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100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Jackson Scholz, track and field

1920 Antwerp Olympics
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SCHOLZ PADDOCK
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Posted at 6:26 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 09:00:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson Scholz became the first person in Olympic history to compete in the final at three different Olympic Games — and he did far more than merely compete.

Scholz, a native of Michigan who ran for the University of Missouri in college, won gold medals in the 400-meter relay during the 1920 Antwerp Games, in world-record time, and in the 200 meters during the 1924 Paris Games.

He is the first gold-medal winner in Tigers athletics history, tying the Olympic and straight-track world record in the 200-meter dash with his performance in 1924.

He also won a silver medal in the 100 meters during the 1924 Olympics, which served as the setting for the 1981 Academy Award-winning film “Chariots of Fire.”

In the film, Brad Davis portrayed Scholz, who later appeared in an American Express commercial that mentioned his gold medals and inclusion in "Chariots of Fire" ahead of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

He also narrowly missed medals in the 100 meters at the 1920 Olympics and the 200 meters at the 1928 Amsterdam Games, finishing fourth in those races.

Scholz technically tied for third in the 1928 race, but declined a chance for a run-off with Germany’s Helmut Körnig the day after the final and officially was awarded fourth as a result.

Scholz briefly held the 100-meter world record with a time of 10.6 seconds, which he ran Sept. 16, 1920, in Stockholm.

Scholz, who also won the 1925 AAU national title in 220-yard dash, was inducted in the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1977.

He went on to become a successful freelance writer, gaining fame for his “pulp fiction” sports novels.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.

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