- Jim Ryun
- Danny McManus
- Carl Lewis
We all know that the Olympics are a time for athletes to show off their skills and compete for medals. But did you know that Kansas has its own gold medalist?
That’s right, one of our own Kansas natives, Jim Ryun, won a gold medal in the 1,500 meter run at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
We’re pretty proud of our boy Jim and wanted to share his story with you all. So, next time you’re feeling
Checkout this video:
Jim Ryun won a gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics in the 1,500 meter race. He was the first American to run a mile in less than four minutes. Ryun was born in Wichita, Kansas, and attended the University of Kansas.
Won a gold medal in the 1500 meter race in the 1968 Summer Olympics
Jim Ryun (born April 29, 1947) is a former American track and field athlete who won a gold medal in the 1500 meter race at the 1968 Summer Olympics. He is also the former world record holder in the mile run. Ryun was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kansas in 1996 and served until 2007 as a Republican.
Ryun grew up and attended high school in Wichita, Kansas, where he established himself as one of the best high school milers in the country. He then went on to compete at the University of Kansas, where he won several NCAA titles. After his freshman year, Ryun became the first high school miler to run a sub-4 minute mile. He broke numerous other records and earned himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. There, he won a gold medal in the 1500 meter race, becoming the first American to do so.
Ryun held various world records throughout his career in events such as indoor track, outdoor track, and road running. He still holds the record for being the youngest person to ever run a mile in under 4 minutes. In 1996, he was elected to serve as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives for Kansas’s 2nd congressional district, which includes Wichita. He was reelected five times before retiring from Congress in 2007.
First high school athlete to run a mile in under four minutes
On June 3, 1964, at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, high school student Jim Ryun became the first amateur athlete ever to run a mile in under four minutes. His time of 3:59.0 was more than a full second faster than the previous record, held by New Zealander Peter Snell. It would stand as the high school record for nearly 36 years.
Danny McManus (born December 20, 1963) is a former professional American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and Arena Football League (AFL). He won a Grey Cup championship with each of the three teams for which he played.
Won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics
Danny McManus (born October 25, 1954) is an American former decathlete. He won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics, held in Montreal.
McManus was born in Wichita, Kansas. He competed for the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, where he finished in seventh place. He won the gold medal four years later in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with a total of 8454 points.
After his Olympic success, McManus retired from athletics and became a coach. He has coached at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Still holds the Kansas state record in the decathlon
Danny McManus (born October 31, 1966) is a retired American decathlete.
He attended high school in Wichita, Kansas, graduated in 1985, and then attended Wichita State University. He still holds the Kansas state record in the decathlon.
In 1988, he won the gold medal at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, and he also competed at the 1988 Olympic Trials, but did not make the Olympic team. He won the gold medal at the 1992 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, he finished 28th in the decathlon. He competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, but did not finish due to an injury.
Carl Lewis is a former American track and field athlete who won 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996 when he last won an Olympic event. He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games.
Won a gold medal in the long jump at the 1984 Summer Olympics
Lewis was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 1, 1961, the son of Stella and Wilbert Lewis. He set world records in the 100-meter and long jump events more than once. He also won nine Olympic gold medals, including eight gold medals in track and field, and is one of only three Olympians to win a gold medal in the same individual event at four consecutive Olympic Games.
Won nine Olympic gold medals in his career
Few athletes have been as dominant in their field as Carl Lewis was in track and field. Throughout his illustrious career, he won nine Olympic gold medals, eight of which came in successive fashion. In addition to his Olympic gold medals, Lewis also won 10 World Championship medals, including six golds.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1961, Lewis started running track at an early age. He competed in his first Olympic Games in 1980, but he did not medal. Undeterred, he went on to have one of the most decorated careers in the history of track and field.
In 1984, Lewis enjoyed a breakout year. He won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, cementing his status as one of the greatest athletes in the world. He would go on to win four more gold medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Throughout his career, Lewis set multiple world records. He was also a two-time winner of the prestigious Jesse Owens Award (1986 and 1987), which is given to the top track and field athlete in the United States.
After retiring from competition in 1997, Lewis turned his attention to philanthropy and activism. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest civilian honors that can be bestowed upon an individual in the United States.