The Columbia Comet


Yesterday we brought you the greatest fictional track athlete in Ivy League history. Today we have a fantastic photo of the man who might be the greatest track and field athlete in real Heps’ history. The image comes from the files in Columbia University’s Athletic Communications office.

His name was Benjamin Washington Johnson — the Ben Johnson who sprinted to world records without the help of PEDs. Here he is at the 1937 IC4A Championships at Randalls Island Stadium in New York, shaking hands with Jesse Owens.

Johnson — who was called a “dusky flyer” in the Los Angeles Times that week — would blaze to victory in three events at the Easterns, the 100- (9.8) and 220-yard dashes (21.2) as well as the long jump (7.17m, 23-6 1/4).

His efforts nearly gave the Lions a team title, losing out to the John Woodruff-led Pitt Panthers by a half-point. To learn more about Johnson, please check out this story, written for the Ivy League’s 2006 Black History Month celebration.

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