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Archibald Franklin "Archie" Williams

American athlete Archibald Franklin "Archie" Williams was born on May 1, 1915. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, he won a gold medal in the 400-meter dash.

Born in Oakland, California, Archie Williams had one great year but he did more in that one year than many athletes achieve in a lifetime.

Williams attended San Mateo Junior College (now College of San Mateo). His coach, Dr. Oliver Byrd, was instrumental in preparing him for future achievements. Soon Williams transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to become a mechanical engineer and he continued to run track.

Until 1936, Williams had never broken 49 seconds for the 440 yd (402 m). During 1936, however, Williams kept lowering his times and reached his peak at the NCAA championships, setting a world record in 400 m of 46.1. His time was set in the preliminaries and he also prevailed in the final for a 47.0 victory. He followed that up with a first in the Olympic Trials, then went to Berlin and won the Olympic gold medal in the 400 m.

A serious leg injury ended his running career a year later but he became a commercial pilot. During World War II, Williams was a pilot in the Air Force and retired from the military 22 years later as a lieutenant colonel. A flight instructor while in the Air Force, Williams remained in education following his military retirement and taught mathematics and computers in California high schools. Archie Williams was a teacher for 21 years until his retirement at age 72 in Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo. His love for teaching and helping students was legendary.

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