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Bob Schul, the only American runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, dies at 86

FILE - Bob Schul of West Milton, Ohio, hits the tape to win the 5,000 meter run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo Oct. 18, 1964. Schul, the only American distance runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, has died. He was 86. His death on Sunday, June 16, 2024, was announced by Miami University in Ohio, where Schul shined on the track and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1973. Associated Press

Bob Schul, the only American distance runner to win gold in the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, has died. He was 86.

His death on Sunday was announced by Miami University in Ohio, where Schul shined on the track and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1973. No cause of death was given.

Schul predicted gold leading into the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and followed through with his promise. On a rainy day in Japan, he finished the final lap in a blistering 54.8 seconds to sprint to the win. His white shorts were covered in mud at the finish.

Schul was following the gold-medal lead of teammate Billy Mills, who won the 10,000 meters at the Tokyo Games.

The path of Schul to Olympic glory was almost an unexpected one. He suffered from an asthmatic condition as a kid and joined Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as a walk-on. Schul served in the Air Force before focusing on running under the guidance of coach Mihaly Igloi.

Schul set what was then an American record in the 5,000 meters in 1964 with a time of 13 minutes, 38 seconds. He held a total of five American and NCAA marks in the two-mile, three-mile and 5,000 events.

He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1991. He also helped write a book called “In the Long Run.”

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