On Thursday, April 18, the NCAA dedicated a room at its national office in Indianapolis to Billy Mills, continuing the organization’s tradition of recognizing athletes who used their sport to cultivate leadership skills that made a difference in their communities.
“Billy Mills’s accomplishments on and off the track are what dreams are made of and nothing short of amazing,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in an NCAA release. “His message of unity is powerful. It reflects the values of the NCAA, and we hope that this inspiring message of hope propels others to do great things.”
Mills remains the only Team USA athlete to win Olympic gold in the 10,000-meter race, something he accomplished at the 1964 Games, shocking the world. After being commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps after college, Mills joined the U.S. Marine Corps Track and Field Team and qualified for the 1964 Olympics. He qualified for the 10,000-meter finals nearly a minute slower than record-holder Ron Clarke of Australia and hardly drew notice in a field packed with former gold medalists and record holders. Then Mills blew past Clarke and other favored runners on the final stretch, beating his personal best time by 46 seconds to make history.
The Associated Press
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