Billy Savidan

(1901 - 1991)

Billy Savidan
New Zealand had some great runners in the 20s and 30s — Lovelock pre-eminent, Randolph Rose, Cecil Matthews and Savidan.

At the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Savidan was fourth in both the 5000 and 10,000 metres, significant feats in themselves but he was best known for winning the six miles at the inaugural Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1930.

It was more the manner of his win than the fact of it. He raced away from the field and appeared to win comfortably, only to be told when he’d stopped that there was still a lap to run.

An Englishman, Ernest Harper, was closing rapidly when Savidan re-entered the race. “From one of my easiest races it turned into my hardest,” he said.

He held off Harper on the final lap and staggered to the dressing room. “I saw black and collapsed for the first time in my life.”
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Available to buy online from the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame...


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