Charles Reidpath

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Track and Field Standout

Charles Reidpath, war hero, civic builder and Olympic Champion, was born in Buffalo, in 1889. His cousin Isabelle Reidpath Martin was the wife of Darwin Martin, who commissioned one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s finest works, the Darwin Martin House. At Lafayette High School from 1904-08, Reidpath was an outstanding track competitor, in spite of an unorthodox “flat footed” running style. It was while at Syracuse University from 1908-1912 that Charles Reidpath became a collegiate track star, winning the 220- and 440-yard dashes in the 1912 intercollegiate games. At one point he held the college record for the quarter mile.

Upon graduating from Syracuse in 1912 with a degree in civil engineering, Reidpath was pressured by relatives to quit sports and take a position with the family business in Buffalo. Instead, he made the U.S. Olympic track team, and headed to Stockholm, Sweden for one of the finest Olympics ever held. Reidpath won the 400 meters in an Olympic record shattering time of 48.2 seconds. This record lasted until 1924, when it was broken by Eric Liddle, whose story was made famous by the movie “Chariots of Fire.” Running the anchor leg of the 4×400 meter relay, Reidpath helped the U.S. team set a world record of 3:16.6.