During the first half of the 20th century Isaac Westergren was one of the most important figures in Swedish sport, both as an athlete and as an entrepreneur. A talented sprinter, Westergren also was a skater, tennis player, and sailor, and competed in both the long jump and high jump.
At the end of the 19th century Westergren twice equalled the world-best time for the 100 metres, running 10.8 seconds in September 1898 and again in September 1899. The times remained unofficial as the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) did not ratify times until 1912. Westergren was the Swedish national champion in the 100 metres in 1899 and won bronze in the 4x100 metres relay in 1902. At the 1900 Paris Olympics he ran in the 60 metres, 100 metres, and the 100 metres with a handicap. Westergren’s best performance in Paris came in the latter event, reaching the semi-finals, but he did have a walkover in his heat.
With an early interest in sporting innovations Westergren helped to bring some of them into common use in Sweden, including the use of spiked running shoes and starting blocks. He helped to found the Kamraten Sports Association, serving as their chair from 1901 to 1902, before co-founding the Gästrikland Sports Association in 1907. Westergren was involved in the foundation of the National Sports Association, where he sat on its board from 1903 to 1913 and again from 1917 to 1923. During the 1920s he was also a member of the Swedish Olympic Committee, the Swedish Sports Association, and Sweden’s sports venue committee.
Ahead of the 1920 Antwerpen Olympics Westergren contributed a large sum of money from his own pocket to allow Sweden to send their best team to the Olympics. Under his leadership he led the reconstruction of the Strömvallen sports arena in Gävle from 1920 to 1923. From 1922 to 1924 Westergren served as the first chair of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.
Personal Best: 100 - 10.8 (1898).
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1900 Summer Olympics||Athletics||SWE||Isaac Westergren|
|60 metres, Men (Olympic)||AC h1 r1/2|
|100 metres, Men (Olympic)||4 h5 r1/3|
|100 metres, Handicap, Men (Olympic (non-medal))||3 h3 r2/3|