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Lou Jones

record-setting 400-meter runner

Lou Jones

Louis Woodard Jones III was born in New Rochelle, New York, on January 15, 1932. He graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1950, and then entered Manhattan College (in The Bronx, New York), where he studied business administration.

A star athlete in high school, Jones continued that reputation at Manhattan, becoming the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) champion in the 440-yard race in his senior year (1954).

Jones was serving in the U. S. Army when he won the 400-meter dash at the 1955 Pan-American Games in Mexico City, Mexico, with a world record time of 45.4 seconds. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning American 4x400-meter relay team. He broke his own record, with 45.2 seconds, during the U. S. Olympic Trials at the Los Angeles (California) Memorial Coliseum in June 1956, making him a favorite for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. His Olympic performance fell short, however, as his time of 48.1 seconds was only good enough for fifth place. He was, however, a member of the gold medal-winning 4x400-meter relay team, with Charlie Jenkins (who placed first in the 400-meter), Tom Courtney, and Jesse Mashburn.

Following his release from the Army, Jones entered Columbia University's Teachers College, from which he received a Master's in Physical Education in 1960. He subsequently worked as a teacher and coach at New Rochelle High School, served in the New Rochelle school administration as a dean, and taught in the Heath and Physical Education Department of Queensborough Community College. In 1975, he left the academic world to work as an equal employment opportunity coordinator in the Westchester County Equal Employment Opportunity Office. He retired in 1991, and died rom complications of diabetes at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx on February 3, 2006.

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The Robinson Library >> Recreation >> Track and Field Athletics >> Biography

This page was last updated on March 21, 2018.