As a dedicated frontrunner Mel Sheppard had a great influence on the development of middle distance running. In both his Olympic 800 m finals he led the field at the half-way mark, running 53.0 in 1908 and 52.4 in 1912. In London a second 400 m of 59.4 was good enough to take Sheppard to the Olympic gold medal in a new world record of 1:52.4, but in Stockholm his 59.6 second lap failed to match the finishing speed of Ted Meredith, who removed from Sheppard his Olympic title and world record. To his gold medal for the 800 m in London, Sheppard added Olympic victories in the 1,500 m and the medley relay and won a fourth gold medal in 1912 as a member of the 1,600 m relay team. Mel Sheppard won the AAU 880y in 1906-08 and 1911-12, and was the Canadian 880y champion in those years. Sheppard was educated at Brown Prep School and, having been rejected by the New York police because of a weak heart, he entered the employ of John Wanamaker in 1913 and served as the recreational director of the Millrose AA for many years.
Personal Bests: 400 – 48.8 (1912); 800 – 1:52.0 (1912); 1500 – 4:01.2 (1912).
Athlete Olympic Results Content