Jack (John Edward) Lovelock, 1910-1949, was
At the 1936 Olympics, in front of a crowd of 120,000 and Adolf Hitler, Lovelock demonstrated his trademark ‘Lovelock kick’ to accelerate to the lead in the 1500m race with 300m to go. Carving out a 5m lead, the rest of the frontrunners were unable to catch him.
The race has come to be widely regarded as one of the greatest of races of the modern Olympics.
Lovelock’s time of 3:47.8 was a new world record, shattering that of 1904 and only being broken once since in 1960. Equivalent to a 4:04.8 mile, it showed that a sub 4 minute mile was possible.
Like many New Zealanders who find themselves propelled to fame, Lovelock showed a reticence in public, but in his diary of that day in 1936 he allowed himself a rare moment of ebullience: "It was undoubtedly the most beautifully executed race of my career, a true climax to 8 years of steady work, an artistic creation."
Lovelock brought a more scientific & psychological approach to training and competitive racing. For example, he kept detailed training and nutritional records and monitored his physiological condition. But this scientific approach did not curb or mask the fact that he clearly loved running.
He was to prove an inspiration to a lineage of
Coupled with his athletic accomplishments, Lovelock had distinguished himself academically while growing up in New Zealand. A Rhodes Scholar, he studied medicine at
Sadly, Lovelock’s life was short. Just days before his 40th birthday he complained of dizziness while at work at the