Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hall of Fame to open Saturday


Five former world-record holders are part of the inaugural Kansas Relays Hall of Fame class to be honored this week.

Athletes Glenn Cunningham, Wes Santee, Al Oerter, Billy Mills and Jim Ryun and coaches Bill Easton and Bob Timmons will be the first inductees into the hall during a ceremony at the conclusion of the relays Saturday.

Each of the five athletes set world records, and Oerter was a four-time Olympic champion. Easton and Timmons were longtime KU coaches.

A look at the inductees:

  • Al Oerter: He won the gold medal in the discus in the 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968 Olympics and broke the world record four times. He was the first man to throw a discus 200 feet.
  • Billy Mills: The only American to win a gold medal in the Olympic 10,000-meter run, he pulled off one of the great upsets in Olympic history with a dramatic sprint to the finish line in the 1964 Tokyo games. He also set a world record in the 6-mile run.
  • Glenn Cunningham: A two-time Olympian who won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter run in 1936, he set a world record in the mile and won the Sullivan Award in 1933 as the nation's outstanding amateur athlete.
  • Jim Ryun: A Republican congressman from Kansas' 2nd District, he was a silver medalist in the 1968 Olympics. He held the world record in the mile for almost nine years and won the Sullivan Award. At Wichita East High School, Ryun was the first high school athlete to break the four-minute mile and set a prep record that stood until 2001.
  • Wes Santee: He won the mile or 1,500 meters at eight Kansas Relays. As a sophomore at Kansas, Santee was chosen the outstanding performer of the 1952 Kansas Relays and was a member of that year's U.S. Olympic team.
  • Bill Easton: The coach of the Jayhawks during 1947-65, he led Kansas to 39 conference titles and three NCAA championships.
  • Bob Timmons: The Jayhawks' head coach and the Relays' meet director from 1965 to 1988, he coached Kansas to four NCAA team titles, 12 top-five finishes and 10 consecutive conference titles.

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