Cunningham Glenn


Great US runner, 1933 Sullivan Awardee, won silver medal for 1500m at Berlin 1936 Olympics, set 1930s world records for mile, indoor mile, and 800m


Autograph ID: 6912
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1909-1988) Kansas-born American middle-distance runner, considered the greatest American miler of all time. He earned the James E. Sullivan Award as the top US amateur athlete in 1933. His legs were very badly burned in a schoolhouse fire when he was 8; his brother Floyd died in the fire. When the doctors recommended amputating Glenn's legs, his parents would not allow it. The doctors predicted he might never walk normally again. He had lost all the flesh on his knees and shins and all the toes on his left foot and his transverse arch was practically destroyed. However, his great determination, coupled with hours upon hours of a new type of therapy, enabled him to gradually regain the ability to walk and to proceed to run. He first tried to walk again in early summer 1919, roughly 2 years after the accident. He had a positive attitude as well as a strong religious faith. He competed in the 1500m event at the 1932 & 1936 Summer Olympics and finished 4th and 2nd, respectively. While on the ship from the US to Germany in 1936, he was voted "Most Popular Athlete" by his fellow Olympians. He won the Sullivan medal in 1933 for his achievements in middle-distance running. In 1934, he set the world record for the mile run at 4:06.8, which stood for 3 years. He also set world records in the 800m in 1936 and in the indoor mile in 1938. Cunningham's unachieved goal was a 4-minute mile. He worried about the strength of his legs burned in his youth, so he started slow – running in the pack. He would be fresher in the 2nd half and would almost be sprinting the last 100 yards to the finish.
The mile run at the Kansas Relays is named in his honor. In 1974 he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Cunningham earned a master's degree from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from New York University. After retiring from competitions in 1940 he served as director of physical education at Cornell College in Iowa for 4 years. Later he opened the Glenn Cunningham Youth Ranch in Kansas where he and his wife helped 10,000 needy and abused children.

Signed blue-lined 3 x 5 index card, dated June 5 1937 by him at lower right corner”

Type: Signed card

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