2017 TRACK & FIELD INDUCTEE
Imagine an athlete who could high jump nearly 6 feet, 9 inches, pole vault 16 feet, long jump nearly 25 feet and twirl the discus almost 158 feet.
Now imagine sprinting 100 meters in 10.7 seconds, finishing the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.3 seconds, putting a 16-pound shot nearly 48 feet, running 400 meters in a shade under 49 seconds and then hearing the starter’s gun and covering 1,500 meters in about 4 minutes, 14 seconds.
You don’t have to imagine such an athlete. Roger George accomplished these marks while becoming a three-time All-American in the decathlon for Fresno, qualifying three times for the U.S. Olympic Trials and winning three conference titles (1972-74).
At the time of his induction, George had held the all-time Fresno State decathlon record of 7,984 points through five decades. He was a two-time runner-up in the NCAA decathlon championships and would have won the 1973 title if the proper scoring tables and timing equipment had been used, according to Track & Field News.
George was an “ironman” in this grueling endeavor, as his career spanned 1970 to 1983. He was a U.S. Olympic team alternate in 1976 on the squad led by Bruce Jenner, and his career best of 8,034 points earned him a silver medal at the 1978 U.S. National Sports Festival. He credits Fresno State coaches Dutch Warmerdam and Red Estes for refinishing his skills and inspiring him to championships.
George’s honors also include being named Fresno State Athlete of the Year in 1974 and Fresno State Senior of the Year in 1975. He won an NCAA postgraduate scholarship in 1975. And he represented the United States in the 1973 World University Games in Moscow and in the 1975 U.S. vs. Russia meet in Eugene, Ore. He was an Olympic Team alternate in 1976.
George later became as accomplished in fishing as he was in the decathlon. He set the Millerton Lake record for a striped bass (50.3 pounds) in 1998 and has landed more than 100 stripers over 20 pounds. He works as a fishing guide and fishing columnist.