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Roland Hardy

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameRoland•Hardy
Used nameRoland•Hardy
Born11 June 1926 in Sheepbridge, Derbyshire, England (GBR)
Died14 June 2016 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England (GBR)
AffiliationsSheffield United Harriers, Sheffield (GBR)
NOC Great Britain

Biography

Roland Hardy was the third of eight children and was a keen sportsman, representing his school at both football and cricket and it was as a footballer that he caught the eye of Sheffield United manager Teddy Davison who signed the youngster but two years National Service in the Royal Artillery ended his footballing career before it had really begun. After his demobilization Hardy was talked into taking up race walking in April 1949 at the age of 22 and within two months of taking up the sport had joined the Sheffield United Harriers and won the prestigious 12-mile Sheffield Star Walk, breaking the old record by 53 seconds. He soon gained a reputation for being an excellent walker and was regularly beating more senior members in the sport.

Competing in a 10,000 metres event at the White City in August 1951 Hardy knocked nine seconds off Harry Churcher’s world 5-mile record with a time of 35:24. Breaking records was second nature to Hardy who knocked 43 seconds off the British 7-mile record at the Inter-Counties Championship at the White City exactly one year after breaking the world record and in the process he reduced his own world 5-mile record by a further nine seconds. Hardy was then selected to represent Great Britain at the 1952 Olympics and with just four laps to go in his 10,000 metres heat he was disqualified for “lifting” when lying third.

Roland Hardy won the AAAs 2-mile championship three times between 1950-52 and the 7-mile title in 1950-53 and 1955. He won the Road Walking Association’s 20-mile title in 1956 and the 10-mile title five years in succession, 1950-55, knocking 83 seconds of the record time in 1951. He also won the CAU individual road walking title three times between 1954-56 and was selected for his second Olympics at Melbourne in 1956, finishing a commendable eighth in the 20km.

An engineering fitter for most of his working life. Roland carried on walking competitively and for fun into his 40s and on his retirement enjoyed playing crown green bowls to a very high club standard. He was also a keen gardener.

Personal Bests: 10kmW – 43:43 (1952); 20kmW – 1-34:41 (1956).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Roland Hardy
10 kilometres Walk, Men (Olympic) AC h1 r1/2
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Roland Hardy
20 kilometres Walk, Men (Olympic) 8