John Woodruff

(1915-2007) Section 46, Lot 86

As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, Woodruff placed first in the Olympic Trials and went on to win a gold medal in the 800-meter sprint in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, also known as the “Hitler Olympics.”

Despite having been boxed in early in the race, he was able to break free from the pack after almost coming to a complete stop during the race and starting again, passing all for the victory. His performance is considered one of the most exciting in Olympic history, and it took place during one of the most memorable of Olympics in which his teammate Jessie Owens also excelled. Woodruff went on to dominate the event for so long that if war had not prevented the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, many believe he could have gone on winning gold. Here are highlights of that incredible race: