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Thomas Hicks (athlete)

Thomas Hicks

Hicks at the 1904 Summer Olympics
Medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
1904 St. Louis Marathon

Thomas John Hicks (January 11, 1876-January 28, 1952[1][2]) was an American track and field athlete. He won the Olympic marathon in 1904.


Hicks, a brass worker from Cambridge, Massachusetts, was born in England. He was the winner of a remarkable marathon race at the 1904 Summer Olympics, held as part of the World Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

Conditions were bad, the course being a dirt track, with large clouds of dust produced by the accompanying vehicles. Hicks was not the first to cross the finish line, trailing Fred Lorz. However, Lorz had abandoned the race after 9 miles. After covering much of the course by car, he re-entered the race 5 miles before the finish. This was discovered by the officials, who disqualified Lorz, who claimed it had been a joke.

Had the race been run under current rules, Hicks would also have been disqualified: his assistants had given him a dose of 1/60 of a grain (roughly 1 mg) of strychnine[3] and some brandy because he was flagging badly during the race; the first dose of strychnine did not revive him for long, so he was given another. As a result, he collapsed after crossing the finishing line. Another dose might have been fatal. Strychnine is now forbidden for athletes.

Hicks finished second in the 1904 Boston Marathon, but dropped out during the following year's race.[4] On June 30, 1906, he finished three minutes ahead of Alexander Thibeau to win a marathon at an Amateur Athletic Union meet in Chicago (3:02).[5]

Hicks and supporters at the 1904 Summer Olympics


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ The New York Times, 29 July 2007
  4. ^ "A New Marathon Champion: Frederick Lorz of the Mohawk Athletic Club of New York Captured the Great Run in an Exciting Contest". Boston Evening Transcript (Boston). April 20, 1905. p. 4. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Chicago Marathon and Meet". American Gymnasia And Athletic Record (Boston: American Gymnasia Co.) 2 (11): 249. July 1906. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 

External links

  • profile
  • Tom Hicks' profile at Sports
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