Alfred Flaxman

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameAlfred Edward•Flaxman
Used nameAlfred•Flaxman
Born1 October 1879 in Darfield, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England (GBR)
Died1 July 1916 in Gommecourt, Pas-de-Calais (FRA)
AffiliationsSouth London Harriers, London (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


The son of a Yorkshire vicar, Alfred Flaxman’s mother died when he was just 1-year-old, after giving birth to his only sibling Samuel. In 1911 Alfred went to London and studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music but, at the same time, was starting to develop as an athlete and was to become a fine all-round competitor. Although of modest stature, he developed a fine physique through bodybuilding under the guidance of the great German trainer Eugen Sandow. He featured in the AAA hammer throw for 10 years (1905-14) and was the winner in 1910. He won the AAA pole vault in 1909, when he was the only competitor, and he placed in the first six in both the shot and discus at the Championships. He was also an above-average boxer and gymnast and, unusually for a specialist in the weight events, he was a talented violinist and artist.

His career is particularly well-documented in the writings of F. A. M. Webster who credits Flaxman with a Bohemian hammer record in excess of 150-0 (45.72) shortly before World War I, but no confirmation of this record can be traced. Webster, who served in the South Staffordshire Regiment with Flaxman, wrote that when they were stationed together at Etaples, “the men simply adored Flaxman.” Clearly, not all the officers were held in such high regard as it was in the Bull Ring at Etaples that the “Monocoled Mutineer,” Percy Toplis, began his notorious revolt. Captain Flaxman was killed in action in an attack on enemy positions at Gommercourt, France, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Personal Bests: PV – 2.93 (9-7½) (1909); DT – 39.05 (128-1½) (1915); HT – 42.67 (140-0) (1914).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Alfred Flaxman
Standing High Jump, Men (Olympic) AC
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) DNS
Discus Throw, Men (Olympic) AC
Discus Throw, Greek Style, Men (Olympic) AC
Javelin Throw, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) AC

Special Notes