History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Ted McGlynn – the smiling sprinter!

Photograph of Parkes' Ted McGlynn, in uniform prior to the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. Source: Parkes: 100 Years of Local Government by Ron Tindall (editor) (1983) Griffin Press Limited: Netley, South Australia, page 303

Photograph of Parkes’ Ted McGlynn, in uniform prior to the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. Source: Parkes: 100 Years of Local Government by Ron Tindall (editor) (1983) Griffin Press Limited: Netley, South Australia, page 303

With the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Parkes Library history blog will focus on Olympians from the Parkes Shire. Each post will provide a snapshot of the sportsmen and sportswomen who have worn the green and gold and called the Parkes Shire home at some point of their lives. The 1950s were a golden era for sports stars from the Parkes Shire, with two representatives in athletics at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. This post will be a snapshot of Edward “Ted” McGlynn, who was a sprinter.

Edward McGlynn was born  29 August 1931 in Parkes. He attended the Holy Family Catholic Primary School before becoming a boarder at Marist Brothers in Forbes in 1943 and achieving his Leaving Certificate in 1948 VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

Parkes Athletics Club's surprise success in 4 x 100 yards relay team. From left: Ted McGlynn, Kevin Argaet, Jim Creith and Owen Sykes. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday October 21, 2015 page 19

Parkes Athletics Club’s surprise success in 4 x 100 yards relay team. From left: Ted McGlynn, Kevin Argaet, Jim Creith and Owen Sykes. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday October 21, 2015 page 19

McGlynn’s teen years demonstrated his all-round sporting skills. He played tennis, football, hockey, cricket and athletics; and was proficient in the boxing ring. McGlynn won 52 consecutive bouts, but when he lost his 53rd bout his mother, Dot, made sure he wouldn’t lose again, forbidding him to fight again. McGlynn was a  member of the Parkes Athletics Club. The club decided to enter the Country Championships at Henson Park, Sydney just for fun. They were just as surprised as everyone else when the relay team won and McGlynn won the 100  yards in a time of 10.1 seconds. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

It was a decade of great sporting achievements in Parkes Shire. The 1950s produced another record with Ted McGlynn taking the state title against better trained, better resourced and more fancied city athletes. Source: The Champion Post Tuesday January 6, 1953 page 3

It was a decade of great sporting achievements in Parkes Shire. The 1950s produced another record with Ted McGlynn taking the state title against better trained, better resourced and more fancied city athletes. Source: The Champion Post Tuesday January 6, 1953 page 3

The journey to Henson Park would turn out to be a life-altering one for Ted McGlynn. He was 19 at the time of Country Championships and his performances there meant he was approached by Bondi athletics coach, Jim O’Donnell. O’Donnell suggested that Ted focus on training for athletics. It would have been a difficult decision for McGlynn as he was an outstanding cricketer with Parkes District, having already scored five centuries that season.VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

Feature report of Parkes Shire's smiling sprinter. Source: The Sunday Herald 4 January 1953 page 7

Feature report of Parkes Shire’s smiling sprinter. Source: The Sunday Herald 4 January 1953 page 7

At a time when the best custard powder was “Mums” and Stansfield’s Garage sold Triumph Mayflowers which you could drive to McGirr’s Farmers Depot to buy your Golden Fleece Oils and Grease; training in Parkes was also different to the athletics training in Sydney. Athletics NSW records McGlynn’s unique approach once he decided to dedicate himself to athletics:

He decided to try athletics but his approach in the country was different to that of a city athlete. McGlynn only trained over summer and did it all without a coach or training partner. Over winter he would play hockey, golf and tennis. In 1952 he took the sprint double at the Country Championships, recording an astounding time of 9.7s in the 100 yd, which would remain the third fastest in Australia that year. But as in the previous season he did not run at the open state championships or contest the national championships. However he did compete at local competitions in Forbes, Bathurst, Orange and Lithgow on weekends. During one of these races, he recorded the stunning time of 9.4 seconds, just outside the world record of 9.3s. As McGlynn’s time was not set in an official competition it was never recognised. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

While not an ideal method, it allowed Ted McGlynn to live in Parkes. However in the 1952/53 season McGlynn decided it was time for a change. He started competing more regularly in Sydney, with his mother paying the return airfare so he could come home. Ted would take a commercial flight to Sydney and return on the freight/mail plane which left at 2am Sunday. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

Decades  before frequent flyers earned points on rewards programs, McGlynn was regularly commuting to and from Sydney. Coach O’Donnell gave McGlynn a tip that would dramatically improve his running and also create his signature as an athlete:

Melbourne Olympian Ted McGlynn was best known for the smile on his face when he sprinted down the straight. And it all came from a tip given by his coach Jim O’Donnell of Bondi.

“Ted was a natural runner when I began to coach him but I considered he was too tense to become a champion,’’ O’Donnell said. “To relieve the tautness of his face and neck muscles I suggested he try to smile in his training runs and during races.”

