The medley relay was a variation of the current day relay race in which four athletes took part from each team to complete the race. But unlike the current day relay races where each athlete runs the same distance, runners in the medley relay ran different distances.
The event was a part of the Olympics only once in 1908 and was later discontinued. The race was for a total distance of 1600 meters. The format was such that the first two runners had to run 200 meters each, the third runner had to run 400 meters, and the final runner had to cover 800 meters.
The race was contested by 28 athletes from seven countries, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, United States, Great Britain, and Canada. After three heats from which one team was selected for the final race, United States, Hungary and Germany competed in the final race.
The team from United States with William Hamilton, Nate Cartmell, John Taylor, and Mel Sheppard won the gold medal with a time of 3:29:4. The fight between second and third place was closely fought between Germany and Hungary in which the athletes from Germany took silver by a tenth of a second and Hungary took bronze.
- USA 3:29.4
- The FIRST African-American athlete to win a gold medal was John Taylor, who was part of the US medley relay team in athletics in 1908.
- Other Track and Field discontinued events
- About Relay Races at the Olympics
- Full list of all Discontinued Events