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Thane Baker
  • Five-time medal winner at two Olympics
  • Four-time All-American at K-State
  • At one point, Baker held three different collegiate world records
Baker, Thane
Inducted 1973

Born: October 4, 1931 - Elkhart, Kansas

Graduated: Elkhart (Kansas) H.S., 1949; Kansas State University, 1953.

Overview

A four-time All-American sprinter at Kansas State University and two-time U.S. Olympian, Thane Baker set or tied eight world or American records from 1952-1956 in distances of 60 to 300 yards.

College Career

Baker joined the K-State track team as a walk-on in 1949, and proceeded to win ten Big-Seven titles during his career.  Baker finished his Wildcat career with the NCAA title in the 220-yard dash in 1953 with a time of 21.5 seconds.  He was the first sprinter to win three consecutive championships at the prestigious Kansas Relays.  As a senior at Kansas State, he was the world collegiate leader at 100 yards (9.4 seconds), 220 yards (20.4 seconds) and 440 yards (47.1 seconds).  He won three consecutive Big-7 gold medals in both the 100 and 220 yard dashes from 1951 to 1953.

Olympic Games

Baker was a silver medalist at 200 meters in the 1952 Olympic Games (Helsinki, Finland) and three-time medal winner in1956 Olympics at Melbourne, Australia, where he was second at 100 meters, third at 200 meters and ran on the winning United States 4 X 100 meter relay team.

Honors

Elkhart High School stadium is named after Baker, who began competing in "Masters Division" at age 40 and promptly set five world records, including a 10.7-second clocking at 100 meters. In 1977, Baker was honored as one of College Athletics' Top 10 by the NCAA for "contributions to society well beyond the playing field." Baker is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, The Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame, and the Kansas State University Hall of Fame.