Friday, September 24, 2010

Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to Speak at UNE

Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills – the only American ever to win the Olympic 10,000 meter run, and only the second Native American to do so worldwide – will speak at the University of New England Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. His lecture, “Global Unity Through Global Diversity,” will take place at UNE’s Biddeford Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.
Mills is an Oglala Sioux Indian whose given Native American name is Loves His Country. He was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Although Pine Ridge is rich in Native American culture and spirit, it is also recognized as one of the poorest communities in America.
Mills was orphaned by the age of 12 and raised by his grandmother. He attended Haskell Indian School, where he became involved in distance running, and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas. He was named an NCAA American cross country runner three times.
Upon graduation, Mills was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and continued training for the Olympic team. He qualified for the 1964 Olympic team in two events, the marathon and the 10,000-meter run, and achieved one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history by defeating favorite Ron Clarke of Australia.
Mills was the subject of a major motion picture, “Running Brave,” and co-authored the book, “Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding,” with Nicholas Sparks. In 2005, Mills published his second book, “Lessons of a Lakota.” He has been inducted into the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Mills is the spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization that helps support projects that benefit the American Indian people, especially youth.
FMI: Lara Carlson, Ph.D., 602-2810 or visit
Photo caption: Billy Mills is an Olympic gold medalist who is the only American ever to win the Olympic 10,000 meter run, and only the second Native American to do so worldwide.. (Courtesy photo)