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Willie Davenport

Photo of Willie Davenport

Inducted: 1982, athlete

Born: June 8, 1943 - Troy, Alabama
Deceased: June 18, 2002

110 m hurdles - 13.20

A four-time competitor at the Summer Olympic Games as a high hurdler, Willie Davenport achieved a unique distinction in 1980 by becoming one of the few athletes to ever compete in both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. That year, Davenport competed in the Winter Olympics as a bobsledder but did not place. His Olympic credentials on the track were far more impressive. He won the gold medal in the 110m hurdles at the 1968 Olympics with a meet record of 13.3 and in other Olympic appearances he failed to make the final in 1964, was fourth in 1972 and third in 1976. After an outstanding athletic career at Howland High School, Davenport joined the U.S. Army and became a member of its track team. As a PFC in 1964, he was the surprise winner in the 110m hurdles at the Olympic Trials and suddenly became the favorite for the gold medal in Tokyo. However, he incurred a thigh injury and failed to advance beyond the semi-finals. The next three years, he was national champion in the 110m hurdles and won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. He tied the world record of 13.2 at Zurich, Switzerland, on July 4, 1969. Davenport was equally formidable indoors, winning the national championship in the 60-yard hurdles five times, in 1966 and 1967 and from 1969 through 1971. After being discharged from the Army, he competed for Southern University in Louisiana. He subsequently returned to military duty and rose to the rank of Colonel in the Army National Guard. He coached the All-Army men's and women's track teams to an unprecedented four undefeated seasons from 1993 to 1996. At the time of his death in 2002, he was chief of the National Guard Bureau's Office of Sports Management.

Records Held
World Record: 110 m hurdles - 13.20 (July 4, 1969 - )

1964 Olympics: 110 m hurdles
1968 Olympics: 110 m hurdles (1st)
1972 Olympics: 110 m hurdles (4th)
1976 Olympics: 110 m hurdles (3rd)
1965 US Outdoors: 110 m hurdles (1st)
1966 US Indoors: 60 yd. hurdles (1st)
1966 US Outdoors: 110 m hurdles (1st)
1967 US Indoors: 60 yd. hurdles (1st)
1967 US Outdoors: 110 m hurdles (1st)
1969 US Indoors: 60 yd. hurdles (1st)
1970 US Indoors: 60 yd. hurdles (1st)
1971 US Indoors: 60 yd. hurdles (1st)

high school: Howland (Warren, Ohio)
undergraduate: Southern (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), 1969

U.S. Army officer

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