Track & Field Legends

March 26, 2019
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Let's take a look at the achievements of a few track and field legends who are still remembered today:

Carl Lewis

Born in 1961, Carl Lewis was a former track and field athlete from Alabama. He qualified in 1980 for the Olympics but didn't take part as the U.S had boycotted the Moscow Games. Competing in the long jump from the age of 13, Lewis was one of the top long jumpers in the world by the time he had reached his senior year. He attended the University of Houston in 1981, and he became the second person in NCAA history to win the long jump and 100 meters at college championships.

Fast Facts

  • Competed in 4 Olympic Games
  • Won 9 Gold medals
  • His father trained him at their family club
  • He was never a sports ambassador for the U.S

Jesse Owens

Born in 1913, Owens was known as the "Buckeye Bullet." He was a track and field athlete in the U.S and won 4 Gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games. Owens was known to be the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history. He was noticed in junior high and attended Ohio State, participating in NCAA championships.

Fast Facts

  • Set 3 world records and tied a 4th within 45 mins
  • Faced racial discrimination and continued to be a winner regardless
  • Accomplished what no Olympian before him had


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Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Born in 1962, Joyner-Kersee is considered to be the greatest athlete of all time in track and field having won 3 Olympic Gold medals, as well as 1 Silver and 2 Bronze. Joyner-Kersee competed in women's track and field and basketball at UCLA, and she was one of the 15 greatest women's basketball players of all time.

Fast Facts:

  • 1984 summer Olympics saw her win a Silver medal in Heptathlon
  • Current Heptathlon world record holder, scoring 7,921 points
  • Former long jump record holder
  • She was also a professional golfer

"Babe" Didrickson Zaharias

Zaharias was born in 1911 and was the first ever female American golf celebrity and leading player of the '40s-'50s. She had success in track and field, and golf and was named officially as the "Woman Athlete of the Half Century" in 1950. She qualified for the 1932 Olympics, winning five events and setting javelin, hurdles and high jump world records. During her time, she won 2 Gold medals and 1 Silver medal. In 1935, Zaharias began to play golf and marked herself as a legend in it, winning 10 medals during her professional status.

Fast Facts:

  • Would have lessons lasting five to six hours, until her hands bled
  • Was called "Babe" when she hit 5 home runs in a childhood baseball game
  • Has featured in Time magazine in 1939, where they described her as a famed woman athlete and track and field star.

Each of these athletes is a historical legend in their own right, so it makes sense that we get to know them to keep their memory alive today.

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