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Bobby Joe Morrow (born October 15, 1935) is a former American athlete and winner of three Olympic gold medals in 1956.
Morrow has been called "the dominant sprinter of the 1950s" and "the most relaxed sprinter of all time, even more so than his hero Jesse Owens".1
Bobby Joe Morrow was born in Harlingen, Texas,2 and raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas. Before becoming a sprinter, Morrow played football for San Benito High School. Morrow also was a sprinter at Abilene Christian University and a member of the men's club Frater Sodalis.
Morrow won the 1955 AAU 100 yard title. His most successful season was in 1956, when he was chosen by Sports Illustrated as "Sportsman of the Year". Morrow won the sprint double in the national college championships and defended his AAU title. Morrow then went to the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, where he won three gold medals and was the leader of the American sprint team.
In all, Morrow won three gold medals. First, he was victorious in the 100 meter dash. He then led an American sweep of the medals in the 200 meter dash, while equaling the World Record at that distance. He won his third gold by anchoring the 4×100 meter relay team to a World Record time. The three performances are encapsulated in this youtube video.
Morrow achieved great fame after winning his three gold medals, and was featured on the covers of Life magazine and SPORT magazine, as well as Sports Illustrated. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, and addressed a joint session of the Texas legislature.3
Morrow's success on a national level continued after the Olympics, but he retired in 1958 to become a farmer and a woodworker. He made a short comeback before the 1960 Olympics but failed to qualify for the US Olympic team.
In October 2006, San Benito High School named its new 11,000 seat sporting facility Bobby Morrow Stadium.4 Mr. Morrow was on hand to help dedicate the new facility.