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John Woodruff

Inducted: 1978, athlete

Born: July 5, 1915 - Connellsville, Pennsylvania


While only a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh in 1936, John Woodruff took the track world by storm by finishing second in the 800 meters at the National AAU meet, then winning the Olympic Trials. Despite his inexperience, he was quickly established as the favorite at the Berlin Olympics. He didn't disappoint, though he had an anxious moment in the final when he found himself boxed in. He pulled a tactical coup, virtually slowing to a stop and waiting until the entire field passed him, then moving into the third lane and sprinting from last to first. His winning time was 1:52.9. During a career that was curtailed by World War II, Woodruff won three-straight national collegiate titles and also took the National AAU 880 in 1937. The American record holder at 800 meters with a 1:48.6 in 1940, Woodruff also held a share of the world 4x880-yard record while competing with the U.S. national team. He later became a career army officer.

Records Held
American Record: 800 m - 1:48.60 (June 7, 1940 - )

Championships
1936 Olympics: 800 m - 1:52.90 (1st)
1936 AAU: 800 m (2nd)
1937 AAU: 880 yd. (1st)

Education
high school: Connellsville (Connellsville, Pennsylvania), 1935
undergraduate: Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 1939

Occupations
Military officer
Schoolteacher
Recreation director

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