Forrest Towns

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Forrest Towns
Medal record
Men’s athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1936 Berlin 110 m hurdles

Forrest Grady "Spec" Towns (February 6, 1914 - April 9, 1991) was an American track and field athlete. He was the 1936 Olympic champion in the 110 m hurdles, and broke the World Record in that event three times.

Born in Fitzgerald, Georgia, Towns grew up in Augusta, Georgia, where he played football in high school at Richmond Academy. In 1933, he earned a football scholarship to the University of Georgia (UGA) after a sports journalist had seen him high jumping in his back yard.

Rather than high jumping, Towns specialized in the high hurdles, winning NCAA and AAU titles in the 120 y hurdles event in 1935. It was the beginning of a 60 race winning streak, lasting until 1937.

In 1936, Towns was named to the American Olympic team, becoming the first Georgian to achieve this. During the Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Towns became the world record holder with 14.1, and he won the Olympic gold in 14.2. Also, he became the first Georgian to earn Olympic Gold. Shortly after the Games, he became the first hurdler under 14 seconds. At a race in Oslo, he dramatically improved the world record to 13.7 - a time that would stand until 1950.

Death[edit]

After college, Towns became Head Track and Field coach at UGA, a position he held until 1975. In 1991, he died in Athens, Georgia at age 77. He was honored at the University with the naming of the Spec Towns Track, and an annual meet called the Spec Towns invitational.

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