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Penn State Olympic Gold Medalist Horace Ashenfelter Passes Away

Penn State track and field legend Horace Ashenfelter passed away in his West Orange, New Jersey home on Saturday at the age of 94.

The 1952 Olympic champion in the 3000 meter steeplechase is the lone Penn State alumnus to win an individual gold medal at any Olympic Games. The race was dubbed a “Cold War Showdown” as Ashenfelter defeated heavily-favored Soviet Vladimir Kazantsev — chasing down his competitor in the final lap at Helsinki Olympic Stadium and breaking a world record in the process.

Ashenfelter, who was also an FBI agent during his competitive days in track and field, was a national and collegiate champion at various distances, but had only raced six previous times in the steeplechase — which incorporates hurdles and water jumps into its nearly two-mile event. He was the first, and currently only, American to win the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Olympics.

The National Track Hall of Fame inducted Ashenfelter into its 1975 class and Penn State named its indoor facility, Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track, in honor of the two-time Olympian.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a senior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tries to be a photographer sometimes despite one of his photos inspiring the name of his future sports bar, the Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


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