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Don Bowden

Photo of Don Bowden

Inducted: 2008, athlete

Born: August 8, 1936

Events
800 yd. - 47.90
1,500 m - 3:46.50
1 mi. - 3:58.70


A 1956 Olympian at 1,500 meters, Don Bowden is best known for being the first American ever to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile. Bowden became the U.S. mile record holder when he ran 3:58.7 in Stockton, Calif., on June 1, 1957, which made him the first American to break 4:00. The 1957 NCAA Outdoor 880y champion, Bowden was world ranked #3 in the 800 meters by Track & Field News in 1957. He also ran the third leg (1:49.5) for the University of California quartet that set the 4x880y relay world record of 7:21.0 in Los Angeles on May 24, 1957.

Records Held
World Record: 3,520 m relay - 7:21.00 (May 16, 1958 - )
American Record: 1 mi. - 3:58.70 (June 1, 1957 - )

Championships
1957 NCAA Outdoor Championships: 880 yd. - 1:47.20 (1st)

Education
high school: Lincoln HS (San Jose, California), 1954
undergraduate: University of California, 1958

Occupations
Employee of Allied Chemical/ Developed the first synthetic track surface

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