John Woodruff Biography

Died: Oct. 30, 2007 (Fountain Hills, Arizona)
Best Known as: Olympic gold medalist in 1936 Berlin Games

Olympic runner who won gold in the 800-meter race during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. With no international experience 21-year-old Woodruff astonished the world of sports with his win. Early in the race he became trapped in the cluster of runners, so he stopped and let them all run past him. With racing room and an explosive 9-foot stride he sprinted past everyone and won in 1 minute 52.9 seconds. Woodruff was the last survivor of the 12 American men who won gold medals in track and field events in 1936. He was a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and a charter member of the Penn relays Wall of Fame at the University of Pennsylvania.