Lancaster, Ohio native and Ohio State alum Gene Cole passed away January 11, 2018. He was a former national high school record holder (1948) in the 440 yards (48.0) and member of the silver medal 4x400 team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Cole's obituary from the Lancaster (OH) Eagle-Gazette follows.
Lancaster - Gerald E. (Gene) Cole passed away on January 11, 2018. Born in New Lexington, Ohio on February 18, 1928 to parents Gerald and Rosenell Cole, and raised in Lancaster, Gene attended Lancaster City Schools where he was a track and field star, elected to the Lancaster High School
Hall of Fame. Moving on to The Ohio State University, Gene was again a sports stand-out, and was also inducted into the OSU Track and Field Hall of Fame. During his fourth year at OSU, Gene participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics where he earned a silver medal in the 4 X 400
meter relays. He was a Mason, Shriner and lifetime member of the Eagles. Gene retired from Anchor Hocking after nearly thirty years of service. Well known in the local real estate markets, where he was an agent for many years, Gene was a well-liked man who never seemed to meet a stranger.
As in 1952, the final was considered a two-team race between Jamaica and the United States. [Ollie Matson], later an NFL running back, gave the US a slim lead on the opening leg over Jamaica's 1948 400 metre champion, [Arthur Wint]. On the second leg, [Gene Cole] extended the US lead with a 45.5 leg. When [Herb McKenley] received the baton for his third leg, he was over 10 metres in arrears. Racing against 400 hurdles gold medalist [Charlie Moore], McKenley ran the fastest 400 leg yet recorded, 44.6 sec., the first time any runner had bettered 45 seconds for 400 metres. As they neared the bell lap, McKenley gave Jamaica a narrow lead. The anchor was contested between Jamaica's [George Rhoden] and the USA's [Mal Whitfield], who had won the 400 and 800 metre gold medals, respectively. Whitfield ran on Rhoden's shoulder for the entire last lap, but could never quit pull even or pass him. Jamaica won the gold medal in the greatest 4x400 relay to that time, breaking the world record, with the United States also bettering the old mark, by over four seconds.