800 metres

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