Patton (left) with coach Dean Cromwell in 1948
|Representing the United States|
|1948 London||200 metres|
|1948 London||4x100 m relay|
Born in Los Angeles, California, Mel Patton or Pell Mell, as he was nicknamed in the late 1940s, made his mark in track and field while a student at the University of Southern California, where he was coached by Dean Cromwell. During his collegiate years, Patton was a member of the Delta-Eta Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He also attended University High School in Los Angeles.
Patton won the NCAA 100 yard dash in 1947 and in 1948 and 1949 completed the 100 and 220 yd sprint double at that same meet. In 1947 he tied the 100 yd dash world record of 9.4, which he lowered it 9.3 the following year. In 1949 he set a 220 yd world record on a straightaway of 20.2, breaking the record held by Jesse Owens.
In the Olympic Trials, he suffered a rare loss to Barney Ewell in the 100 m final, then in the Olympic Games placed only fifth in the 100 m. He atoned for that disappointment by taking two gold medals in the 200 m and the 4 × 100 m relay.
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