Betty Robinson

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameElizabeth M. "Betty"•Robinson (-Schwartz)
Used nameBetty•Robinson
Born23 August 1911 in Riverdale, Illinois (USA)
Died18 May 1999 in Denver, Colorado (USA)
Measurements167 cm / 57 kg
AffiliationsICCW, Chicago (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 3


Babe Robinson ran her first race on March 30, 1928, finishing second to the U.S. record holder, Helen Filkey. In her second race she equalled the world 100m record of 12.0 and then went to Newark for the Olympic Trials. At the Trials she finished second to Elta Cartwright and at the Olympics, which was only the fourth meet at which she had ever competed, she beat the highly favored Canadians to take the 100m title and become America’s first woman track & field champion. On her return home, Robinson set a world record of 11.0 for 100y at Chicago in September, then in 1929 she won the 50y and the 100y at the AAU, setting a world record in the shorter sprint. In March 1931, she set world records for 60y (6.9) and 70y (7.9), but was then severely injured in a plane crash. Out of competition for 3½ years at the peak of her career, she made a brave comeback in 1936 and, although the injuries she sustained forced her to make a standing start at the Final Trials, she made the Olympic relay team and won a second gold medal. After her retirement she continued to take a keen interest in the sport and, as Mrs. Richard Schwartz, was an official AAU timekeeper for many years. She was also active as a public speaker, and was the first woman ever awarded a varsity “N” by her college, Northwestern.

Personal Best: 100 – 12.0w (1928).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Betty Robinson
100 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) United States 2 Silver
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Betty Robinson
4 × 100 metres Relay, Women (Olympic) United States 1 Gold