In the ten years prior to World War I, Len Hanson was acclaimed as the best English all-round gymnast. He started his career as a 14-year-old with Bradford St. James’s in 1902 before joining the famous Bradford All Saints club shortly afterwards. He was the Bradford individual champion in 1904 and, in the following two years, was runner-up in the Northern Counties Gymnastics Championship. He made his England international début in 1907 and the following year was third in the English Individual Championship on “home soil” at Bradford.
Hanson was the all-round individual Yorkshire champion in seven successive years from 1908-14. During that period, he also helped Bradford All Saints to win the Yorkshire team title on many occasions, and in 1911 led them to the final of the Adams Shield in the British Team Championship, where they lost to Birmingham Athletic Association.
During his reign as Yorkshire champion, Hanson appeared in the 1908 and 1912 Olympics, and in the later won a team bronze medal and was the highest placed Briton with 12th place in the individual competition. The 11 men above him were all crack Italian or French gymnasts. Hanson also won the English National Championship twice, in 1911 and 1913, and came within a whisker of a third title in 1912 when he was beaten by just 3½ points by Edward Potts, despite outscoring Potts on three of the four pieces of apparatus.
Hanson, who later became a gymnastics judge, served in World War I with the Duke of Wellington (West Riding) Regiment.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1908 Summer Olympics||Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics)||GBR||Len Hanson|
|Individual All-Around, Men (Olympic)||=85|
|1912 Summer Olympics||Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics)||GBR||Len Hanson|
|Individual All-Around, Men (Olympic)||12|
|Team All-Around, Men (Olympic)||Great Britain||3||Bronze|