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Horace Ashenfelter

Photo of Horace Ashenfelter

Inducted: 1975, athlete

Born: January 23, 1923 - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

3,000 m steeplechase - 8:45.40
2 mi. - 8:50

The only American to hold the world record in the steeplechase, Horace Ashenfelter achieved that feat at the 1952 Olympic Games, winning in 8:45.4. In that race, he overcame the challenge of the favorite, Vladimir Kazantsev of the Soviet Union, who had lowered his world record to 8:48.6 just six weeks before the Games. The victory helped Ashenfelter win the 1952 Sullivan Award, which goes annually to the nation's top amateur athlete. Nicknamed "Nip," Ashenfelter won the NCAA two-mile championship while a senior at Penn State in 1949. During his collegiate years, he began steeplechasing, applying lessons from high-school physics to develop a unique style of clearing the event's water jump. He won his first of three National AAU titles in the steeplechase in 1951. In all, he won 17 national championships at a variety of distances, from two to six miles and from the indoor 3 mile to cross country. An FBI agent during his competitive days, Ashenfelter later became a salesman. He had a brother, Bill, who also was an Olympic steeplechaser in 1952. Their brother, Don, was also a distance runner. All three Ashenfelters ran on a Penn State relay team that won the Penn Relays 4-mile title in 1949.

Records Held
World Record: 3,000 m steeplechase - 8:45.40 (July 27, 1952 - )

1952 Olympics: 3,000 m steeplechase
1956 Olympics: 3,000 m steeplechase - 8:45.40 (1st)
1951 AAU: 3,000 m steeplechase (1st)
1949 NCAA: 2 mi. (1st)

high school: Collegeville (Collegeville, Pennsylvania), 1941
undergraduate: Penn State (State College, Pennsylvania), 1949

FBI agent

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