PHOENIX, Arizona, July 11. LAST week’s passing of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini at 97 years old transcended the track and field community. Alumni from the University of Southern Californi, his alma mater, and those who were involved in the upcoming feature-length film about his life shared their emotions with social media followers.
Zamperini’s claim to fame was meeting Adolph Hitler after finishing eighth in the 5000-meter run at the 1936 Olympics. Hitler requested the meeting after Zamperini posted the fastest final 400 meters in the race. Zamperini also had the privilege of sharing a room with the legendary Jesse Owens at the 1936 Games and would go on to set a collegiate record in the mile that would last for 15 years.
His life as a runner and as a soldier in World War II is the subject of a bestselling book called “Unbroken,” which is set for a Christmas release as a film directed by Angelina Jolie.
Zamperini stepped into the world of swimming for one night at the 2011 Golden Goggle Awards ceremony to present the Perseverance Award. Standing at the podium with fellow USC alum John Naber, Zamperini talked about his definition of perseverance, using his final 400 at the 1936 Olympics as an example.
Watch the video below to see Zamperini’s appearance at the Golden Goggles: