Already a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, Gerry Lindgren went a little further back in time on Thursday night.
The former Rogers High School distance running great was inducted as part of the inaugural class of the National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame in a gala at the New York Athletic Club.
Lindgren’s modest start in the sport – he described himself as a “wimp” who was initially the slowest runner on his cross country team – was a stark contrast to his eventual accomplishments that went well beyond two state championships in the mile.
As a Rogers senior at a race in Compton, California, Lindgren ran 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 44 seconds to set a national high school record that stood for 40 years. During the indoor season his 8:40.0 for 2 miles slashed 43 seconds off the U.S. prep record and lasted 49 years. Less than two months after graduation he made his greatest splash, breaking Russian distance veterans Leonid Ivanov and Anatoly Dutov and winning the 10,000 meters in the U.S.-USSR dual meet in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The launch of the prep hall features 30 athletes, including Jim Ryun, Steve Prefontaine, Jesse Owens, Mary Decker, Allyson Felix and Bob Mathias.
Lindgren, 71, lives in Hawaii.