William Robbins

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam Corbett•Robbins
Used nameWilliam•Robbins
Born9 August 1885 in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)
Died23 February 1963 in Washington, District of Columbia (USA)
AffiliationsI-AAC, Queens, New York (USA)
NOC United States


William Robbins was part of the controversial 1908 400 metre final. John Carpenter (USA) entered the home straight with Wyndham Halswelle (GBR) at his shoulder, but at this point, Carpenter, in order to prevent Halswelle from passing him, moved progressively farther towards the outside of the track, forcing Halswelle to within 18 inches of the outside curb. By this time the British officials had seen enough and Dr. Arthur Roscoe Badger, the judge on the final bend, ran up the track signaling the judges to break the tape. Carpenter crossed the line in an unofficial 48.4, while Halswelle slowed to a jog. After a lengthy inquiry on the evening the race, Carpenter was disqualified and the race was ordered to be re-run two days later, in lanes, but without Carpenter. Robbins and John Taylor (USA) refused to compete in the re-race, and Halswelle won the gold medal in a walkover.

Robbins competed for Harvard, but it is unclear why he was chosen for the Olympic Team in 1908. He did not compete in any of the 1908 Regional Olympic Trials and he has no record for Harvard in the IC4As or in the Yale match. After the Olympics, however, Robbins won the Metropolitan AAU 440 yds title in September 1909, and he was part of the Irish-American Athletic Club relay team that broke the world record for the 4x440 yd relay, recording 3:20.6.

Personal Best: 400 – 48.3y (1909).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics USA William Robbins
400 metres, Men (Olympic) AC r3/3