Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

January 29, 2012
In History's Spotlight: John Powell

Powell.JPGBorn: June 25, 1947

Known for: A Mira Loma High School graduate, John Powell won two Olympic medals in the discus and won the national discus championship seven times.

Background: Powell began his discus career as the fourth-best thrower on the American River College track and field team. A shot-putter at Mira Loma, Powell switched to discus during his freshman season at ARC. Powell threw the discus 141 feet as a college freshman in 1966. He reached 164 feet the following season, competed at San Jose State University and improved each of the next nine years, culminating in his world-record throw of 226 feet 8 inches in 1975. He then won bronze medals in the 1976 and 1984 Olympics in Montreal and Los Angeles, respectively. He won the national discus championship in 1974 and 1975 and from 1983 through 1987.

A highlight: Summarizing his discus career, which spanned more than two decades, Powell told The Bee in 1988, "At some point you want to say, 'Look, I do something well.' I'm not saying it shakes the roots of humanity like the Salk vaccine, but I always wanted to say I'm one of the best in the world at something."

In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were originally published in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at mdolgushkin@library.ca.gov.

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at agraham@saclibrary.org.

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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