Two of the nation’s fastest men in the 1930s were born in Kansas within two years of each other.
Glenn Cunningham of Elkhart was certainly the most famous. But Cunningham’s roommate at the 1936 Olympics was also pretty fast. He was Archie San Romani Sr. of Frontenec.
Romani was a coal miner’s son who, in 28 races against Cunningham, beat him 14 times.
Nicknamed "The Kansas Flyer," Cunningham won a silver medal in the 1,500 meters in the 1936 Olympics and was a five-time American champion in the 1,500 meters.
He set numerous world records in the 1930s, highlighted by a 4-minute, 6.7-second outdoor mile in 1938 at Princeton, N.Y.
He won the Sullivan Award as America’s top amateur athlete in 1933 and won the Wanamaker Mile in New York’s Millrose Games six times. In 1979, he was named the best athlete in the 100-year history of Madison Square Garden.
As a track star at Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, San Romani beat Cunningham in the 1937 and 1938 University of Kansas relays.
He won admission to Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia by promising the track coach he would make the 1936 Olympics team. By the time he graduated, he had broken a series of world relay, collegiate mile and 1,500 meter records.
In the 1936 Olympic team, he placed fourth in the 1,500, behind John Lovelock, Cunningham and Luigi Beccali.
Question: What similar childhood story did Romani share with Cunningham?
Don’t forget: The contest ends Dec. 31.
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