Monday, July 18, 2016

V 6 N. 52 High School Kids Who Have Made US Olympic Track and Field Team

With the outstanding performances of several high school athletes at this year's Olympic Trials, a question came up of how many high schoolers have made the team in the past.   This year Sydney McLaughlin just turned 17 finished third in the women's 400IH in a time of 54.18 and qualified.  Also two young men Noah Lyles (20.09) and Michael Norman (20.14) just missed making the team in the 200.   Our group of experts have thrown out some names, which may be incomplete, but this is what we've found off the top of our collective heads.  If you are a stats freak or have a better memory, please help us out with any additional names.   By definition, the athlete should still be in high school or have graduated in the same year as the trials.  We can't count swimmers and gymnasts in this, and we know there are many, many 14 year olds who have made the Olympic teams in these and other sports.   Here is what we have so far as corroborated through the website  www.sports-reference.com .   Sorry, we are not collecting information about other nations, but if you think you have one from your country who meets this definition, please feel free to add to our list.

Chronological Order

1924    Lee Barnes  b. 7-16-1906,   Salt Lake City, UT,   won the pole vault in 3.90 meters.
Lee Barnes
            Though
            not the favorite he prevailed over the US champion.  Also of note the World Record holder
            in the pole vault  Charles Hof of Norway had injured an ankle and could not jump, but instead
            ran the 800 and finished 8th in 1:56.7.   Quite a Plan B don't you think?  Barnes is the only
            person to perform as a stunt double for Buster Keaton as seen at 2:16 in this video.
            Lee Barnes performing for Buster Keaton

1928    Betty Robinson  Running in only her fourth track meet won the 100 meters at Amsterdam.  A
            few years later was injured in a plane crash and did not compete at Los Angeles in 1932.

       However using a standing start, she was able to make the 1936 team as a 4x100 runner and
            earned a second gold medal.

1936    Helen Stephens  b. Feb., 1918, Fulton, MO.  The Fulton Flash   in her first ever race set a
            WR at 50 yards, beating Stella Walsh.  At Berlin, she won the 100, ran on the gold medal
             4x100 and finished 9th in the discus.   PBs  100y  10.8, 200m 24.1, SP  44'11  1/2", (13.70)
             and discus  (39.50) at Berlin.

1936    Louis Zamperini  b. Jan. 1917  finished 8th in the 5000 as a recently graduated 19 year old.
            Went on to fame with his war exploits.

1948    Bob Mathias   Tulare, CA, won decathlon at 17 in London and then set WR winning again in             1952.

1956    Eddie Southern,  b. January 4, 1938 won the silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games in the 400IH as an 18 year old.

The Games were held late, November, due to the Australian summer, so Eddie did not enter the University of Texas till January, 1957.  Interesting note: Eddie won both the 220 and the 440 at the Texas High School State Meet in May of 1956.  He set a national high school record in the 220 in 20.7 and less than an hour later won the 440 in 47.2, a national high school record also.  Quite a double!  Thanks for this info to Preston Davis.

Oak Cliff TX newspaper  The Oak Cliff Advocate claims in this article that he graduated in 1955, but that may be a mistake as there were some other errors in their story.  So we will give him a pass since Preston says he didn't enroll in UT until after the Olympics and that he graduated in 1956.    Here's the account from the Oak Cliff Advocate
    Eddie Southern began running races at W. E. Greiner Junior High School before entering Sunset, where he set state and national high school records ablaze. The 1955 graduate competed as a member of the ’56 USA Olympic Track Team that traveled to Melborne, Austrailia, and stood on the podium as the 440-meter hurdles Olympic silver medalist. Along with his USA teammate Glenn Davis, Southern broke the world record in the pre-lims, and then both men broke it again in the finals. Southern was leading the pack until the last hurdle, when Davis passed him by and grabbed the gold. Southern went on to lead the University of Texas Track Team to Southwest Conference championships in ’57, ’58 and ’59, setting more individual records in multiple events.
Breaking news.  Eddie Southern D.Q'd.  Some back checking by Preston Davis indicates that Eddie did indeed graduate in 1955.  Therefore his double at the Texas state meet most likely was in 1955 as well.  Then he must have enrolled at UT in Fall 1955 and attended Spring 1956.  He ran for UT as a soph in 1957 and may have sat out in Fall 56 in order to compete in the Melbourne Olympics. So he would have had some college time before going to the O's even though he was still 18 in 1956.   
  

1964    Jim Ryun , Wichita, KS  b. April 29, 1947  qualified for 1500 meters.  Eliminated in semis.
            Went on to WR in 1500, Mile, 880,  and a silver medal in 1500 in 1968.

1964    Gerry Lindgren  b. March  9, 1946.   Finished 9th in 10,000 meters at Tokyo.  Earlier that
            summer had won 10,000 in the USA  USSR dual meet.   Eleven time NCAA champion.

1976    Houston Mctear   made US team in 100, but had to withdraw due to injuries.  Replaced
            by another high school athlete,  Johnny Lam Jones.

1976    Johnny Lam Jones  b. April, 1958,  Lawton, OK.  Replaced McTear and finished 6th in
            the 100 meters.  Won a gold on the 4x100.

1976    Dwayne Evans  b. Oct. 13, 1958,  P:hoenix, AZ.  Won bronze in 200 at Montreal, 20.43.
            Ran at Arizona State,   won 200    AAU 1978, and NCAA 1981.

2004    Allyson Felix    Born in November 1985,  Allyson was still 18 when she made the US team
            and earned a silver medal in the 200.  Technically she had graduated in 2003 and so was a
            year out of high school and had turned pro, but we think she earns a pass, because of her age.



2016    Sydney Mclaughlin    b. 7-8-1999.  Her future awaits.



2016     Vashti Cunningham    High Jump        Don Betowski reminded us that Vashti is also a recent               high school
              graduate from Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, NV.    Her dad Randall Cunningham was also               a pretty decent high jumper as well as an all Pro quarterback.

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