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Olympic Champion to Speak at Local School

Ralph Boston was an NCAA and Olympic champion in the long jump and a world record holder.

The Redan High School track teams get to hear from one of the all-time great track athletes in former Olympian and world record holder Ralph Boston on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.

Boston, a Mississippi native who now lives in the Atlanta metro area, is a former NCAA and Olympic champion in the long jump.

The 1960 season was probably one of his finest during his career as he won the NCAA long jump and Olympic gold medals. He competed in the NCAA Track and Field Championships as a member of the Tennessee State University track team and in August followed up by breaking Jesse Owens’ 25-year old record with a leap of 26 feet, 11.25 inches in Rome, Italy to become the Olympic champion.

The USA Track and Field Hall of Famer also became the first person to surpass the 27 foot mark in the long jump to again set the world record in 1961 at 27 feet and ½ inch. This led to him being named the 1961 Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Boston went on to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1968 Mexico City Olympics winning a silver and bronze medal, respectively, in the two competitions. His bronze medal in 1968 was behind a great world record setting performance by Bob Beamon of over 29 feet, a fellow long jumper he had mentored heading into the Olympics.

Gold medals in the long jump also came in the 1963 and 1967 Pan American games and he also regained the world record in 1964 and held it until 1967.

The Redan track program has a productive history of its own winning back-to-back Class AAAA state boys’ track titles in 2004 and 2005 and the girls’ winning titles in 2005 and 2012.

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