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1958 Track and Field Highlights

On January 25, Herb Elliott ran the mile in 3 minutes 58 seconds at Melbourne, Australia. By year's end he had run a sub-four-minute mile a total of ten times.

Ron Delaney won the Banker's Mile of the Chicago Daily News Relays on March 14 with a world record indoor mile time of 4 minutes 3.2 seconds.

Al Oerter set a new world record for the discus with a throw of 202 feet 6 inches in the University of Arkansas Relays in Fayetteville on April 5.

Frajo Mihalic won the 62nd Boston Marathon on April 19.

Villanova won the mile, distance, and sprint medleys for the best showing in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 25-26.

The NCAA Outdoor Championship was held in Berkeley, California, June 13-14. The University of Southern California won its 20th team title with an 8-point advantage over the University of Kansas. Ron Delany wound up his collegiate career by wining both the mile and half-mile events. Charley Tidwell won the 220-yard low hurdles in 22.7 seconds, the fastest time that distance had ever been run around a curve.

Glenn Davis of Ohio State ran the 440-yard in 45.7 seconds at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet on June 14 to set a new world record.
Glen Davis breaking the 440-yard record

John Fromm of Pacific Lutheran College threw the javelin for a collegiate record 257 feet 1 inch at the NCAA Championship.
John Fromm

The National AAU Championships held at Bakersfield, California, June 20-21, produced three world records, one tied world mark, an American record, and a total of ten championship records. The new world records were Harold Connolly's 225-foot-4-inch hammer throw, Glenn Davis's 440-yard hurdles in 49.9 seconds, and Herb Elliott's mile in 3 minutes 57.9 seconds. The latter two marks were subsequently bettered during the year. Eddie Southern tied a world record with his time of 45.8 seconds in the 440-yard run. Deacon Jones set a new American record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes 57.3 seconds.

Fifteen-year-old Josephine Spencer clears the bar in the girls' high jump event of the Women's National AAU Championships at Morristown, New Jersey, on July 4. Spencer placed third in the high jump.
Josephine Spencer

Rafer Johnson of the University of California at Los Angeles won the National AAU Decathlon Title July 4-5 at Palmyra, New York, with a total of 7,754 points.

The British Empire and Commonwealth Games, held at Cardiff, Wales, July 19-26, saw all meet records equaled or bettered with three exceptions. Gert Potgieter broke the world 400-yard hurdles mark with a time of 49.7 seconds.

The Soviet Union and the United States met in a two-day track and field match in Moscow, Russia, on July 27-28. The U.S. women's team did better than expected but lost 63-44. During the meet, Rafer Johnson set a world record of 8,302 points in the decathlon and Oleg Ryakhovsky of Russia set a world record of 54 feet 5-1/4 inches in the hop, step, and jump. The American star was Glenn Davis of Ohio State, who won the 400-meter flat race and the 400-meter hurdles and helped win the 1,600-meter relay. The U.S. men's team won the overall competition 126-109.

Perry O'Brien put the shot 62 feet 9.56 inches to win the event in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. meet.
Patty O'Brien

Rafer Johnson puts the shot during a decathlon duel with Vasily Kuznetsov in Moscow.
Rafer Johnson

Jerzy Chromik established a world record of 8 minutes 32 seconds for the 3,000-meter steeplechase during a U.S.-Poland meet in Warsaw, Poland, on August 1-2.

Glenn Davis ran the 400-meter hurdles in the world record time of 49.2 seconds at a meet in Budapest, Hungary, on August 5-6.

Herb Elliott broke his own world record for the mile with a time of 3 minutes 54.5 seconds in Dublin, Ireland, on August 6. His pace also pulled three other rivals across the line in what would have been record times -- Merv Lincoln (3 minutes 54.9 seconds), Ron Delany (3 minutes 57.5 seconds), and Murray Halberg (3 minutes 57.5 seconds). Albert Thomas ran the 2-Mile race in the world record time of 8 minutes 32 seconds at the same meet, on August 7.

All five of these track stars ran the mile in under 4 minutes at Dublin. Herb Elliott is in the middle of the top row.
Herb Elliott

Elliott leads the five men to the finish line at the Dublin meet.
Herb Elliott

Herb Elliott added to his many conquests at Göteburg, Sweden,on August 28 when he ran the 1,500-meter in 3 minutes 36 seconds to shatter the old world record of 3 minutes 38.1 seconds, which had been set by Stanislav Jungwirth.

John Lawlor set an IC4A record in Villanova, Pennsylvania, with a 198-feet-8-inch hammer throw.
John Lawlor

Following the amateur track season Rafer Johnson and Glenn Davis competed for the Amateur Athletic Union's James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, presented anually to the outstanding U.S. amateur athlete. Davis was selected in the closest voting in the award's history.

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

This page was last updated on June 19, 2017.