Jack Lovelock

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameJohn Edward "Jack"•Lovelock
Used nameJack•Lovelock
Born5 January 1910 in Crushington, Timaru, Canterbury (NZL)
Died28 December 1949 in Brooklyn, New York, New York (USA)
Measurements169 cm / 61 kg
AffiliationsUniversity of Oxford, Oxford (GBR) / Achilles Club, (GBR)
NOC New Zealand
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Jack Lovelock was multi-talented as a boy, competing for Timaru Boys’ High School in rugby, cricket, boxing, tennis, swimming, fives, and athletics. In 1930, while studying medicine at the University of Otago, he placed fourth at the New Zealand AAA mile championship. In 1931 he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Exeter College, Oxford. While there he competed for the Oxford Athletic Club, setting a British all-comers mile record of 4:12.0, and a world record for 1,320 yards of 3:02.4. After competing at the 1932 Olympics, in an Oxbridge vs. Princeton/Cornell meet, Lovelock broke the world mile record with 4:07.6. In 1934 he won the mile gold medal at the British Empire Games and was favored at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where he won the Olympic gold medal in one of the great 1,500 metre races ever run, breaking the world record with 3:47.8.

Lovelock had graduated from Oxford with a medical degree and settled in the United States where he practiced at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, after serving in the Royal Medical Corps during World War II. Lovelock tragically died in 1949, when he suffered a dizzy spell and fell on subway tracks in New York, where he was hit by a moving train. His Victory Oak from the Berlin Olympics was planted at Timaru Boys’ School in New Zealand where it survives as a nationally protected landmark.

Personal Bests: 1500 – 3:47.8 (1936), Mile – 4:07.6 (1933).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics NZL Jack Lovelock
800 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 7
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics NZL Jack Lovelock
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1936 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony NZL Jack Lovelock

Special Notes