Mel Patton dies at 89; inspired many masters sprinters of old
Mel Patton, the USC sprinter and Olympic champion of the late 1940s, may not have run masters track вЂ” but his example of overcoming adversity (a shattered leg) inspired many tracksters back in the day and probably even some of us still competing. He died May 9 at his Fallbrook home north of San Diego, but it wasn’t reported until May 14. As his school reported: “The third of USC’s ‘World’s Fastest Humans’ (following Charles Paddock and Frank Wykoff), Patton set world records in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. He ran a world record 9.3 in the 100 in 1948 after tying the mark of 9.4 in 1947 and he went 20.2 in the 220 on a straightaway in 1949 to break Jesse Owens’ world standard. The 9.3 mark in the 100 still ranks second on USC’s all-time list and the 20.2 is a still-standing school 220 record. He also once ran a wind-aided 9.1 in the 100-yard dash.” And remember that those marks didn’t come on Mondo. The New York Times has a great obituary.