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Ralph Boston (1939-)

Former Tennessee State University track star and medalist in the 1960, 1964, and 1968 Olympic games, Ralph Boston was born in Laurel, Mississippi, on May 9, 1939. Boston attended Tennessee State University, where in 1960 he won the national collegiate long jump title. Named to the United States Olympic team, Boston broke the long jump world record, long held by Jesse Owens, with a jump of twenty-six feet, 11 1/4 inches, in a pre-Olympic competition. He then won the gold medal at that summer's Olympic games. He was the first person to long jump more than twenty-seven feet and his last world record jump, twenty-seven feet, five inches, came in 1965. Boston won the silver medal in the long jump at the 1964 games and followed with a bronze medal in the same competition at the 1968 Olympic games. He was the AAU long jump champion from 1961 to 1966. Boston retired from competition after 1968 and entered college administration at the University of Tennessee. He also served as an expert commentator for television coverage of track and field events. He was inducted into USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and selected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985. The Tennessee State University Archives maintains a collection covering Boston's years at the Nashville university as well as his later sterling Olympic career.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010