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Abel Kiviat - Biography

Abel Richard Kiviat (born to Morris (Milton or Moshe) Kiviat and Zelda Kiviat on June 23, 1892; died August 24, 1991) was an American middle distance track event middle distance runner.



During the trip to Sweden in 1912 he was cabin mates with Jim Thorpe, a much renowned Native American athlete. He was born on Staten Island in 1892 and died of prostate cancer at his home in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Before his death at age 99 in 1991, he was the oldest American Olympic medalist. He competed for and coached the Irish American Athletic Club, and was later a member of the New York Athletic Club.

According to his 1910 trading card; "He attracted attention as a runner when attending high school and became so fast that he linked his fortunes to the Irish American Athletic Club in New York and went into training in 1908. The following month at Travers Island, he won the Junior Championship for one mile for the Metropolitan District, making the fast time of 4:24. In the same year he won the Baxter Cup in the Columbia University races at Madison Square Garden, making the fast time of 4:23 2–5. He broke the world's record in the 2,400 yard relay race, his time for his 600 yards being 1:16, and 5:4 for the entire distance. He also won the Canadian mile championship in 1909 and again in 1910."

He set a 1500 m world record of 3:55.8 min in Cambridge, Massachusetts in June 1912. He competed for the U.S. Olympic Team, as a member of the Irish American Athletic Club, and won a silver medal in the 1500 m at the Olympic Games in Stockholm 1912. He also competed for the US team in the exhibition baseball tournament in Stockholm. (The gold was won by Arnold Jackson).

In 1984, Kiviat, who was Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and in 1985, he was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame. The Abel R. Kiviat Memorial race is held annually at his alma mater, Curtis High School, in Staten Island, New York.

A biography, Abel Kiviat: National Champion written by Alan S. Katchen was published in 2009 (Syracuse University Press).

See also

  • List of select Jewish track and field athletes


External links

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