Babers in 1984
October 31, 1961 (age 56)|
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Alonzo Babers was a military dependent who graduated from Kaiserslautern American High School in then-West Germany. He attended the United States Air Force Academy from 1979 to 1983, graduating with a major in aerospace engineering, where he ran track and played one season of football.
The international athletics career of Alonzo Babers consisted of a spectacular rise to fame, followed by a decisive and abrupt end. Up to the end of 1982, Babers's best time in 400 m was 45.9, but he rapidly improved on that during 1983, running a best time of 45.07, but at the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki he finished in a disappointing sixth place in the 4 × 400 m relay.
Babers continued his rapid improvement in 1984. At the USA Final Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, he won his semi-final in a personal best of 44.95. Later, in the final, he ran another personal best of 44.86 to qualify to the Olympic team. At the Los Angeles Olympic Games he further lowered his personal best to 44.75 when he won his quarter-final. In the Olympic final, Babers run 44.27 to win the gold medal. In the 4 × 400 m relay, United States (Babers ran the third leg) won the gold medal easily in 2:57.91.
While training for and competing in the 1984 Olympics, Babers held the rank of Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Just one month after his double-gold performance in Los Angeles, Babers reported to flight training school and began his career as a pilot, so his athletics career was over. He was an active duty officer in the United States Air Force from 1983 to 1991 and continues to serve as a member of the Air Force Reserves. Now he is employed as a 777 pilot for United Airlines.
- Moss, Irv (2005-11-28). "Flying on track, in jet: Olympic gold medalist finds career in cockpit". Denver Post. Retrieved 2009-03-11.