Peter Crombie, World Masters Athlete of the Millennium? Champion of champions is 74

Peter Crombie has won more world medals than anyone in masters history, according to one account.Peter Crombie has won more world medals than anyone in masters history, according to one account.

Sprinter Peter Crombie, born Christmas Day 1944, is Australia’s gift to masters track. I’ve seen him run for decades (especially at USA masters nationals), and yet didn’t really appreciate his massive dominance. And now The Guardian shares a stat new to me: He’s won a medal in every sprint event in which he’s competed since 1987.

“He holds an unparalleled 19 indoor and outdoor track records, and has taken home 20 medals from outdoor world titles,” says the profile. “He has won a remarkable 65 medals in world events – more than anyone in masters history. It’s gotten to the point where he needs a system to categorise and store them all.”

Another bio reports:

Peter is the most prolific medal winner in World Championship history. He has achieved the most medals indoors in the 200m (6) and 400m (6), and the most medals outdoors in the 400m with 9 medals. His 41 individual medals and 24 relay medals makes a total of 65 world sprint medals, and is ahead of the next best athlete in history of 51 in total.

Whilst Peter may lack the individual brilliance of some of the other male sprint superstars like Reg Austin, he more than makes up for with his dogged all-round sprint performances over all three sprint distances and relays at each World Titles, to make him the ultimate sprint all-rounder.

He’s been named IAAF Masters Athlete of the Year (2010). No surprise on these. But a year ago, flying under my radar, came an ultimate honor. Or honour.

“Recognition outside the circuit can be difficult to come by for masters athletes, but Crombie’s achievements have been recognised on a wider stage as well. In January he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to athletics. It’s a measure of Crombie’s influence that his contribution has begun to be acknowledged at a broader level.”

His son Steve noted the moment:

Finally, we learn it hasn’t been easy:

In 2009 Peter had a major knee operation and was told by his doctors that he would never compete again. With his never say die attitude he overcame that difficulty to come back and win multiple sprint gold medals in the recent World Indoors in Kamloops as well as the 2010 US National Titles. In the US he beat the current US Indoor and Outdoor M65 sprint world record holders over the 100 metres and 200 metres both in a National record.

He’ll be M75 by 2020 Toronto worlds, and I can’t wait to witness his next medal haul.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

4 Comments on "Peter Crombie, World Masters Athlete of the Millennium? Champion of champions is 74"

  1. Wow, sounds like an incredible athletic career for a guy who’s still only in his 70s. However all of the comparisons about being the best sprinter in world championship history must refer only to male sprinters. I can think of at least one woman who’s accumulated an equally impressive haul of medals in all of the relevant categories, except indoor championships.

  2. These are all great and outstanding accomplishments by Masters athletes. ( 35 – 100 yrs. ) But in my opinion, the greatest, single achievement in Masters history, is; “ The Bypass Four “ 4 x 100 meter relay. Where four 80 year old heart by- pass and one transplant surgery athlete set a World Record of breaking the standard one minute barrier in the 400 meter relay. A record that should be in the Masters and all of Track and Fields, Hall of Fame. Amazing!

  3. Alan, in the original article that I wrote reference, was made to the male masters’ sprinter. This has been omitted in the re-working of this story, unfortunately! As far as I know, no accurate stats have been compiled in respect of female masters’ sprinters. Marge Allison also of AU would have to be a contender for that one.

  4. Andrew (Sandy) Crombie | January 20, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Reply

    Peter Crombie is my eldest brother, and his athletic prowess goes back well before the Masters. Whilst at school he was an athlete of great competitiveness, and when he took to Interclub, he would compete in almost every event that was available on the day. He would either win, or place in just about everyone of them. High, long, and triple jumps, pole vault, 100, 200, 400 and 800m, javelin, shot put and hammer throw, 60, 100 and 400m hurdles, even the 1500 and 3000m walks. If there is any event that I’ve not mentioned, it is purely an oversight, because he probably competed in it. Even whilst winning the sprints, it wasn’t till late in his career (when he became serious), that he learned that his technique for sprinting was terribly wrong, so he took the long and arduous task of retraining his style. the results are there for all to see. It was also probably around then that he gave the other events away to concentrate on his sprints, namely the 400m. The shorter events came back once he started running out of puff. An amazing, and thoroughly deserved, career, brought about by sheer grit, guts and determination, together with the strongest “NEVER say die” attitude that I have even seen in my life. Proud to be your brother.

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