Mel Patton wins the 1948 Olympic 200m title (Getty Images) © Copyright
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1948 Olympic 200m champion Mel Patton dies

The IAAF is saddened to learn that Mel Patton, winner of the 200m and 4x100m gold medals at the 1948 Olympics, died on 9 May in Fallbrook, California at the age of 89.

Born on 16 November 1924, Patton emerged as a world-class sprinter while studying at the University of Southern California. After two world record-equalling times of 9.4 for 100 yards, in 1948 at the West Coast Relays he became the first man to run the distance in 9.3, a time that was not beaten until 1961.

Later that year, after finishing second in the 100m, he won the 200m at the US Olympic Trials at Evanston, tying the world best around a turn of 20.7.

The clear Olympic favourite, he disappointed with fifth place in the 100m but won gold at 200m and 4x100m relay.

During his most dominant period between 1947 and 1948, he only lost three races.