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Tom Courtney

Photo of Tom Courtney

Inducted: 1978, athlete

Born: August 17, 1933 - Newark, New Jersey

Events
800 yd. - 1:46.80
800 m - 1:46.40


An extremely strong runner, Tom Courtney came into national prominence while a student at Fordham University, winning the IC4A indoor 1000-yard run in 1954 and the NCAAA outdoor 880-yard title in 1955, as well as running the anchor leg on Fordham's outstanding 4x800 relay team. Courtney's career peaked in 1956 when he set an American record of 1:46.4 in the 800 meters at the Olympic Trials, then won one of the closest, most dramatic races in Olympic history by outleaning Great Britain's Derek Johnson to win the 800 meters. Courtney later wrote: "It was a new kind of agony for me....The only thing I could think was, 'If I live, I will never run again.'" He returned during the same Olympics to anchor the winning U.S. 4x400m relay team. A two-time National AAU champion at 880 yards and once at 440 yards, Courtney also held world indoor bests for the 600-yard and 880-yard races.

Records Held
World Record: 800 yd. - 1:46.80 (May 24, 1957 - )
American Record: 800 m - 1:46.40

Championships
1956 Olympics: 800 m (1st)
1956 Olympics: 1,600 m relay (1st)
1955 NCAA: 880 yd. (1st)

Education
undergraduate: Fordham (Bronx, New York), 1955

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