When he was a junior at Wichita's East High School, Jim Ryun became the first high-school athlete in the nation to run a mile in less than four minutes — 3:59.0.
On July 17, 1966, he broke the world record for the mile with a time of 3:51.3.
In the 1960s and early 1970s when Jim Ryun ran, people who had never cared about sports were turning on televisions and cheering for that skinny kid from Wichita.
Sports Illustrated named Ryun its Sportsman of the Year for 1966.
The magazine said of Ryun:
"At the age of 19, runner Jim Ryun ran the mile in 3:51.3, breaking Michel Jazy's world record by two and a half seconds. Earlier in the year, in only his second two-mile race ever, Ryan posted the third-best time in history (8:25.2) and also established a new world record in the half-mile (1:44.9)."
In 1968, at the age of 21, Ryun was named by the Junior Chamber of Commerce one of America's Ten Outstanding Young Men.
He didn't earn that sort of adulation when he started running.
As a seventh-grader at Curtis Junior High, it was hard for him to even qualify for a track meet. In 1995 Ryun told The Eagle what those first days were like:
"I couldn't make the basketball team, and I couldn't make the track team. I was too slow for the sprints. I tried the high jump and bruised my hip. The only thing left was the 440, and I never officially made it to a meet."
Question: What sport turned Ryun’s luck around?
Answer to Saturday’s Question: After the Civil War, James Lane lost favor among Kansans, in part because he supported the Reconstruction policies of Andrew Johnson and because he was being investigated for war contracts for which he'd received money. Devastated, Lane committed suicide July 1, 1866, on a farm near Leavenworth.He was 52.
Check back at Kansas.com Monday for the answer to today’s question.