The Fastest Nice Christian Boy in the World

Then Bobby Morrow lost his speed, and he began to have certain doubts.

The first time I saw him run, my eyes—quite to my surprise—filled with tears. As he rocketed through the curve and down the stretch, extending a string of victories that would mark him as the finest sprinter since Jesse Owens, perhaps the best the world had ever seen, Bobby Morrow was as beautiful as a high-speed human could be. A year later, in 1956, this shy farm boy from San Benito would become the star performer in the Melbourne Olympic Games and, for a time, the most celebrated athlete in the world. I had had other sports heroes—Ted Williams and Kyle Rote, to be specific—and places in the pantheon would eventually be granted to Bob Cousy and Carl Yastrzemski. But I knew Bobby Morrow. He’d speak to me and call me by name. He signed my yearbook “your buddy” and mentioned all the good times we’d had together as Frat brothers. I watched or read about every race he ran for six years, and I collected—and

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