Bill Toomey: 1968 Olympic Decathlon Champion (United States)

Between 10:00am October 18th and the late night hours of October 19th, Bill Toomey represented the United States in two grueling 10-hour-per-day competitions. He broke Olympic records, stopped the Germans and won the gold.

   Full Name    William Anthony Toomey  
  Pronunciation   TOO-me  
  Games   XIX Olympiad, Mexico City, Mexico  
  Dates   18 & 19 October 1968  
  Medal   Gold - Decathlon  
  Olympic Records  

Decathlon Total Points: 8193
Decathlon 400 meters: 45.6 (unbroken record)

Decathlon Highest 1st Day score: 4526

  Coaches   Friedel Schirmer (Germany), Pete Petersons (U.S.)  
  World & National Records and Championships - Decathlon
as of October 2001

Most Consecutive AAU Decathlon Titles: 5 (unbroken record)
AAU Decathlon Titles: 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
World Record - Decathlon: 1966
Pan American Games Champion - Decathlon: 1967
British AAA Title - Decathlon: 1968
Olympic Trials Winner - Decathlon: 1968
American Record - Decathlon: 1969
World Record - Decathlon: 1969

  World & National Records and Championships - Pentathlon
as of October 2001
  Most Consecutive AAU Pentathlon titles: 5 (unbroken record)
AAU Pentathlon Titles: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964
American Record - Pentathlon: 1961
American Record - Pentathlon: 1964

World Record - Pentathlon: 1969 (unbroken record)
  Total Career Wins   Decathlon - No. 1 Titles: 23
Pentathlon - No. 1 Titles: 6
  Olympic Hall of Fame   Inducted 1984  
                                       Toomey's Olympic Results
   Decathlon Event   
Points After Event
Personal Bests
  100 meters  
  Long Jump  
25' 9¾"
26' ¼"
  Shot Put  
45' 1¼"
47' 2¼"
  High Jump  
6' 4¾"
6' 6¾"
  400 Meters  
45.6 OR, WR*
4526 OR
45.6 OR, WR*
  110 Meter High Hurdles  
  Discus Throw  
143' 5½"
154' 2"
  Pole Vault  
13' 9½"
14' 1¼"
  Javelin Throw  
206' ½"
225' 8½"
  1500 Meters  
8193 OR
    * unbroken records  
                                       Personal Profile
   Born    January 10, 1939  
  Birthplace   Philadelphia, PA, USA  
  High School   New Canaan, CT and Worcester Academy, MA USA  
  College   University of Colorado, CO, USA  
  Graduate School   Stanford University, CA, USA  

An all-around athlete while at the University of Colorado, Toomey won five consecutive AAU pentathlon championships between 1960 and 1964, setting new American records in 1961 and 1964. Toomey's string of 5 consecutive AAU pentathlon titles has never been matched or broken. Then in 1965, he won the first of five AAU national decathlon titles. He won the 1967 Pan American Games decathlon championship and went on to win the decathlon event at the Olympic Trials in South Lake Tahoe. While winning the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Games, he set Olympic records for the decathlon 400M and highest 1st day score. His historic 400M record stands unbroken after the Sydney Games. In 1969, he set world records in the decathlon and pentathlon. The pentathlon world record also stands unbroken.

Bill won the 1969 Sullivan Award as the nation's outstanding amateur athlete. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984. Bill received the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) from the United States Sports Academy in 2000.

Bill is an acclaimed and influential leader in the modern Olympic movement. He served as a member of the President's Commission on Olympic Sports from 1976 to 1978, contributing to the restructuring of the Olympic sports movement in the United States and passage of the Public Law 95-606. He was the Envoy to the President of the United States during the 1972 Olympic Games and was a consultant to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. In 1996, Bill was the Special Envoy for His Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, in a humanitarian effort involving the government of Ethiopia. He co-founded the World Olympian Association to unite all Olympic competitors - medallists or not - with the Olympic family.

He served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1968 to 1976. As director of fundraising, he drove development of the Olympic training center in San Diego and facilitated record-setting corporate contributions to U.S. Olympics programs. During this time, he also developed sports programs in more than 20 countries while working for the Department of State and the Peace Corps. Bill's fundraising, humanitarian and outreach efforts continue to set precedents in building synergies between the Olympic family and hometown communities across the world.

Bill makes his home at his ranch near San Luis Obispo, CA with his wife, Trish. He has two daughters, Samantha and Sarah, from a previous marriage. He is an acclaimed broadcast personality focused on nutrition and well-being and a persuasive motivational speaker.

UPDATED: 10 OCT 2001



"Bill Toomey has done a good many unbelievable things. Over a five year period he completely rebuilt his body, changing himself from a 165 pounder with pretty good speed into a 195 pounder with blazing speed. His "secret" was dedication. From the first day he set his sights on becoming an Olympic decathlon man to the moment he climbed the victory platform at Mexico City, he let nothing stand in the way of his "impossible dream."
Frank Dolson / Philadelphia Inquirer

"Of all Olympic competition, the decathlon most closely reflects the original Greek ideal of all-around athletic excellence. An entire track and field meet in miniature, its ten events in two days add up to the toughest individual test of speed, stamina, strength and spirit ever devised. The man who wins the Olympic decathlon well deserves to be known as the finest athlete in the world. That man last week was William Anthony Toomey."
Time / November 1968


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