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Billy Mills

Photo of Billy Mills

Inducted: 1976, athlete

Born: June 30, 1938 - Pine Ridge, South Dakota

5,000 m - 13:41.40
6 mi. - 27:12
10,000 m - 28:17.60
marathon - 2:22:55

Described as the greatest upset in Olympic history, Billy Mills' victory in the 10,000 meters at the 1964 Olympic Games will remain an indelible memory for anyone who saw his thrilling stretch run as he wove through a field of lapped runners and finally passed the race favorites, Ron Clarke and Mohamed Gammoudi. An Oglala Sioux Native American, Mills took up distance running while attending the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. He soon dropped his original goal of becoming a boxer and concentrated on running instead. At the University of Kansas under Hall of Fame coach Bill Easton, he was an All-American in cross country in both 1958 and 1959. After graduating from Kansas, he became a lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and finished second to Gammoudi in the 1963 interservice 10,000m run in Brussels, Belgium. The following year, he finished second to Gerry Lindgren in the 10,000 meters at the Olympic Trials. His greatest race awaited him in Tokyo. After winning the 10,000, Mills placed 14th in the Olympic marathon. The following year, Mills set a world six-mile record, running 27:11.6 in a tie with Lindgren at the AAU Nationals. Mills later became active in Native American affairs and in 1972 was named one of America's "Outstanding Young Men." A 1984 movie titled "Running Brave" was made of his life. Mills was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984.

Records Held
World Record: 6 mi. - 27:12 (June 27, 1965 - )

1964 Olympics: 10,000 m (1st)
1964 Olympics: marathon (14th)
1965 AAU: 6 mi. - 27:12 (1st)

high school: Haskell Institute (Lawrence, Kansas), 1957
undergraduate: Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas), 1962

Public speaking, humanitarian and Native American causes

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