Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 21 Ralph Boston and John Thomas

Bruce Kritzler, Savannah, Georgia writes

Ralph Boston, who has a home locally, spoke to the St. Simons Island Rotary Club today. He brought along friend John Thomas, who is recovering from a "slight" heart attack. Ralph also has a home in Peachtree City, GA, and likes to head to the beach when ever the urge hits him.
Martin Turbidy, 1954 Auburn grad, attended 1968, 72, 76, 84 Olympic Games, and is the only other tracknut I've found in this area, organized the talk. I did some research for him on the principles. John Thomas had his best jumps in 1959 & 60, when he was 17 &18, all his pr's were set indoors, but did trade outdoor world records with Brumel. The spring after his indoor world record at age 17, John had a serious foot injury in an elevator accident, and missed the entire outdoor season. Came back the next year to reset the indoor record, and medal at the Rome Olympics. John, who always officiates the hj at NY's Millrose Games, stated that Valeriy Brumel's son jumped there a few years ago.
Ralph Boston broke Jesse Owens long jump world record, won the 1960 Olympics, and finished 2nd and 3rd in the next two Olympics. Ralph was also national/world class in some other events - 52-4 tj, 13.7 HH, 9.6,10.5 100, 6-9 hj, plus 13-7 pv, 168 jav, 22.4 200lh. Never completed a decathlon, but did the 1st day once. Majored in biochemistry as undergrad and was accepted to med school, but track and field got in the way. Got a masters degree at U of TN, and co-owned a Knoxville television station for many years. Was the color commentator for track and field on network television for many years.
Ralph spoke mostly about how humbled he was to be a kid from Laurel, MS who got to travel to 64 countries, visit most of the great cities and wonders of the world, mostly because of track and field. All his motivation came from wanting to please his parents and family (9 brothers and sisters).

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