(click on image to enlarge)
Inscription lower left:
In Victory - Magnificent in Defeat!
Bill Bonthrom by A. S. Kirkman '34
About the Painting
This is a painting of Princeton University track star William Robert (Bonnie) Bonthron
(1912-1983) (image left in Princeton colors) and New Zealander Jack Lovelock
(image right foreground). The painting depicts Bonthron's historic mile run against
Lovelock in what is
considered "the greatest mile of all time" or "the mile of
the century". The race occurred on
July 15, 1933 during the sixth annual Oxford-Cambridge vs Princeton-Cornell track
meet held at Princeton University. Bonthron broke the world record for the
mile that day (setting the record for an American of 4:08.7) but was beat by Lovelock's 4:07.6 minute
new world record mile.
In 1934 Princeton instituted the Bonthron Torphy in his honor, "awarded annually to that member of the Princeton varsity track and field team who through
sportsmanship, performance and influence has contributed most to the sport."
In that year Bonthron twice defeated his rival Glenn Cunningham, "The Kansas Ironman," and was awarded the James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy as "the foremost amateur athlete in the country."
went on to be a celebrated Olympic champion for his outstanding record-breaking win of the 1500 metres race
at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Bonthron did not compete in the Olympics.
This was painted by
another Princeton alumni, Alexander Stuart Kirkman, who graduated the same
year as Bonthrom in 1934. The painting is framed in the Princeton colors
of orange and black.
a clip of the race on YouTube
Photograph of Jack Lovelock beating Bill Bonthron
in world record time, 15 Jul 1933 at the
National Library of New Zealand.