the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, Elias Katz won a gold medal
as a member of
Finland’s championship 3,000-Meter
Cross Country team (8:32.0). His teammates
included the legendary Paavo
Nurmi and Willie Ritola. Katz also won
a silver medal in Paris in the 3,000-Meter
Steeplechase, finishing second to Ritola,
who set an Olympic record in the event.
Earlier, Katz established the Olympic
record, 9:43.8, in his first heat of the steeplechase.
His best time in the 3,000-Meter Steeplechase was 9:40.9,
Katz ran the second leg on his
Finnish club’s 4 X 1,500 Relay team that
set two World records—the first, 16:26.2,
in July 1926 and the second later that
year, lowering the mark to 16:11.4.
In 1925, Bar Kochba of Berlin, the
first Jewish national sports club in Central Europe founded
in 1898, invited
Katz to represent the Club. He did, but
returned to his native Finland in 1927
to prepare for the 1928 Olympic Games.
When a severe foot injury ended his
chances to compete in the Amsterdam
Olympiad, Katz returned to Germany
and Bar Kochba. His presence encouraged
many outstanding German Jewish
athletes to join the Club, which
flourished until the Nazis forced it to
disband in the early 1930s.
Katz emigrated to Palestine in 1933
and was selected to coach the Israeli
Olympic Track Team for the 1948 Games
in London. This would be Israel’s first
team in the Olympic Games. But, neither
he nor the Israeli team ever got to
England. Israel was not admitted into
the Olympic family until the 1952
Olympic Games, and Katz was murdered by Arab terrorists
1947, while working as a film projectionist
at a British army camp near Gaza.