Betty Robinson

Betty Robinson

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Betty Robinson
Height 5'6" (167 cm)
Weight 126 lbs (57 kg)
Nationality United States
PR 100m - 12.0 (1928)
Born August 23, 1911 at Riverdale, IL
Died May 18, 1999 at Denver, CO
College Northwestern
Club Illinois Club for Catholic Women

Elizabeth M. ("Betty") Robinson (1911-1999), later Elizabeth R. Schwartz was an American sprinter and winner of the first Olympic 100 m for women.

Robinson ran her first 100 meter race on March 30, 1928, at age 16, 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.

At the Amsterdam Olympics, her fourth 100 m competition, Robinson reached the final and won, equalling the world record. She was the inaugural Olympic champion in the event, since athletics for women had not been on the program before, and its inclusion wasat the time heavily disputed among officials. She also won a silver medal as a part of the 4x100m relay team.

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 (in a world record time) and the 100y at the AAU. In March 1931, she set world records for 60y (6.9) and 70y (7.9). Later that year, Robinson was involved in a plane crash, and was severely injured. A man who discovered her in a coma in the wreckage wrongly thought she was dead, put her in his car boot and drove her to an undertaker, where his mistake was discovered. She awoke from the coma seven months later, although it was another six months before she could get out of a wheelchair, and two years before she could walk normally again.[1] Meanwhile, she missed the 1932 Olympics.

Still unable to kneel for a normal 100 m start, Robinson was a part of the US relay team at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The US team was running behind the heavily favored Germans, but the Germans dropped the baton, allowing Robinson (who handed off the baton to Helen Stephens) to win her second Olympic gold medal.

Retiring after the Berlin Olympics, she continued to take an 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 University. Betty R. Schwartz died aged 87, suffering from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

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