Joseph McCluskey is an Olympic bronze medalist in the steeplechase (1932, Los Angeles), a former NYAC track and field coach and a 1982 Hall of Fame inductee.
McCluskey was born on June 2nd, 1911 in Manchester, Connecticut. He graduated from Fordham University in 1933, where he won five IC4A two-mile championships.
Before he graduated from Fordham, McCluskey represented the United States at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the 3000m steeplechase final, McCluskey was in second place at what should have been the finish line. However, because race officials miscounted the number of laps, the athletes wound up running an additional 460m. During the final lap, McCluskey dropped from second place to third, where he ultimately finished.
After the race, the officials realized that they had erred. When offered the opportunity to run the race again the next day, McCluskey graciously declined, saying, "A race has only one finish line.” McCluskey finished with a Bronze medal in the only 3,460m steeplechase in Olympic history.
In addition to his Olympic experience, McCluskey won a record nine national steeplechase championships between 1930 and 1943. He also won three consecutive 5000m national outdoor championships between 1935 and 1937.
During World War II, McCluskey served as a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander. After the war, he worked in New York as a stockbroker and coached the NYAC track team for 14 years.
McCluskey died on August 31st, 2002.