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Dan Flynn

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDaniel "Dan"•Flynn
Used nameDan•Flynn
Born4 November 1884 in Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland (GBR)
Died1980 in Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland (GBR)
AffiliationsPollokshaws CC, Glasgow (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Dan Flynn was certainly one of the more interesting of the 1908 British Olympians. Born of Irish parents in Glasgow, he was brought up in the Pollokshaws district of the city and went on to become a champion cyclist, heavyweight boxing champion, racehorse owner, and innovative bookmaker.

As a cyclist, Flynn competed in his first Scottish National Championship in 1902 and, two years later, reached the semi-final of the 2 km amateur sprint race at the World Championships at Crystal Palace. Also in 1904, he became the first Scottish cyclist to win an International event when he won the five-mile race at the British Empire Championships in Gosforth. At the same Championships in 1906 Flynn finished third in the five-mile, but beat the crack English riders, Ernie Payne and Ben Jones, to win the quarter-mile title. That same year, as a member of the Albert CC, Flynn confirmed his standing as the best Scottish cyclist of the day, when he won an unprecedented four Scottish titles, at a quarter-mile, and one-, five- and 10 miles. In 1908, and one month after competing in the Olympics, he won two more Empire titles when he won the quarter-mile and 10 mile titles when, in the latter, he beat Ben Jones and Clarrie Kingsbury. As well as winning National titles in Scotland and Ireland he travelled south of the border in 1911 to win the one-mile title at the British Championship at Crystal Palace.

Having turned to boxing in 1907, Flynn won the amateur heavyweight title of Scotland before turning professional in 1912. He had 10 bouts in a five year career, which was interrupted by the War, when he served, firstly, in the Flying Corps, before switching to the Army Service Corps. The best win of his professional career was in beating Dixie Kid on points over 10 rounds at the Scottish National Club, Glasgow, in 1912. Kid had previously beaten Georges Carpentier. Flynn also taught a good friend of his, Victor McLaglen, to box in readiness for a movie role. McLaglen won the Best Actor Oscar for his part in the 1935 film The Informer.

Flynn’s illustrious career continued after he became a leading Scottish bookmaker with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and London. He also sponsored horse races and owned several horses. At a time when bets were placed merely on the outcome of an event, Flynn became an innovator and would accept bets on other eventualities, which now form an essential part of modern day betting.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Cycling Track (Cycling) GBR Dan Flynn
Sprint, Men (Olympic) 4
Sprint, Men (Olympic) AC h2 r2/3
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 h1 r1/2
20 kilometres, Men (Olympic) AC h1 r1/2