Beginning our 7th year and over 2500 pages. A blog for fans of Track and Field from the 1950's and 60's, culled from various articles in sports journals of the day with added commentaries from readers who lived and ran and coached in that era.
We're the equivalent of an American Legion post of Track and Field but without cheap beer. You may contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment at the end of a given posting.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Mol. 3 No. 3 John Thomas, RIP January 16, 2013
BROCKTON Massachusetts Brockton Enterprise January 16, 2013 —
John Thomas, a legendary figure in track and field and two-time Olympic medal winner, died Tuesday at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital. He was 71.
Thomas won a bronze medal in the high jump in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and a silver at the 1964 games in Tokyo. He was the first man to clear 7 feet indoors and made 13 world-record jumps.
He was also a trustee at Brockton Public Library and a volunteer at the library and the YMCA.
He was athletic director at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury where he was known as “JT.”
Thomas was a 17-year old freshman at Boston University when he became the first athlete to break the 7-foot barrier indoors on Jan. 31, 1959, at the Millrose Games in New York. He eventually eclipsed the world indoor record with a leap of 7 feet 1 ¼ inches at the 1959 National AAU Championships.
He broke the world outdoor record three times in 1960, including a career-best jump of 7 feet, 3 ½ inches.
Thomas was the NCAA high jump champion in each of his four years at Boston University and captured seven national AAU titles. In his career, he cleared seven feet 191 times and lost only eight competitions.
“John meant a lot to me and to BU,” the school’s director of track and field and cross country Robyne Johnson said in a statement. “In the eight years I’ve been here, I found him to be a sincere and nice man. He was a tremendous athlete and he meant a lot to both track and field and to the BU community. He will be missed and we have heavy hearts at the Track and Tennis Center. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Thomas graduated from Boston University in 1963 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1968. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1985 and also named to the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame.