Former Tide Track Star In ASHOF
A native of Hammond, Ind., Bolt and his family moved to Huntsville, where he attended Grissom High School. He was voted the High School Track Athlete of the Year in 1973 by Track and Field News after running the fastest mile in America, 4:07 outdoors and 4:10 indoors (both are still high school records in Alabama). He also won the 4A (at that time largest classification) cross country championship two consecutive years.
He received numerous college track scholarship offers from all over the country, he decided on The University of Alabama, where he was a three time All-America under Coach John Mitchell.
In 1975, he won the mile and two mile at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships and later that spring won the mile at the SEC Outdoor Championships (4:03). In the fall of 1975, he won the SEC Cross Country Championship and also won the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championship. At the NCAA Championships, he placed 10th (third American) earning him All-America honors in cross country.
In 1976, he became the first runner in Alabama to break four minute mile (3:59.4) during the SEC Indoor Championships. What makes this feat even more remarkable is the fact that the day before, he ran and won the SEC title in the 2 mile, ran the anchor leg in the 2 mile relay which Alabama won and easily advanced in the 1 mile qualifier.
In the Fall, he was approached to run in the state's first marathon (Rocket City Marathon in his home town of Huntsville). This would also be his first marathon. He won the marathon by out sprinting the great British marathoner Ron Hill in the last 385 yards in a time of 2:17:35. In his senior year, he won the SEC Outdoor 5,000 meter title. He left his mark on Crimson Tide track and field program (second fastest indoor mile time, ranks sixth in the indoor 3000 meter, and ranks ninth fastest in the outdoor 10,000 meter).
After graduating in 1978, he repeated his victory in the Rocket City Marathon. In 1980, he won the Charlotte Observer Marathon in 2:19:03, a new course record, and four months later won the Vulcan Run 29:13 and later that year placed second in the Rocket City Marathon. In 1981, he defended his Vulcan title (29:16) and later that year placed second again in the Rocket City Marathon in 2:14:06, his personal best and ranks as the second fastest time ever by an Alabamian.
At one time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he held distance records in Alabama for the following: the mile (3:59:04), the two mile (8:37), the 5,000 meters (13:50) and the marathon (2:14:06). In 1982, he ran in the Daffodil International Marathon in England and won in 2:19. His sub-4:00 mile and the sub-2:15 marathon accomplishments have only been equaled by ten other Americans.
He is one of two inductees in the Class of 2009 from Huntsville, the other being former baseball star Jimmy Key.
Other members of the Class of 2009 include: Larry Blakeney (Troy football), Tommy Brooker (Alabama football), Janelle Kirtley Godfrey (water skiing), Charles Hannah (Alabama football), Lee May (baseball), and John Mitchell (Alabama football). The Distinguished Alabama Sportsman is Ronald G. Bruno and the Distinguished American Sportsman is Nicholas J. "Nick" Bollettieri.
(The John Mitchell who coached Bolt at Alabama is not the same John Mitchell being inducted into the ASHOF for his Crimson Tide football accomplishments.)
To order tickets for the May 30th Induction Banquet at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum toll free at 877-323-6665.
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