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Robert Kerr (athlete)

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Title: Robert Kerr (athlete)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 200 metres, Athletics at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metres, Canada at the 1908 Summer Olympics, Canada at the 1904 Summer Olympics, List of Olympic medalists in athletics (men)
Collection: 1882 Births, 1963 Deaths, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1904 Summer Olympics, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1908 Summer Olympics, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, Canadian Expeditionary Force Officers, Canadian Male Sprinters, Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Inductees, Canadian People of Ulster-Scottish Descent, Irish Emigrants to Canada (Before 1923), Medalists at the 1908 Summer Olympics, Olympic Bronze Medalists for Canada, Olympic Competitors from Ireland Who Represented Other Countries, Olympic Gold Medalists for Canada, Olympic Medalists in Athletics (Track and Field), Olympic Track and Field Athletes of Canada, People from Enniskillen, Sportspeople from County Fermanagh, Sportspeople from Hamilton, Ontario
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Robert Kerr (athlete)

Robert Kerr

Medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for  Canada
Olympic Games
1908 London 200 metres
1908 London 100 metres

Robert "Bobby" Kerr (June 9, 1882 – May 12, 1963) was an Irish Canadian sprinter. He won the gold medal in the 200 metres and the bronze medal in the 100 metres at the 1908 Summer Olympics.


Kerr was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, present-day Northern Ireland, but his family immigrated to Canada when he was five, eventually settling in Hamilton.[1] While working as a fireman, Kerr also enjoyed running in his spare time. He soon became the best regional sprinter, and in 1904 he used his savings to travel to Saint Louis, United States and compete in the 1904 Summer Olympics. There, he was eliminated in the heats of all three events he entered (60 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres).

However, Kerr's performances got better, and he set Canadian records in all sprint distances between 40 and 220 yards. He won Canadian titles in the 100 yards (1907) and 200 yards (1906 to 1908). In 1908, Kerr travelled to England, where he competed in the British Championships, winning both the 100 and 200 yards. At the 1908 Summer Olympics, held in London, Kerr was considered to be somewhat of a home favourite by the crowd, as they saw him as a representative of the British Empire. He greatly improved on his Olympic performances of 1904, placing for the final of the 100 and 200 metres. In the 100 metres, he finished in third (behind South Africa's Reggie Walker and the United States' James Rector) with a time of 11.0 seconds. In the final of the 200 metres, held the next day, Kerr crossed the line first with a time of 22.6 seconds. News of his victory set off celebrations in his home town Hamilton.

During the First World War, Kerr became an officer with the 205th (Tiger) Battalion, CEF, which was also known as the Sportsmen's Battalion because many of its members were prominent local athletes. When that unit was disbanded, he was transferred to the 164th (Halton and Dufferin) Battalion, CEF and eventually was assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion, CEF.

After his sprinting career, Kerr remained active in sports. He coached the athletics and 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton.

Kerr died in Hamilton, aged 80. A park in his home town was named in his honour.


  1. ^ "Tigertown Triumphs" (Press release). The Hamilton Spectator-Memory Project (Souvenir Edition) page MP56. 2006-06-10. 
  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report. London: British Olympic Association. 
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Athletics 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved 15 July 2006. 
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polski). Retrieved 15 July 2006. 
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