Metcalf was a much underrated athlete. Born in New South Wales, he excelled in the triple jump but was also a world class high jumper and long jumper.
Metcalf competed at the 1934 London British Empire Games and won the triple jump with a Games record of 15.63m, placed third in the broad (long) jump (6.93m), and fourth in the high jump (1.88cm).
He was the only Australian to win a medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, winning bronze in the triple jump with a jump of 15.5m. He finished equal 12th in the high jump with 185cm.
Metcalf, 24 at the time of the Berlin Games, was a law student and coached himself. He had a good friendship with the two Japanese who beat him into third place in the triple jump, Naoto Tajima and Masao Harada. During the previous December, Metcalf had broken the world record of another Japanese athlete, the previous Olympic champion Chuhei Nambu, and been rewarded with a letter of congratulations from Nambu.
In Berlin he trained with Tajima, Harada, and a third Japanese Kenkichi Oshima, and swapped some pointers on style. Others in the Australian field team believed Metcalfe actually improved the technique of Tajima, who went on to break his world record as well as win the gold medal. Two German officials thought he was doing too much to help his opposition and approached the Australian team manager, Harry Alderson, and said they felt they should report Metcalf’s behaviour in coaching members of another team.
In 1937, he was Australian triple jump (15.16 metres) and javelin (54.84 metres) champion.
At the 1938 Sydney British Empire Games he won the triple jump with 15.49m, won bronze in the javelin with a throw of 55.53m, and finished fifth in the long jump (7.08m). He finished seventh in the high jump with 182cm.