Norm Taber

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameNorman Stephen "Norm"•Taber
Used nameNorm•Taber
Born3 September 1891 in Providence, Rhode Island (USA)
Died15 July 1952 in Orange, New Jersey (USA)
Measurements174 cm / 52 kg
AffiliationsBrown Bears, Providence (USA)
NOC United States


Although better known as a miler, Norm Taber won his Olympic gold medal in the 3,000 m team race in which he individually placed third. He finished third in the 1910 IC4A mile for Brown and, after giving track a miss in 1911, his early season form in 1912 augured well for his Olympic chances. One week after dead-heating with John Paul Jones for the 1911 IC4A mile title, Taber pushed Abel Kiviat to a world 1,500 m record at the Final Trials and, with an estimated 3:56.4, Taber was himself inside the old record. In the Olympic 1,500 m the U.S. provided seven of the 14 finalists, but none of them could match the home stretch drive of Arnold Jackson of Britain and Taber lost second place to Kiviat in a photo-finish.

At the end of 1913, Taber went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, but failed to make any impact on the sport in Britain. He was, however, on the Oxford team for the 4×one-mile relay at the 1914 Penn Relays where he ran a disastrous leg, having been up the previous night getting engaged. Taber’s final year in track was 1915 and in a paced trial at Harvard he ran the 1,500 m in 3:55.0 and went on to reach the mile in 4:12.6. Both times were world records and his mile time beat Walter George’s record of 4:12¾, which had been set five years before Taber was born. Despite objections to his use of pacemakers in the race, the IAAF ratified the time as the official mile record.

After graduation, Taber established himself as an expert on municipal finance and he formed his own company which specialized in this field. He assisted with the development of President Truman’s Marshall Plan. Taber later became a Life Trustee of Brown University.

Personal Bests: 880y – 1:55.6 (1913); 1500 – 3:55.0 (1915); Mile – 4:12.6 (1915); 3000 – unknown.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Norm Taber
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
3,000 metres, Team, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold

Special Notes