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Mel Patton

Inducted: 1985, athlete

Born: November 16, 1924 - Los Angeles, California

Events
100 yd. - 9.30
100 m - 10.30
220 yd. - 20.20


Just after World War II, the "World's Fastest Human" was Melvin "Mel" Patton. "Pell Mell," as he was nicknamed in the late 1940s, made his mark in track and field while a student at the University of Southern California, where he was coached by Hall of Famer Dean Cromwell. The tall, thin (6' 0", 148-pound) Trojan won the national collegiate 100-yard dash title in 1947 and in 1948 and 1949 he completed the 100-200 sprint double at that same meet. In 1947, he tied the world 100-yard dash record of 9.4, then lowered it to 9.3 the following year. The year 1948 was a bittersweet one for Patton. In the 100m dash at the Olympic Trials, he suffered a rare loss to fellow Hall of Famer Barney Ewell. Despite the loss, he was co-favorite to win the event at the Olympic Games, but placed only fifth. He atoned for that disappointment by taking gold medals in the 200 and 4x100m relay. In 1949, Patton set a 220-yard world record on a straightaway of 20.2, breaking a record set 14 years earlier by Jesse Owens. After retiring from competition, he became a track coach before entering the electronics industry.

Records Held
World Record: 100 yd. - 9.30 (May 15, 1948 - )
World Record: 220 yd. - 20.20 (May 7, 1949 - )

Championships
1948 Olympics: 100 m (5th)
1948 Olympics: 200 m (1st)
1948 Olympics: 400 m relay (1st)
1947 NCAA: 100 yd. (1st)
1948 NCAA: 100 m (1st)
1948 NCAA: 200 m (1st)
1949 NCAA: 100 m (1st)
1949 NCAA: 200 m (1st)

Education
undergraduate: USC (Los Angeles, California), 1949

Occupations
Coach
Electronics representative

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