Arthur Wint, or the “Gentle Giant”, was selected as the 1937 Jamaican Boy Athlete of the Year. The next year he won a gold medal in the 800 metres at the Central American Games in Panama, but World War II then interrupted his athletics career.
In 1942, Wint joined the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was sent to train in Canada, where he set a Canadian 400 m record. He was then sent to Britain for active combat as a pilot during the war. Wint left the Royal Air Force in 1947 to attend St Bartholomew’s Hospital as a medical student, but returned to the international athletics scene in 1948, when Jamaica competed at the Olympics for the first time as an independent nation.
At the Olympics, Wint won Jamaica’s first Olympic gold in the 400 m, beating his team-mate Herb McKenley, and he added a silver in the 800 behind American Mal Whitfield. In 1952 at Helsinki, Wint was part of the team that won gold in a world record time of 4x400 m relay (3:03.9). He repeated his silver in the 800, again behind Whitfield. Wint also won British AAA titles at 440 yds in 1946 and 1952 and over 880 yds in 1946, 1950 and 1951. He ran his final race in 1953, while finishing his internship, and graduating as a doctor. In 1954 Wint was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
Wint returned to Jamaica in 1955 settling in Hanover as the only resident doctor in the parish. He later served as Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Britain and from 1974-78 as ambassador to Sweden and Denmark. Wint was inducted into the Black Athlete’s Hall of Fame in the US in 1977, the Jamaica Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Central American and Caribbean Athletic Confederation Hall of Fame in 2003.
Personal Bests: 400 – 46.2 (1948); 800 – 1:48.9y (1951).
Athlete Olympic Results Content