Women of Valor



Bobbie Rosenfeld, 1904 - 1969

On the final day of the Olympic track and field games, Bobbie Rosenfeld, Ethel Smith, Jane Bell and Myrtle Cook took their places out on the field for the 400 meter relay. After the disappointments of the 100 meter race, with Myrtle Cook disqualified for false starts and Rosenfeld possibly robbed of her gold, the pressure was high. Still, Smith remembered, "We all felt we were going to win."

Rosenfeld was the "lead-off girl," and by the time she passed the baton, they were running first. With Smith speeding "like one possessed" and Bell on the third leg sprinting "the race of her life," the women had a three yard lead as anchor Myrtle Cook prepared for the hand-off. "The pass between Myrtle and Jane was nearly a flop," remembered coach Alexandrine Gibb.

"It was only when Miss Cook had nearly reached the line at which she must have the baton in her possession that Jane Bell reached her- Myrtle Cook was running at top speed...a fraction of a second later it would have been a catastrophe..." Instead it was a victory as Cook raced ahead and increased the Canadians' lead. When she crossed the finish line, the relay team had set a new world record and won the gold.

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Historian Ron Hotchkiss Narrates Footage of the Relay Up Through the Third Leg of the Race Run by Jane Bell
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Historian Ron Hotchkiss Narrates Footage of the Relay's Final Leg, Run by Myrtle Cook
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Jane Bell Remembers the Moment After the Team Won the Gold
  1. Ethel Smith quoted in Ron Hotchkiss, "The Matchless Six," The Beaver Oct.-Nov. 1993, 35.
  2. All quotes in second paragraph, as well as the account of the race, are from Alexandrine Gibb, "Canada at the Olympics," MacLeanÂ’s Magazine 1 October 1928.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Bobbie Rosenfeld - Champions." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/rosenfeld/champions>.