Calvin Smith will start Watermelon Classic

Calvin Smith at Alabama.
Calvin Smith at Alabama.

Bolton native Calvin Smith, the world’s fastest human for more than four years, will be the official starter for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame’s Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic 5K road race on July 4.

That will be 22 years and one day after Smith dazzled the track and field world when he ran 100 meters in 9.93 seconds, breaking a 15-year old world record. Smith, now a social worker in Tampa, held the record for more than four years before it was broken by Ben Johnson, who later tested positive for steroids.Smith was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic is one of Mississippi’s biggest and most popular road races and one of the MSHOF’s most successful annual fund-raisers. The race begins and ends at the Hall of Fame. The Watermelon Classic, by design, is a family-friendly event. The entry fee for the 5K is $25 through June 30. Then the  price increases to $30 though July 3. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi also sponsors a one mile fun/wellness run for all ages and and there is a tot trot for toddlers under the age of 3. There are special rates for families and there are team competitions. You can register on-line at racesonline.com or print the form from msfamc.com and send it to the museum.

Calvin's MSHOF locker.
Calvin’s MSHOF locker.

Born Jan.  8, 1961, in Bolton, Smith ran track at Sumner Hill School in Clinton. By the time he was a senior, he set a Mississippi high school 100-meters record that would stand for 33 years. At Alabama, he earned eight All-America honors (indoor and outdoor).

Smith won an Olympic gold medal as part of the U.S. 4 x  100 relay team in the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles, setting a world record in the process. He won a bronze medal at 100 meters in the 1988 Games at Seoul in one of the most famous races in  track and field history. Johnson crossed the finish line first, Carl Lewis second, Linford Christie third and Smith fourth. Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids, elevating Smith to the bronze medal, which he received underneath the stadium, without ceremony, a day later. Of the five top finishers in the race, Smith was one only one who never tested positive for any banned substance.

Smith continued to compete at a high level into the 1990s as one of the most respected sprinters in history of the sport.

For more information on the Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic, go to msfame.com or call 601 982-8264. There is no race day registration.

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Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic information here.

 

 

 

 

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