Frederick Pollard Jr., 87; Medalist in 110-Meter Hurdles in ’36 Olympics

From Staff and Wire Reports

Frederick “Fritz” Pollard Jr., 87, a winner of the bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, died Feb. 15 in Washington, D.C. He had Alzheimer’s disease.

Pollard was born in Springfield, Mass. His father, Fritz Pollard Sr., was the first black coach in the National Football League. The younger Pollard grew up in Chicago, where he was the city, state and national interscholastic champion in the hurdles as a high school senior.

He attended the University of North Dakota, where he was an all-conference selection in football three times and competed in boxing and track. In 1939, he was one of the school’s first African American graduates.

In the 1936 Games, he was leading in the 110-meter hurdles, but tripped over the next to last hurdle. He still finished third.


After serving in the Army during World War II, he taught physical education in Chicago. He later worked as human relations commissioner under Mayor Richard J. Daley. During the Kennedy administration, he worked for the State Department, coordinating goodwill visits abroad by U.S. athletes.