Class of 1958
In perhaps no track and field event would physical maturity seem matter more than in the shot put. And given that, it seems extremely unlikely that a high school thrower, of 18 years or less, could ranking high against much stronger, more experienced foes. Yet in 1958, North Phoenix HS (AZ) senior Dallas Long threw the 16-pound ball 61 feet, half an inch, and competed well enough to rank #2 in the entire world in the event. Just think about that for a minute.
Long first came into prominence as a junior in 1957, reaching 61 feet, 5 inches. But the following year, he exploded first to a HSR 66-1 ½, then improved on that mark three times – to 67-2, 68-8 ¾, and an eye-popping 69-3, a standard that would last nine years. But it was what he did with the 16-pound ball that really made Long stand out. At first, he broke the existing record by reaching 55-11 ½, but then he would bury that mark with performances of 59-11 ½ and 61 ½. All of this record-breaking earned Long the 1958 Track and Field News Athlete of the Year award.
The 1960 Olympic Games were just two years away, and Long headed to USC to study and hone his craft. In Rome, he would win the bronze medal behind Americans Bill Nieder and Parry O’Brien. Then in the 1964 Games in Tokyo, he came up golden with an Olympic record 66-8 ½.
Did You Know?
In addition to his Olympic feats, Dallas Long was a three-time NCAA champ and the 1959 Pan American Games silver medalist.