O’Donnell’s advice worked and the smile became Ted’s trademark. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

O’Donnell was wise with his realisation that sprinters needed to relax. The eventual gold medallist in the 100 yards final in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was American Bobby Morrow who has been described as “the dominant sprinter of the 1950s” and “the most relaxed sprinter of all time, even more so than his hero Jesse Owens” Sears, Edward Seldon (2001). Running Through the Ages. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 236–238. ISBN 9780786409716

This new approach and his dedication to training were paying off. In December 20, 1952 on the cinders track at ES Marks Field, McGlynn won the 100 yards in a time of 10.2 while running into a strong wind. In becoming sprint champion, McGlynn had beaten experienced Olympians such as John Treloar and Edwin Carr. Other top class sprinters that were left chasing McGlynn’s shadow were Bob Solomon and Kevin Reede.

Edward "Ted" McGlynn winning the 100 yards at the State championships on December 20, 1952. McGlynn was competing against experienced Olympians Trleloar and Carr, plus other athletics champions such as Solomon, Reede, Chapman and Job. Source: Parkes: 100 Years of Local Government by Ron Tindall (editor) (1983) Griffin Press Limited: Netley, South Australia, page 303

Edward “Ted” McGlynn winning the 100 yards at the State championships in January 1953. McGlynn was competing against experienced Olympians Treloar and Carr, plus other athletics champions such as Solomon, Reede, Chapman and Job. Source: Parkes: 100 Years of Local Government by Ron Tindall (editor) (1983) Griffin Press Limited: Netley, South Australia, page 303

Another angle of NSW 100 yards championship held in Sydney on January 3 1953. This was the first time that former Olympian, John Treloar, did not finish in the top two. Source: The Sunday Herald 4 January 1953, page 7

Another angle of NSW 100 yards championship held in Sydney on January 3 1953. This was the first time that former Olympian, John Treloar, did not finish in the top two. Source: The Sunday Herald 4 January 1953, page 7

The Athletics New South Wales website describes the excitement that occurred in the beginning of 1953 in athletics:

On January 3, 1953, McGlynn won the NSW open 100 yards title in a wind assisted 9.6 seconds beating Bill Job, who in November had set an Australian 100m record of 10.5. Kevin Reede was third and Helsinki Olympian John Treloar fourth. Treloar had never previously finished lower than second in a domestic race. Some veteran officials described the race as the best they had seen since Jim Carlton’s day. McGlynn was described as having an ungainly arm action.

After the race, McGlynn was due to return home to Parkes, but decided to take a week’s leave and prepare for the 220yd the following Saturday.

“Jim O’Donnell was unable to travel to Parkes so I stayed in Sydney to get proper coaching. I have not done any training for the 220 yard event,” McGlynn said at the time. “However I will make a strong bid to win the double.” McGlynn was also recovering from grazing and bruising he received after falling at the end of the 100 yds final.

McGlynn was beaten into third in the 220 yards in 22.3 seconds. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

Tragedy

While McGlynn was disappointed with finishing third in the 220 yards in a time of 22.3 seconds, a greater disappointment was the ruptured thigh muscle that resulted in him withdrawing from the national championships in Perth. Even more devastating for McGlynn was receiving the warning from medical professionals that he should give up running or risk permanent injury. Ted McGlynn spent a year recovering and aimed to achieve Commonwealth Games selection in 1954. He managed to compete at the national championships held at the Sydney Cricket Ground in February 1954. Treloar, former Olympian and now on NSW team management wrote that “NSW hope Ted McGlynn looked well and truly overtrained; he lacked the fire and dash that we usually associate with his sprinting” (Sydney Morning Herald Friday 12 February 1954, page 12)

McGlynn did not make the Commonwealth games for either individual or relay events. The announcement of the Empire Games Australian 4 x 110 yard relay team was greeted with controversy, with Hec Hogan the only specialist 100 yard sprinter chosen. The other three relay members were Brian Oliver (whose speciality was long jump), David Lean (400 metre hurdles and 4 x 400 metre relays) and Kevan Gosper (400 metres). Australia achieved bronze.

Ted McGlynn attempted to race in 1955 but again injury resulted in him announcing his retirement. Another muscle was damaged, with the risk of permanent injury. McGlynn stated that the muscle went when he was about 40 yard from finish line. However he persevered with the race, finishing second to Bill Job. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

 The Great Comeback
In 1956 McGlynn travelled to Sydney to be a spectator at the State Championships. He was encouraged to make a come back for the Olympics. McGlynn discussed this with his future wife, Patsy. Patsy was a Forbes resident whom Ted had met at a youth group in Forbes in December 1952. With her encouragement, Ted decided to give it his all and knew it would require extra dedication and commitment.
He needed to train over winter and travelled regularly to train with coach Harry Arnall, a car-dealer at Forbes while contining to receive assistance from his long term Sydney coach Jim O’Donnell who in later years would coach triple international Mike Cleary. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn
Record of Ted McGlynn's attempts to qualify for the Melbourne Olympics. McGlynn was injured and unable to train six weeks prior to the trials. Source: Athletics Australia website

