#BlackHistoryMonth: 1984 Olympic Medalists in Men’s Track

The ISU men’s track team made history in the 1984 Olympics and showcased some of the best talent Iowa State has ever boasted in this sport.

KIC Image 0008 - Copy

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953

Three team members made it to the Olympics: Danny Harris from the USA, Sunday Uti from Nigeria, and Moses Kiyai from Kenya.

Yearbook Pages_Page_06_Image_0001 - Copy

Danny Harris. 1985 Bomb page 260

KIC Image 0006

Sunday Uti. Photograph Collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

KIC Image 0018 - Copy

Moses Kiyai. 1985 media guide page 10. RS 24/11/0/6 box 1, folder 2.

Both Danny Harris and Sunday Uti took home medals (Harris silver and Uti bronze), and Harris broke his fifth world record in the 400 hurdles during the semi-finals for Olympic trials.

KIC Image 0001 - Copy (3)

Olympic medalists Uti (left) and Harris (right) with their coach Steve Lynn (center). Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953.

The 1985 media guide for men’s track notes that Harris’s record-breaking times were all the more impressive considering that he was barely 18-years-old during the trials (a sophomore at ISU) and had only run the 400 hurdles 19 times prior to the event.

Here are some pictures of Harris performing at the NCAA competition earlier that summer:

KIC Image 0003 - Copy

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

KIC Image 0003 - Copy (2)

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

KIC Image 0003 - Copy (3)

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

And here is a shot of Uti in motion, likely during a training session at ISU.

KIC Image 0005

Sunday Uti (far left). Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

Given their incredible expertise, it seems likely that all of these athletes spent much of their time on the indoor track of the men’s gym, pictured below as it would have looked when they were in school.

KIC Image 0002 - Copy

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953.

Sunday Uti graduated in 1987 with his B.S. in Community and Regional Planning.

Unfortunately, it is unclear what happened next to Danny Harris or Moses Kiyai — whether they transferred schools, or simply moved on to other pursuits. I could not find mentions of either in our alumni records.

We do know, however, that Danny Harris set up his own private coaching and personal training service 12 years later in Los Angeles, California near his hometown, Perris.

It is also worth noting that the ISU women’s track team excelled in the 1984 Olympics. In some ways, their accomplishments surpassed those of the men. But because of this, I believe that Nawal El Moutawakel in particular deserves her own blog post, and we can look at her story another day. Regardless, feel free to visit the archives to see any of this material, or any of the items shown above, in person.

 

One thought on “#BlackHistoryMonth: 1984 Olympic Medalists in Men’s Track

  1. Pingback: Celebrate Black History All Year-Round! | Cardinal Tales

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s