November 20, 2006

Gold medalist Billy Mills

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Billy Mills, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist in the 10,000 meter run, will speak at Bucknell University Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Weis Center.

The talk, which is free to the public, is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell.

A member of the Oglala Sioux Native American tribe, Mills is the only American ever to win the Olympics 10k event. He began distance running while attending Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas, and continued the sport at the University of Kansas, where he was a 1958 and 1959 All-American in cross country. Mills won the individual title in the Big Eight Conference's cross country tournament in 1960 and was the conference champion in the two-mile race with a time just over nine minutes the following year.

While serving in the Marine Corps, he returned to racing, posting times that were good enough to qualify him for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Mills won the 10,000 meter race with a new Olympic record time of 28 minutes and 24 seconds, defeating Australia's Ron Clarke, who held the world record in the event at that time, and Tunisia's Mohammad Gammoudi, considered Clarke's chief rival for the gold.

After the Olympics, Mills went on to set several other records in distance running before retiring from competition. In 1965, he set an outdoor world record in the six-mile run, along with U.S. records in the 10,000 meter and three mile races. Mills, whose Native American name is Loves His Country, remains active in Native American causes today. The 1984 movie "Running Brave" was based on his victory.

Posted Nov. 20, 2006

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