Tom Burke

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameThomas Edmund "Tom"•Burke
Used nameTom•Burke
Born15 January 1875 in Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
Died14 February 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
Measurements183 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsEast Boston AAA, East Boston (USA) / Boston AA, Boston (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Of the six Americans to win Olympic track and field titles in 1896, Tom Burke was perhaps the only one who would still have been crowned a champion if all the world’s best athletes had been assembled in Athens. At the Athens Olympics, he completely dominated both sprints and was never seriously threatened in the heats or the final of either event. Having won the AAU 440y in 1895, he was the only reigning American champion to compete in Athens. He won the AAU again in 1896 and 1897, and in 1898 took the 880y. His winning time of 48.8 in the 1896 440y had been bettered only by the legendary Lon Myers among Americans. At the IC4A, Burke won the 440y in 1896 and 1897 for Boston University, and in 1899 he took the 880y when he was a graduate student at Harvard. He also represented the New York AC and in 1897 was a member of their relay team which won the first AAU championship. Tom Burke set up a law practice in Boston and was also a journalist, writing first for the Boston Journal and later the Boston Post. He served briefly as track coach at Mercersburg Academy.

Personal Bests: 100 – 11.8 (1896); 440y – 48.8 (1896).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1896 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Tom Burke
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
400 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
800 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS