Ralph Metcalfe Centennial to be Celebrated Saturday at Penn Relays

April 20, 2010

Metcalfe: The Olympic Years (Photos) | "World's Fastest Human"

MILWAUKEE - Former Marquette University sprinter Ralph Metcalfe will be posthumously honored Saturday at the 116th Penn Relays in Philadelphia on the centennial of his birth.

The Metcalfe Centennial will be celebrated on Relays Saturday at 1:25 p.m. ET/12:25 p.m. CT during the running of the 4x100-meter Relay Championship of America. The relay will include current 100- and 200-meter dash world record holder, Usain Bolt.

The event, along with other USA vs. The World races will be televised on ESPN2 from 7-9 p.m. CT.

Metcalfe attended Marquette from 1932-36 and was known as the "World's Fastest Human" for much of that time. In 1932, Metcalfe competed in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he earned a silver in the 100-meter dash, behind American teammate Eddie Tolan and a bronze in the 200, behind Tolan and George Simpson.

In the famous 1936 Berlin Olympics, Metcalfe earned his only Olympic Gold in the 4x100-meter relay with Jesse Owens. Owens also edged Metcalfe in the 100 to give Metcalfe his second silver medal in that event.

During his life, Metcalfe broke or tied every world sprinting record, 13 in total, and still holds the Marquette records in the 55- and 100-meter dashes.

Following his days at MU, Metcalfe became the head track and field coach at Xavier (La.) University and eventually became the first black President Pro Tempore of the Chicago City Council in 1969. He was also elected as a U.S. Congressman to the 1st District of Illinois where he served four terms until his death in 1978.

Also being honored in Philadelphia will be the 1942 Xavier relay team that Metcalfe coached prior to his deployment with the United States Army in World War II.

Metcalfe's alma mater will host the Marquette Twilight meet on Saturday at the Melvin "Bus" Shimek Memorial Track and Field Facility at Valley Fields (1818 W. Canal Street). Competition kicks off at 11 a.m. at the MU Throws Field, while action at Valley Fields begins at 2 p.m.





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