Record of Ted McGlynn’s attempts to qualify for the Melbourne Olympics. McGlynn was injured and unable to train six weeks prior to the trials. Source: Athletics Australia website

McGlynn suffered one more injury six weeks before the Olympic trials. However he overcame this injury to finish fourth in the 100m and confirmed his Olympic selection. With injury behind him, McGlynn’s form in the lead up was impressive finishing first in the 100 yards on November 3 – beating future Olympian, Jamaican Keith Gardner – and being part of the Australian 4 x 110 yards relay team who set a new national record on November 14.
Ted McGlynn was part of two national records - 4 x 110 yards relay and 4 x 100 metres relay. He was the first runner when he ran the relay. Source: The Amateur Athletic Union of Australia - Almanac of Records and Results 1957

Ted McGlynn was part of two national records – 4 x 110 yards relay and 4 x 100 metres relay. He was the first runner when he ran the relay. Source: The Amateur Athletic Union of Australia – Almanac of Records and Results 1957

While Ted McGlynn ran well from the first leg in both the heat and semifinals of the 4 x 100 metres relay, a poor third change probably cost them a place in the final. The other members of the Olympic relay team were  Ray Land, Gavin Carragher and Hec Hogan. Hec Hogan won the bronze medal in the 100 metres final in a time of 10.6 seconds. Source: Sports Reference website

Controversial Conclusion

In further proof was needed that sport was viewed vastly differently in 1956 than today, the next episode in Ted McGlynn’s career provides it. Naturally Parkes Shire wanted to celebrate the achievements of an athlete who had competed at the highest level. Many knew that he was travelling regularly to Sydney and taking time off work to try and reach peak performance levels. Athletes had to pay their own way to state and national championships as well as the Olympics. Endorsement deals were not allowed, athletes had to provide their own racing kit and footwear. Mayor Alderman A C Moon had organised a celebration after a swimming carnival on Sunday January 6 1957. McGlynn was presented with a wallet filled with notes donated by the residents of the Parkes Shire. However this caused controversy in the administration of Australian Athletics who believed McGlynn should no longer be considered an amateur. This would mean that should McGlynn compete in any exhibition races, he would be endangering the amateur status of athletes running against him. This led to a disappointing conclusion to McGlynn’s athletics career and one that is unheard of nowadays. However McGlynn did not let it diminish his love for athletics, maintaining involvement in coaching and attending Olympians anniversary functions.

[Ted McGlynn] was described as having a gregarious nature, cheeky sense of humour, compassionate, kind, thoughtful and inquisitive. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn

Article reporting the controversy created from a well-intentioned gesture by the locals who wanted to show their appreciation for the achievements and sacrifices that Ted McGlynn had made to reach the 1956 Olympic Games. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald January 14, 1957 page 12

Article reporting the controversy created from a well-intentioned gesture by the locals who wanted to show their appreciation for the achievements and sacrifices that Ted McGlynn had made to reach the 1956 Olympic Games. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald January 14, 1957 page 12

Ted McGlynn left athletics for accounting and then working in menswear store Esquire Mercers and eventually moved to Cowra. He passed away on Tuesday April 24, 2012 in Cowra. McGlynn was 80 years old. He is still remembered in Parkes Shire and has been honoured with street named after him, Ted McGlynn Court. VALE: Ted McGlynn. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://nswathletics.org.au/News/vale-ted-mcglynn and Cowra Guardian April 26, 2012

Parkes Shire Council honouring some of the Olympians who at one stage of their sporting careers called Parkes Shire home. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday December 22, 2014, page 15

Parkes Shire Council honouring some of the Olympians who at one stage of their sporting careers called Parkes Shire home. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday December 22, 2014, page 15

Map of Parkes, highlighting Ted McGlynn Court. One of the country's finest athletes, the 'smiling sprinter' called Parkes Shire home. Source: Whereis.com

Map of Parkes, highlighting Ted McGlynn Court. One of the country’s finest athletes, the ‘smiling sprinter’ called Parkes Shire home. Source: Whereis.com

Tribute to one of Parkes Shire's finest athletes, Edward "Ted" McGlynn. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday May 2 2012, page 5

Tribute to one of Parkes Shire’s finest athletes, Edward “Ted” McGlynn. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday May 2 2012, page 5

Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:

If you have stories or memories that you are willing to share about Ted McGlynn or any of the other Olympians of the Parkes Shire , please contact Parkes Shire Library via library@parkes.nsw.gov.au so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.

2 comments on “Ted McGlynn – the smiling sprinter!

  1. Greg Critchley
    July 5, 2016

    What a fantastic compilation.

    Like

    • parkeslibrary
      July 5, 2016

      Thank you, Greg. We appreciate your feedback and hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we did researching and putting it together. All the best.

      Like

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This entry was posted on July 4, 2016 by in 1950s, 2000s, all-round sportsperson, comeback, controversy, famous people of Parkes Shire, General history, local historical articles, Olympians of the Parkes Shire, Olympic Games, Parkes, tragedy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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