Arthur Robertson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameArthur James•Robertson
Used nameArthur•Robertson
Born19 April 1879 in Harthill, Sheffield, England (GBR)
Died18 April 1957 in Peterborough, England (GBR)
AffiliationsBirchfield Harriers, Birmingham (GBR)
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2


Arthur Robertson, the son of a Glasgow doctor who reached the closing stages of the “English Amateur Golf Championship” in 1885, was educated at Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow, before moving to King’s School, Peterborough, as a 14-year-old. At both schools, he was a brilliant all-round sportsman, and the school mile record he set at King’s in 1894 remained unbeaten for many years. On leaving school, Robertson concentrated on cycling and it was not until he was 25 that he began to take athletics seriously. Representing Peterborough AC, he finished fifth in the 1906 AAA mile and at the end of the season transferred to Birchfield Harriers. In 1907 he took part in four events at the AAA Championships, with second place in the steeplechase being his best performance. In March 1908, Robertson won the English and the International cross country titles, while second place in the AAA 4 miles in July earned him a place in the Olympics tam. At the Games, he won a gold medal in the 3-mile team race, in which he individually finished second, a silver medal in the steeplechase and was fifth in the 5 miles. He closed the Olympic season with a highly successful tour of Scandinavia, and on 13 September, running on a banked concrete cycle track in Stockholm, he set a world record of 15:01.2 for 5,000 metres. The following day, he failed by only 83 yards to better Walter George’s world 1-hour record. In 1909, Robertson finished second in both the 1-mile and the 4-miles at the AAA Championships and his final race came at the Glasgow Rangers Sports when he was only one second outside Alf Shrubb’s British record for 1½ miles. At the age of 30, after a track and cross-country career lasting only four years, he returned to cycling. Both his brothers were well-known cyclists; Jack competed in the 1900 Olympics, and his youngest brother, David, competed in the 1908 London Games. Arthur owned a sports shop in Peterborough for many years and the business was later taken over by his son.

Personal Bests: Mile – 4:23.4e (1909); 3 miles – 14:27.2 (1908); 5K – 15:01.2 (1908); 4 miles – 19:45.2 (1908); 6 miles – 30:26.0 (1908); 10K – 31:30.4 (1908); Hour – 18,479 metres (11 miles, 849 yards).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics GBR Arthur Robertson
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
5 miles, Men (Olympic) 5
3,200 metres Steeplechase, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
3 miles, Team, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 1 Gold

Olympic family relations