July 12, 1932
Otis Crandall Davis was born in Tuscaloosa on this day in 1932. As an adult, he served four years in the Air Force, then accepted a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Oregon, where he also joined the track team with Nike’s future founder Phil Knight. Davis excelled in the 220- and 440-yard races, setting Oregon records and winning the AAU national championship. In 1960, he qualified for the Summer Olympic Games in Rome. Davis faced undefeated world champion Carl Kaufmann of Germany, beating him in the 400-meter race and setting a world record of 44.9 seconds. Davis won his second gold medal by beating Kaufmann again as the anchor of the U.S. 4×400-meter relay team.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Photograph of Otis Davis competing in the 4×400 meter relay during the 1960 Olympic Games. (Wikipedia)
Former University of Oregon athlete Otis Davis finishes first in the second semifinal of the men’s 4×400 meter relay at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal in the event. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries)
Otis Davis, left, narrowly edges Germany’s Carl Kaufmann to win the gold medal in the 400-meter race at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries)
Tuscaloosa native Otis Davis shortly after winning the gold medal and setting the world record in the 400-meter race at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries)
Otis Davis during the 1960 Olympic games. (Tuntematon, Wikipedia)
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