Thane Baker

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWalter Thane•Baker
Used nameThane•Baker
Born4 October 1931 in Elkhart, Kansas (USA)
Measurements183 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsUS Air Force, (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 2
Bronze 1
Total 4


Thane Baker won the NCAA 220y in 1953 and the AAU 200m in 1956. Because he was generally considered at his best over the longer sprint, his second place in the 1956 Olympic 100m was one of the surprises of the Games. Baker was usually overshadowed by the likes of Bobby Morrow and Andy Stanfield at the major championship meets, but when measured against the stopwatch he could claim a truly impressive list of marks: 100y (9.4), 100m (10.2), 200m (20.6), 220y straight (20.4), and in 1956 he set a world best of 29.4 for 300 yards.

Baker majored in economics education at Kansas State and after serving in the Air Force he went into the oil business, working as a purchasing manager for Mobil. One of his daughters, Cathy followed in her father’s footsteps by winning the 1981 women’s collegiate (D-2) title at 800 meters. Baker remained active in track, acting as a starter and official at various meets. Through 1982 he held the world’s age group records at 100m for the 40-44 and 45-49 year age groups.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.2 (1956); 200 – 20.6y (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Thane Baker
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States DNS
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States DNS
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Thane Baker
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold