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John Thomas

Photo of John Thomas

Inducted: 1985, athlete

Born: March 3, 1941 - Boston, Massachusetts

High Jump - 2.22 m

While still a 17-year-old freshman at Boston University, high jumper John Thomas stunned the track world when he became the first athlete to clear 7' indoors. His world indoor best of 7' 1 1/4" in 1959 launched him on a high jump career that spanned two Olympics and nine national titles. During his career, Thomas broke the outdoor world record three times, all in 1960, culminating with a clearance of 7' 3 1/2", which broke his previous best jump by 1 1/2". He was upset at the 1960 Olympic Games but still took the bronze medal. Four years later, in Tokyo, he cleared the same height as his rival Valery Brumel of the USSR, but was relegated to second place because Brumel had fewer misses. Between 1959 and 1966, Thomas won two national collegiate titles and seven National AAU titles, two outdoors and five outdoors. Over his career, Thomas cleared 7' or higher a colossal 191 times, losing only eight competitions. Also a good high hurdler, Thomas later became a track coach before entering business.

Records Held
World Record: High Jump - 2.21 m (July 1, 1960 - )

1960 Olympics: High Jump (3rd)
1964 Olympics: High Jump (2nd)

undergraduate: Boston (Boston, Massachusetts), 1963


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