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Theo Phelan

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameTheodore Denis "Theo"•Phelan
Used nameTheo•Phelan
Born12 September 1908 in Clonmel (IRL)
Died7 April 1970 in Dublin (IRL)
AffiliationsUCD, Dublin (IRL)
NOC Ireland


Theo Phelan studied at Mount Sion CBS and University College Dublin, from which he earned a medical degree. With Bob Tisdall, he dominated Irish hurdling in the early 1930s, with Phelan winning four 120 yard hurdle titles at the Irish University Championships. He also played wing for the UCD rugby team. Phelan won the Irish triple jump title in 1928, and the 120 yard hurdle title in 1931, and 1933-34.

In 1933, Theo joined the British Royal Army Medical Corps and was based in many countries during his military career. He was awarded an OBE in 1943, and was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1948. While stationed in Egypt in the 1930s he competed in athletics, winning several meets and setting a new Egyptian record for the 120 yard hurdles. After 20 years in the Army, he retired in 1953 and returned to Dublin to work in Hume Street Hospital, and later in Stewart’s Hospital in Palmerstown, Dublin. Phelan was also an accomplished golfer at Hermitage Golf Club, Dublin and a top ranking bridge player.

Personal Best: TJ – 14.25 (1928).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Athletics IRL Theo Phelan
Triple Jump, Men (Olympic) 19 r1/2