top of page

Iowa History Daily: April 15 - Car Crash Claims Hawkeye Olympian

Iowa History Daily: On April 15, 1933, Olympian George Saling of Corydon passed away after a car crash. A standout Hawkeye hurdler, Saling captured gold at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics in the 110 meter hurdles.

Born on the wrong side of Iowa’s southern border, Saling’s family moved to Corydon shortly after his birth. His athletic abilities stood out while growing up in rural Wayne County, and he served as captain of the basketball team before graduating from Corydon High School in 1927.

Saling enrolled at the University of Iowa and quickly set about setting himself apart on the track. By his senior year in 1932, Saling captured the NCAA championship in the 110m hurdles by tieing the 14.4 second world record. Although Saling finished second at the AAU Championships in the 110m hurdles, he won the 200m hurdles to capture a spot on the Olympic team for the Los Angeles games.

At the Olympics, Saling beat his chief rival and former world record holder Percy Beard in the semi-final by 0.2 seconds. Saling then again triumphed in a closely contested final by 0.1 seconds.The win represented his last victory on the track, Saling passed away at the age of 23 following a car accident in Missouri six months after the Olympic Games. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


bottom of page