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, November 19, 2015
V 5 N. 112 Mal Whitfield RIP
Mal Whitfield, Ohio State University, USAF , 3 Olympic Gold Medals a Silver and a Bronze passed away on November 18, 2015 at the age of 91. Whitfield was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, flew 27 missions as a tailgunner in the Korean War, was an NCAA Champion in the 880 for Ohio State University, and winner of the Sullivan Award for the country's top amateur athlete. After he retired in 1956 he became a Goodwill ambassador for the State Department for 34 years. He was also a professor of Physical Education in Nigeria.
The following piece appeared on the IAAF website today. TWO-TIME OLYMPIC 800M CHAMPION MAL WHITFIELD DIES AT THE AGE OF 91
The IAAF is very saddened to learn of the death of three-time Olympic champion Mal Whitfield.
He died in Washington, USA, on Wednesday (19) at the age of 91.
At the London 1948 Olympic Games, Whitfield was then a 24-year-old US Air Force sergeant who had served in World War II and became the first US serviceman to win an Olympic gold medal while on active duty.
Whitfield won the 800m in an Olympic record of 1:49.2, anchored the USA 4x400m team to victory and also took a bronze medal in the 400m.
Four years later, at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games, Whitfield defended his 800m title and equalled his Olympic record from London, and also won a silver medal in the 4x400m.
Whitfield famously trained for the 1952 Games while serving during the Korean War, where he flew 27 missions. He won 66 of his 69 800m/880 yards races from June of 1948 to the end of 1954.
He set three individual official IAAF world records: two at 880 yards in 1950 and 1953, one at 1000m in 1952; and he was also a part of the USA teams that set official world records at the imperial distances of 4x440 yards and 4x880 yards within the space of six days in London in August 1952.
Whitfield’s other athletics achievements included winning the 400m, 800m and 4x400m gold medals at the 1951 Pan American Games.
Upon his retirement from competitive athletics at the end of 1956, Whitfield toured the world as a Sports Goodwill Ambassador for the US Department of State, coaching extensively across Africa, and later became the head of the Physical Education and Sports Department at the University of Nigeria.
He was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1988.
The IAAF wishes to pass on its sincere condolences to his family and friends.