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Johnnie Matthews

Biographical information

Medals IG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games, Competed in Intercalated Games
Full nameThomas John "Johnnie"•Matthews
Used nameJohnnie•Matthews
Born16 August 1884 in Kensington, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died20 October 1969 in Ashford, Kent, England (GBR)
Measurements177 cm / 67 kg
AffiliationsMarlborough CC, Islington (GBR) / Polytechnic C.C., Westminster (GBR)
NOC(s) Great Britain


At the time of the 1908 Olympics, Johnnie Matthews of Marlborough AC and Polytechnic CC and Arthur Rushen of Putney CC were a new and untried tandem pairing and their defeat of the well-tuned German brothers, Max Götze and Bruno Götze, was one of the surprises of the Games. The Olympic final was postponed by one day as the program had fallen far behind schedule and the British pair objected to riding in semi-darkness. Their protest proved to be well justified as, in daylight, they beat the Germans by 20 yards. On their return from Athens, Matthews and Rushen won the NCU tandem title, the only national championship that either of them ever won, and they set a number of British records. The best of these, a time of 49.2 seconds for the half-mile standing start (unpaced) remained on the books for many years. For the 1908 Olympics, Matthews teamed up with the great Leon Meredith and Rushen joined John Barnard, who later married Matthews’ sister, but neither pair reached the Olympic final. The partnership between Matthews and Meredith was not a happy one; they disagreed over tactics at the Olympics and at the world championships in München shortly after the Games, and Meredith left Matthews without a ride when he withdrew from the tandem event in order to concentrate on the 100 km. race. At the last minute, George Summers stood in for Meredith and Matthews and Summers took the world title, although the 1908 tandem event is not always recognized as an official world championship. Summers and Matthews had never ridden together before and were never to do so again. After his retirement from cycling, Johnnie Matthews gave up his work as a carpenter and took over a cyclists’ tea house at Cippenham, near Slough, which became a popular meeting place for London club cyclists. He later became a publican in Kent before finally retiring in 1944.


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1906 Intercalated Games Cycling Track (Cycling) Sprint, Men Intercalated 2 h3 r1/4 Representing Great Britain    
  333⅓ metres Time Trial, Men Intercalated =8
  Tandem Sprint, 2,000 metres, Men Intercalated Arthur Rushen 1 Gold
  5,000 metres, Men Intercalated 2 h3 r3/3
  20 kilometres, Men Intercalated AC h3 r1/2
1908 Summer Olympics Cycling Track (Cycling) Sprint, Men Olympic 3 h2 r1/3 Representing Great Britain    
  Tandem Sprint, 2,000 metres, Men Olympic Leon Meredith 2 h2 r2/3

Olympic family relations