"Global Unity Through Global Diversity"
Billy Mills’ 1964 Olympic victory in Tokyo is one of the greatest upsets in track and field history. Few expected a newcomer from Pine Ridge, South Dakota to capture the gold in the 10,000 meter run; however, he defeated well-known runners and set the world record time of 28:24:4. No other American has ever won the Olympic 10,000 meter run. Born in 1938, Mills lived on the Oglala Sioux reservation and was orphaned at age 12. His running career began at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence where he set seven state records in 1957. In college, he set the freshman two-mile record, won the individual title in the Big Eight Conference's cross country tournament, and was the conference champion in the two-mile race. After a career in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mills has become a visible role model for young American athletes. He has served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and was named one of the Ten Outstand Young Americans by the Jaycees in 1973. He has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame. As the national spokesman for “Running Strong for American Indian Youth,” Mills has helped raise more than $212 million to help communities with self-sufficiency programs, youth activities and cultural identity projects.