John Woodruff's winning time of 1:52.9 in the Berlin 800 m was the slowest winning Olympic time since 1920. The time was, however, not a true reflection of his abilities; he twice ran under 1:48.0 under conditions that were only marginally irregular, and he had a clocking of 1:47.7 in an 880 y indoor race. While at the University of Pittsburgh, Woodruff won the IC4A 440/880 y double for three straight years (1937-39) and in those same three years, he won the NCAA 880y. Although he was supreme in collegiate competition, Woodruff won only one AAU title when he took the 880y championship in 1937. From July 1936, when he lost a badly judged race to Charlie Beetham at the AAU, Woodruff never lost another 800 m/880 y until he retired in 1940. He was, undoubtedly one of the great unfulfilled talents of the sport; apart from his record in the two-lap event, he had such marks to his credit as a 46.8 400 m and a 4:12.8 mile. John Woodruff later became a career officer in the Army.
Personal Best: 800 – 1:47.0y (1940).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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