Miguel White Amazing 1936 Olympic 400m Hurdle Bronze
Expanding on the Hurdler49 Article by Joboy Quintos
Miguel White was the last Filipino athlete to win a bronze in Athletics. Following Simeon Toribio’s win in 1932. His feat came at the historic 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. White also has the distinction of being the closest athlete to a world record in the entire history of Philippine Athletics.
His time in 1936 of 52.8 was comparable to the 1927 world record, which was 52.6 at the time, which is only a 9 year differential between his time and when his best time was the world record.
Miguel White was born on October 9, 1909, in Legazpi, Albay. A tall hurdler for the 1930’s he stood at 5’11
The Rise of White in the roaring 30s
White took Bronze in the 1930 Far East Games Bronze in the 400m with 50.6, which tied the Phi Record of Serafin Estrada set in 1927. Estrada later took the record back in 1933 with 50.2.
In 1934 he claimed the Far East Games Gold in 53.0 for 400 Hurdles setting a new Phi Record, which Constantino Alahambra held from 1932 to 54.8. White was the fastest man in the Philippines in 400 Hurdles from 1934-1936. In 1935 he ran 53.4.
White competed in the PAAF Track meet in 1934. Coming 3rd in the 110 Hurdles to Casia. Casia was the best 110 Hurdler of the 1930s. He defeated Philippine 400 Hurdle Record Holder Almadra simultaneously meet over 400m in 50.6 in a 400m Race.
1936 Olympic Games
White went up against a quality field, Glenn Hardin of the United States, the world record holder at 50.6s. The Filipino topped the third heat in qualifying, stopping the clock in 53.4s, ahead of the eventual silver medalist, John Loaring (54.3s) of Canada. The American also qualified with ease, submitting a time five-tenths slower than White’s.
Miguel White from the Philippine Islands was the fastest hurdler in qualifying. In this day and age where Filipino athletes are hard-pressed to meet the Olympic “B” standard, reading about this was surreal! In the semi-finals, White (53.4s) finished behind Hardin (53.2s) in the first heat, securing a spot in the finals.
The world record holder stamped his class on the rest of the field. Hardin was a full stride from Loaring and White at the last hurdle, who were locked in a tight battle for second place. The Canadian (52.7s) edged out White (52.8s) by a tenth of a second.
Miguel White had emulated Simeon Toribio’s high jump bronze from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
It is quite unfortunate that the Olympic feats of Toribio and White have been practically forgotten. Philippine sports may be in the doldrums, but perhaps looking back at our golden past might inspire a new generation of Filipino athletes.
Results (screenshots from the 1936 Berlin Olympics Program/LA84 Foundation):
1.) First Round:
After the 1936 Olympics, white was an army scout before World War II until the war broke out in 1939, then was promoted to Lieutenant.
Due to active service, he retired from Track and Field after his Olympic Bronze at the age of 27.
A Lieutenant in the 52nd regiment in the army White was killed during the Philippines’ Japanese Occupation during World War II on August 30, 1942.
- “Miguel White (1909 – 1942): Olympic 400m Hurdles Bronze Medalist” by Joboy Quintos