Although he had been the California sprint champion for the previous three years, Charley Paddock first achieved international recognition with a double victory at the Inter-Allied Games in Paris in 1919. Paddock was a lieutenant in the artillery at the time, and when he returned home he became the most famous track athlete of the twenties. He had a bouncing stride, high knee action and a famous “jump finish”. He always wore silk when he ran and, in addition to being a successful journalist, he was his own publicity manager. He thus presented an aura which endeared him to the sporting public and, to satisfy his admirers, he frequently set world records at a variety of odd and seldom contested distances. Paddock had a wonderful record in more traditional competition, as well. He won five AAU titles and officially equalled the world 100y record of 9.6 five times. Early in 1921 he ran 10.4 for 100 m to equal the world record, but his finest performance came two months later when he clocked 10.2 for 110 y (100.58 m) although this was not accepted as a world record because he had run more than 100m. Paddock was a Southern Cal graduate (‘23) who appeared in several movies-usually playing himself. He was later portrayed in the Oscar-winning film, “Chariots of Fire”, as the brash American – not totally untrue. Paddock was killed in an air crash over Alaska while serving as a captain in the Marines.
Personal Bests: 100 – 10.2 (1921); 200 – 21.0 (1923).