THE PILLAR OF ACHIEVEMENT

 
SAM STOLLER
Country: USA
Born: August 8, 1915
Died: May, 1985

Sam Stoller was “the other half” of a pair of Jewish-American sprinters who were victims of a shameful incident at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Stoller, a University of Michigan senior, and Marty Glickman, a Syracuse University freshman, along with sprinters Frank Wykoff and Foy Draper, were the foursome assigned to represent the United States in the 400-meter relay at the Berlin Games.  But neither Stoller or Glickman ever got to the starting blocks. 

Shortly before the event was called, the pair of Jewish speedsters, who had been practicing with Wykoff and Draper for weeks since qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team, were replaced at the 11th hour by Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalf, both of whom had been celebrated medal winners in their assigned events.  U.S. coaches Lawson Robertson and Dean Cromwell never offered a rational explanation for the sudden change, and when Owens, already a winner of three gold medals, questioned the move, he was ordered by coach Cromwell to “do as you’re told”.  Olympic observers opined that the coaching staff had decided not to chance offending Adolf Hitler and their German hosts by adding another gold medal to the already large American cache of honors with a certain relay victory featuring two Jews.  Draper and and Wykoff, along with replacement runners Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalf, easily won the event, and for Owens it was his historic fourth gold medal of the Olympiad.

Since the close of the 1936 Games, the much-discussed exclusion incident has been primarily associated with the career of Glickman, who went on to become a prominent American sportscaster.  Sam Stoller, the forgotten American sprinter––U.S. indoor 60-yard record holder (6.1), and 100-yard and 100-meter champion––who, like Glickman, also lost the opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal, returned to the University of Michigan after the Olympics, declaring that that he would “never run again”.  He recanted, and won the 1937 U.S. (NCAA) 100-yard championship.

 

Stoller, right, and Olympic teammate Marty Glickman

© 1996- International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
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