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Charlie Jenkins

American athlete Charles Lamont "Charlie" Jenkins was born on January 7, 1934. At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, he won two gold medals.

Born in New York, Charles Jenkins was an outstanding member of Villanova's track teams between 1955 and 1957.

Coached by Jumbo Elliott, Jenkins won the 1955 National AAU title in 440 yd (402 m) but at the 1956 Olympics all eyes were on Jenkins' U.S. teammate, Louis Jones, who held the world record. Jones had won the U.S. Trials while Jenkins had placed a distant third. At Melbourne, Jenkins barely made it to the 400 m Olympic final, finishing third in both his first and second-round heats. In the final, however, a strong finish earned him the gold medal. A few days later he won a second gold medal when the U.S. took the 4 x 400 m relay.

Jenkins was also tough indoors, winning the AAU 600 yd (549 m) title in 1955, 1957 and 1958. In 1956, he set a world indoor best for 500 yd (457 m). When Elliott died in 1981, Jenkins succeeded him as Villanova coach. One of his charges was his son, Chip, who placed third at the 1986 NCAA indoor championships. Like his father, Chip also became an Olympic gold medalist, running as a reserve on the U.S. 4 x 400 m relay team at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

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