Mel Patton

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMelvin Emery "Mel"•Patton
Used nameMel•Patton
Born16 November 1924 in Los Angeles, California (USA)
Died9 May 2014 in Fallbrook, California (USA)
Measurements185 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsUSC Trojans, Los Angeles (USA)
NOC United States


During his three seasons of high-level competition, Mel Patton was the undisputed king of American sprinters, despite having to overcome a fractured hip he injured while a child. A highly nervous runner, he never competed in the AAU championships, but he won the NCAA 100y in 1947 and took both sprints in 1948 and 1949. After twice running 9.4 for 100y in 1947, Patton ran the first official 9.3 at the West Coast Relays in 1948. In 1949 he ran a wind-assisted 9.1 and at the same meet, when the wind had dropped, he ran a legal 20.2 for a new world 220y record. One of Patton’s rare defeats came in the Olympic 100 m final in 1948 when he placed fifth. His only other losses during his peak years came at the 1948 Final Trials when he lost to Harrison Dillard in the heats and to Barney Ewell in the final. Patton was also a fine relay runner who twice ran on world- record-setting 4×220y teams for Southern Cal. Patton was world ranked #1 in the 100 in 1947 and 1949 and in the 200 in 1947-49.

After his retirement from amateur competition, he ran a series of pro races in Australia. He was later a teacher and track coach at Long Beach City College and then Wichita State University, before leaving teaching to become an executive in the aerospace and electronics industries. He served in the Navy as a seaman and aviation cadet during World War II. Patton also directed the National Sports Programme of Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1985.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.44 (1948); 200 – 20.7 (1948).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Mel Patton
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 5
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold