This edition of ‘On This Week in Sport History’ takes a look at some athletes born during this week in 1907

2nd-Born today in 1907 was Swedish discus thrower – Harald “Slaktarn” Andersson. He was born in Stanford, California but became a naturalised Swede after his move to that country. A member of IFK Falun, he was Swedish champion every year from 1932 to 1935 and the world’s best discus thrower in 1934 and 1935. He brokePaul Jessup’s world record of 51.73m twice in one competition (a dual meet between the Swedish and Norwegian teams in Oslo) on 25th August 1934, throwing first 52.20m and then 52.42m the latter mark was officially ratified by the IAAF, he held this World mark for eight months. At the European Championships in Turin two weeks later he threw 50.38m and won by more than three meters from Paul Winter and István Donogán, that year he was also awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.

Harald lost his world record in April 1935, when Germany’s Willy Schröder threw 53.10m in Magdeburg; however, he remained the world’s top thrower, as Schröder was less consistent at the top level and suffered from health problems that Summer. Harald won both the Swedish and AAA Championships titles in 1935 and on 13th October he improved his Swedish record to 53.02m  at a meeting in Örebro.

He was a leading favourite for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, but was injured before the Games. He did make an attempt to throw in the qualification round, but only managed about 38.5m and sadly failed to qualify for the final.  He died on 18th May 1985 at the age of 78 in Nynäshamn, Sweden. 


3rd-Born today in Nova Scotia was American thrower Margaret “Rena” MacDonald, she became a naturalized US citizen in 1925. Rena was a “weight thrower” for the Boston Swimming Association and the Boston Olympic Club.  She was a versatile athlete, as well as competing for the USA at shot, discus and the javelin over the course of her career, she also took part in sprint events to make up the numbers for her local team or where there was no throwing event on the programme.

She won three AAU outdoor titles, shot put in 1929-30, and the discus in 1929, and seven AAU indoor shot titles, in 1927, and 1929-34.  While preparing for the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, she discovered that there was no shot putt event, it was the discus instead. Her trainer dismissed the idea of her being able to compete because he considered that the shot was an event that was more a question of strength whereas the discus was all about skill and that Rena would not be able to learn the event in so short a time. Rena refused to be defeated – and with the words  –  “oh well, I’ll have to get me a discus” she took herself off to learn the technique and within a few weeks had mastered it and qualified for the Games. In Amsterdam, she failed to make the final 6 after a qualifying throw of 30.25m, which left her 5th in her group and 15th overall.  The event was won in a new WR of 39.62m by Halina Konopacka of Poland, with team-mate Lillian Copeland taking silver (37.08m) and Sweden’s Ruth Svedberg in the bronze medal position with 36.92m

As she was preparing for the 1932 Games Rena told her local Pittsfield newspaper that after the Games she would be ready to sacrifice her amateur status, with two Olympics behind her Rena thought she would be able to get the type of job she wanted – a coach in a girls school.  She never ultimately competed at the 1932 Olympics but did work as a swimming instructor at the Pittsfield Girls Club and was employed as a Secretary at Elmvale Worsted Co.  She died on 16th November 1958 after a short illness at the relatively early age of 51.


4th-PE teacher and Olympian Zygmunt Siedlecki was born on 4th April 1907.  His early sport career saw him starting off in 1923 as a footballer for KS Pilica Białobrzeg but as a student in Radom he became more involved in athletics and the throwing events but became renowned as a Decathlete. His greatest successes representing Warsaw Legia came in 1931-1935 and in 1932 he took part in the Los Angeles Olympics, where he failed to finish the event. In total, he represented Poland 10 times in inter-state matches in 1931-1935. Twice he set the national record for both the discus and in the decathlon throw and was Discus Polish champion in 1934.

He was eventually appointed to manage the Municipal Centre of Physical Education in Warsaw. A participant of the September 1939 campaign, he avoided captivity, quickly joining the underground work. Arrested twice, he managed to escape from the hands of the Nazis and in 1945 returned to Białobrzegi, where he organized a sports training centre. Under his guidance, Polish athletes prepared for the first post-war performance at the European Championships in Oslo in 1946 and the Olympic Games in London in 1948. After which he conducted training in Radom and Białobrzegi. He died in Białobrzegi on August 28, 1977.


5thErwin Huber was born in Karlsruhe, Germany on this day in 1907. He was affiliated to the Sportverein Kickers in Stuttgart and MSV. Erwin came 15th at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics in the decathlon and four years later in Berlin, under a new scoring system, he was placed just outside the medal positions, in fourth place.

In 1935 he won his only German title in the decathlon, he was second in 1932 and 1936. He was perhaps most famous for appearing in the prologue of the 1936 film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl as the nude Discus Thrower of Myron, who embodied the epitome of the Aryan Man for the Nazis. He later coached the modern pentathletes for the 1972 Games.

Erwin trained as a PE teacher, who for a short period in 1934-35 was a lecturer in the Württemberg Association of Athletics Federation, publishing a textbook in 1941. His son Horst, who was a national-level sprinter in the 1950s, was married to sprinter Steffi Pachnicke. Erwin died at the grand old age of 96 in Munich on 23rd May 2003. 


6th– Daniel Alrik “Dan” Sundén-Cullberg was born today in 1907 in Stockholm, Sweden.   He was a crew member of the boat Swedisk Star that won the bronze medal in the Star class at the 1932 Summer Olympics.

There were seven boats in what was the first Olympic appearance of the Star class, although it has since become the best known Olympic class and has been on the Olympic programme continuously since 1932. The Star boat had been invented in 1910 by Francis Sweisguth and William Gardner at Long Island, but was only introduced to the 1932 Olympics on the initiative of Dr. Manfred Curry. The competition took place in the Port of Los Angeles and consisted of seven races with yachts scoring one point for finishing the race and one point for each yacht defeated in the race.


The American crew dominated the event in their boat, Jupiter, leading from the start with a win in the first race, and winning five of the races to take the gold medal. The British crew of Colin Ratsey and Peter Jaffe, sailing Joy, was similarly second throughout, after trailing only the Americans in the first race, and won the silver. Canada seemed to have the bronze medal in hand after six races, but when they finished fifth in the final race, and Sweden placed second, the two boats ended up in a tie, necessitating a sail-off, which was won by the Swedes in Swedish Star in a sail-over, as Canada’s Windor did not come to the line.  Dan died aged 74 in Veinge, Sweden on 27th January 1982.


7th – British cyclist Ernest Henry Chambers was born in Hackney, London on 7th April 1907. He rode for his local club – Polytechnic and although he was an accomplished sprinter in his own right, Ernest’s successes at the Olympic Games came in the tandem sprint events. Paired with John Sibbit, from the Manchester Wheelers, they reached the final in 1928 in Amsterdam but were beaten by the pair from the host country in slightly controversial circumstances, bringing home the silver medal. Some thought the Dutch duo blocked the Britons in the final stages.

Chambers partnered his brother Stanley at the 1932 Games and, after losing to the French pair in round one, battled their way to the final only to lose their rematch with the French and again Stanley returned with an Olympic silver medal. He reunited with Sibbit for an unsuccessful campaign at the Berlin Olympics before retiring. In later life he owned and ran a cycle shop in London Road, Mitchem near Figges Marsh, adjacent to the Gardeners Arms Public House in London. borough of Mitcham. He died on 29th January 1985 aged 77 in Worthing, West Sussex.


8th-Born in Budapest, Hungary on 8th April 1907 – Raul (Raoul) Uhl. He was a successful sailor, winner of multiple championships both national and international and has written his name in Hungarian sports history since he was a participant in the sailing competitions at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928.

The oldest of the three children from a sailing family, it is often wondered whether his love of Lake Balaton or his genetic background decided his future on the water. The Url family spent most of their summers, from 1916, in Almádi near Lake Balaton. The Balaton Yacht Club was formed at this time and the 10-year-old Raoul started sailing, although the war curtailed activities the club re-launched in the 1920s under the talented János Grofcsik. The Uhl family, with their boat – won many races, especially during the latter half of the decade with Raoul as captain.

In the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, Raoul reached 13th place from the twenty nations participating. The Sailing Division of the Budapest Sports Association (BSE) was founded in 1932. Raoul, who at that time worked at the City Hall, was instrumental in the early days. In 1934 the sailing association organized the first Balaton Championship in Balatonfüred. Raoul became champion in the 12’ dinghy class and in that class he won several races during the following years.  In 1936 he was third overall behind Tibor Heinrich and Béla Kováts. the last two races sailed in a stormy northwest wind, in which Raoul finished second and third.

The Second World War and the following years were difficult for Raoul and afterwards, he was physically drained, lived in relative poverty and had a sick wife to care for. The BSE was abolished in 1952, as were many others, which was sad for Raoul. His wife died in 1954. Raoul turned to dragon racing during the early 1960s – winning four races with his crew – Mihály Padányi and György Zách. Raoul was an exemplary competitor – he loved to sail but most of all he loved to compete.  At his death aged 95 on 22nd June 2002, he was considered the oldest male Hungarian Olympian.