Ray Norton
No. 23     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1937-09-22) September 22, 1937 (age 82)
Career information
College: San José State
NFL Draft: 1960 / Round: 4 / Pick: 46
Debuted in 1960 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 1961 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • No notable achievements
Rushing attempts     4
Rushing yards     0
Touchdowns     0
Stats at

Otis Ray Norton (born September 22, 1937 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is a former American sprinter who competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Track Career Edit

After graduating high school in 1955, Norton initailly went to Oakland City College for year.[1] He left in 1956 for San José State University, where he was coached by Lloyd (Bud) Winter. He first achieved national fame by equalling the world record of 9.3 for 100 y as a college junior, in San Jose on 12 April 1958.[2][3] The next year, 1959, was an outstanding one. He won three gold medals at the 1959 Pan American Games and he tied Leamon King's record at the 100 m at 10.1 s in San Jose on 18 April.[4] His achievements in 1959 were recognised by being voted Track and Field News's United States Men's Athlete of the Year - the inaugural award of this honour.[5]

In 1960, Norton carried on his impressive form of the previous year by tying four world records: he equalled the 220 y record of 20.6 s in Berkeley on 19 March; equalled again the 100 y record of 9.3 s in San Jose on 2 April; equalled the 200 m record of 20.6 s in Philadelphia on 30 April; and equalled the newly set record for the 200 m of 20.5 s in Stanford on 2 July.[2] He qualified for the 100 and 200 at the 1960 Olympics by coming first in both events at the United States Olympic Trials, equalling the world record in the process in the 200 m. However, his form at the Olympics itself deserted him, maybe because of nerves, and he finished a disappointing last in both the 100 and 200 m finals. He tried to make amends for his failures in the individual events in the 4x100 m relay. The team of Frank Budd, Norton, Stone Johnson and Dave Sime finished first but were disqualified because Norton had started his run too early and his exchange from Budd happened outside the exchange zone.[6] As well as for his athletic tribulations, Norton came to the attention of the world's press at the Olympics because he was seen courting his fellow American sprint star and public favourite Wilma Rudolph.[7]

Early in 1960, Norton flunked out of college and the social work degree he was working on. Norton continued to train at the San Clara Valley Youth Village.[8] He was drafted as an American football player at the end of the year.

American Football Career Edit

Norton played halfback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League during the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

Later Life Edit

In 1966, Norton sought the nomination to sit as a Republican for the California Assembly 17th District (Oakland and Berkeley). At the time he was working as a partner in a service agency for attorneys.[9]

Ray currently resides in Reno, Nevada.


Norton was ranked among the best in the USA and the world in both the 100 and 200 m sprint events between 1958 and 1960, according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News.[10][11][12][13]

100 meters
Year World rank US rank
1958 4th 3rd
1959 1st 1st
1960 2nd 1st
200 meters
Year World rank US rank
1958 4th 3rd
1959 1st 1st
1960 2nd 1st

USA Championships Edit

Norton was a formidable performer at the USA national championships.[14]

USA Championships
Year 100m 200m
1958 6th 5th
1959 1st 1st
1960 1st 1st

References Edit

  1. "The Speed City Era at San José State College(1940 to 1969): Norton and Poynter", San José City College. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p 506.
  3. "San Jose College Star Ties World 100-Yard Dash Mark", Jet 1 May 1958.
  4. Mt. SAC Relays Athletes Hall of Fame Profile
  5. Track and Field News's U.S. Men's Athletes of the Year.
  6. The History of the United States Olympic Trials - Track & Field, R Hymans, USA Track & Field, 2008
  7. Rome 1960 - Olympics That Changed The Wolrd, david maraniss, Simon & Schuster, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-3407-5
  8.,3252517 "ray Norton Flunks Out", Eugene Register-Guard, March 17 1960.
  9. "Track Star Ray Norton Runs For Calif. Assembly", Jet, 10 February 1966.
  10. "World Rankings Index--Men's 100 meters". Track and Field News.
  11. "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 100 meters". Track and Field News.
  12. "World Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters". Track and Field News.
  13. "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters". Track and Field News.
  14. A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2003, Track and Field News.

See also Edit

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