Ray Barbuti

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Ray Barbuti
Ray Barbuti 1928.jpg
Personal information
Full nameRaymond James Barbuti
BornJune 12, 1905 (1905-06-12)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 8, 1988 (1988-07-09) (aged 83)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight181 lb (82 kg)
ClubNYAC, New York

Raymond James Barbuti (June 12, 1905 – July 8, 1988) was an American football player and sprint runner who won two gold medals at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

In 1924 while playing fullback at Lawrence, Long Island, New York high school, Barbuti set a New York state record, which still stands (2013), scoring eight touchdowns in one game. He attended Syracuse University where he won the IC4A championship in the 400 m sprint in 1928 in a time of 48.8 seconds. The same year he won the AAU Championship in the 400 m dash in a time of 51.4. He played fullback on the Syracuse football teams of 1926, 1927, and 1928 and was the captain of both the football and athletics teams.

His trainer, Peter Poole, very seldom let him run his two preferred distances, the 200 yd and the 400 yd, in the same competition, so Barbuti chose the 400 m and 4 × 400 m at the 1928 Summer Olympics and won both, setting a world record in the relay at 3:14.2. Next week he set another world record, at 3:13.4 in the 4×440 yd relay in London in a match against Great Britain.

During World War II Barbuti served with the US Air Force in the 83rd Bombardment Squadron which was part of the 12th Bombardment Group also known as the Earthquakers. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Bronze Star. While stationed in Gambut, Libya, Barbuti helped to organize the Western Desert Track and Field Championships. The competition was between the 12th Bombardment's track men, members of the RAF, and Australian troops. With Barbuti's talent on the track as a runner and as a coach, the men of the 12th won 1st place in 8 out of 11 events. He retired in the rank of major and became deputy director of the Civil Defense Commission for New York State and director of the New York State Office of Disaster Preparedness. In his spare time he acted as a referee in more than 500 intercollegiate football games.

On December 24, 1957, Barbuti appeared as a "contestant imposter" on the game show To Tell the Truth. This episode is still in existence and was most recently aired by GSN on January 20, 2009. The host was Bud Collyer and the panel consisted of Betsy Palmer, Don Ameche, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner.

Ray Barbuti, Emerson Spencer, Fred Alderman and George Baird at the 1928 Olympics
Barbuti (right) winning the 400 m event at the 1928 Olympics


  • Ray Barbuti profile at Sprintic.com
  • Ray Barbuti at databaseOlympics.com at the Wayback Machine (archived 2007-09-29)
  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Ray Barbuti". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
  • Black Angel History and Log Book of the Eighty-Third Bombardment Squadron - The Modern Printing Company