Walter Thane Baker

Walter Thane Baker (born Oct 4, 1931 in Elkhart, Kansas) is a former American athlete and winner of the gold medal in the 4x100 m relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, with a new world record of 39.5 seconds. At those Olympics Baker also won a silver medal in the 100-meter and a bronze in the 200-meter. At the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, he won a silver medal in the 200-meter.


In 1953, as a Kansas State University student, Baker won the NCAA championship in the 220-yards, and in 1956 he won the AAU championships in 200 m. Baker also won numerous conference titles at Kansas State, and was a four-time All-American.

Before the Melbourne Olympics, Baker equalled Jesse Owens's long-standing 100 m world record time of 10.2 seconds, and also twice equalled the 200 m world record of 20.6.

Baker is enshrined in the USATF Masters Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He also has a track named after him in his home town of Elkhart, Kansas.

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