Monday, April 25, 2011

Bobby Joe Morrow

Bobby Joe Morrow is one of the greatest athletes to have emerged from the Rio Grande Valley. On October 15th, 1935, he was born in Harlingen, Texas but he actually grew up in San Benito. His family had a cotton and carrot farm there and he worked with his family there as he grew up. He attended San Benito High School, where he dabbled in both sprinting and football. In his junior and senior years at SBHS, he won state titles at sprinting and eventually headed to Abilene Christian College. He achieved some remarkable success there, as this July 2nd,1956 article discusses:

"As a freshman at Abilene Christian College, Morrow ran the 100 in 9.4, one-tenth of a second off the world record, and once, with a following wind, covered the distance in 9.1 (which couldn't be recognized as a record but gave him a share of the honor, along with Mel Patton, of having moved over the ground on his own two feet faster than anyone had ever gone before). This spring, as a college sophomore, he equaled the world 100-meter record of 10.2 seconds. Since his junior year in high school, Bobby has lost only two races."

As impressive as his school records were, his crowning achievement in the sport took place at the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne, Australia. As the leader of the American sprint team, he went on to win three gold medals at the 1956 edition of the Olympics.  The three events that showcased his world class skills included the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and a team effort at the 4 x 100 meter relay. Here's the video of Morrow's great accomplishments which conclude with the narrator authoritatively stating - "Bobby Morrow, one of the greatest sprinters in the history of the Olympic games".

On the January 7th, 1957 issue of Sports Illustrated (which features an excellent story on Morrow), he was given the honor and title of "Sportsman of 1956". Later on in 2006, the San Benito High School payed tribute to him by dedicating their stadium to him.

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