Track & Field
Former Track Olympians to Lead Homecoming Parade
Oct. 2, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State homecoming committee has announced a slew of former MSU athletes as its Homecoming Parade Grand Marshal in 2008. In honor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, MSU has invited every Olympic participant that attended Michigan State to serve as the 2008 Grand Marshal. Five former track & field Olympians - Solomon Akpata, Judi Brown-Clarke, Warren Druetzler, Kevan Gosper and David Lean - have accepted that invitation and will return to MSU this weekend to lead the Homecoming Parade.
Brown Clarke returns to East Lansing after building a very impressive resume since she graduated with a degree in audiology and speech science in 1983. Brown-Clarke won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles in the 400m hurdles and was a three-time gold medalist at the Pan-American Games in the same event. In addition to her success on the track, Brown-Clarke was named "Sportswoman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated in 1987, due largely in part to her involvement within the community. During her time at MSU, Brown-Clarke was a 12-time Big Ten Champion.
Druetzler also saw plenty of success during his time at MSU and upon his graduation. Druetzler was the NCAA Champion in the mile run in 1951 and ran as a member of the MSU 4x800m relay team that broke the world record in 1950 at the Coliseum Relays. Druetzler carried that success into the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki when he ran for the USA in the 1,500m run, finishing 12th. Druetzler graduated from MSU in 1951 with a degree in business.
Lean and Gosper ran together in the 4x400m relay at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia as members of the Australian National Team. Lean and Gosper took home the silver medal. Lean graduated from MSU in 1958 with a degree in business. Gosper earned his masters in business in 1961 from MSU.
Gosper stayed active for the Australian National Team heading into the 1960 Games in Rome, Italy as he was named captain of the entire Australian team that year. Gosper was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1977 and currently serves as the vice president. He also played an instrumental role in bringing the Olympic Games to Sydney in 2000, serving as the Vice President of the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. Gosper graduated in 1955 with a degree in social science.
Akpata competed for Nigeria in the 1964 Olympic Games, hosted by Tokyo, Japan. Akpata, finished 16th in the qualifying round of the long jump after posting a jump of 7.34m. Akpata holds a personal-best of 7.59m, set back in 1959. Akpata earned a bachelors degree in natural science in 1961 and followed that with another bachelors degree in agriculture and natural resources in 1962, both from MSU.
The homecoming parade will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 3 on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. For more information on the complete list of returning Olympians, go to www.msu.edu.
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