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Forrest Towns

Photo of Forrest Towns

Inducted: 1976, athlete

Born: February 6, 1924 - Fitzgerald, Georgia
Deceased: April 4, 1991

Events
110 m hurdles - 13.70


Tall (6' 2") and blessed with 9.7 100-yard-dash speed, Forrest "Spec" Towns revolutionized the 110m high hurdles, dropping the world record an incredible four-tenths of a second to become the first person to break 14 seconds in that event. In high school, Towns played just one sport -- football. Nonetheless, he was awarded a track scholarship to the University of Georgia after astounding witnesses during a backyard high-jumping contest. In college, he was a quick learner under Hall of Fame coach Weems Baskin. Towns won the Southeastern AAU 120-yard hurdles in his freshman year and added the NCAA and National AAU titles the following year. In 1936, he set his first world record, running 14.1 in the 110m hurdles at the NCAA championships. He matched that time in winning the Berlin Olympics by a comfortable two yards. Three weeks later, he did the unthinkable, lowering the world record to 13.7 at a meet in Oslo, Norway. From 1935 to 1937, Towns won more than 60 consecutive hurdle races. He also set the world record of 7.3 seconds in the indoor 60-yard hurdles. Towns stayed on as a coach at Georgia and was the Bulldogs' head coach from 1946 to 1975.

Records Held
World Record: 110 m hurdles - 13.70 (August 27, 1936 - )

Championships
1936 Olympics: 110 m hurdles (1st)
1936 NCAA: 110 m hurdles - 14.10 (1st)

Education
high school: Richmond Academy (Augusta, Georgia), 1933
undergraduate: Georgia (Athens, Georgia), 1937

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