Kenneth Powell

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKenneth•Powell
Used nameKenneth•Powell
Born8 April 1885 in Hampstead, England (GBR)
Died18 February 1915 in Ieper (Ypres), West-Vlaanderen (BEL)
AffiliationsUniversity of Cambridge, Cambridge (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Educated at Rugby School, Kenneth Powell was a fine all-round sportsman. He was honoured with the Victor Ludorum two years in succession for his athletic skills. He was captain of the rugby XV, a member of the school gymnastics team and reached the final of the public schools rackets competition in 1903. After going to King’s College Cambridge he became an athletics Blue (1905-08), and won the 120y hurdles vs. Oxford in 1907-08 and a Blue for lawn tennis (1905-07). A fellow member of the Cambridge University Lawn Tennis Club in 1905 was Wimbledon Champion, and fellow Olympian, Tony Wilding.

At the 1908 Olympics he played in the tennis singles and doubles in addition to running the hurdles. At the AAA Championships he had the remarkable record of placing in the first three for six successive years (1909-14) without ever winning the title. In 1907 he twice set British record (15.8/15.6) and in the 1912 Olympic final he was an early leader but faded in the later stages. Powell competed at Wimbledon eight times between 1905-13 and his best finish in the singles was in 1913 when he reached the quarter-final before losing in four set to the German Oskar Kreuzer, the 1912 Olympic bronze medallist. Powell reached the doubles final in 1910, however, with Bobby Powell (Canada), but lost in straight sets to the strong pairing of his fellow Briton Major Ritchie and New Zealander Wilding. At Queen’s Club in 1908, Powell beat Ritchie to capture the London Championship, although Ritchie was forced to retire in the second set.

On leaving Cambridge he joined the family firm of leather factors in London but, on the outbreak of the War joined the Honorary Artillery Company as a private, having previously served with the Territorials. He was posted to France on 18 September 1914 and the following February died of wounds received in action.

Personal Best: 110H – 15.3 (1912).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Kenneth Powell
110 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 2 h5 r1/3
Tennis GBR Kenneth Powell
Singles, Men (Olympic) =26
Doubles, Men (Olympic) Walter Crawley =4
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Kenneth Powell
110 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 5

Special Notes