1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to speak at Boys and Girls Club | SierraSun.com
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1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to speak at Boys and Girls Club

Special to the Sun

KINGS BEACH, Calif. and#8212; On Saturday June 9, the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe will host its annual Kids First fundraising breakfast. This year, the Club is honored to have 1964 gold medalist Billy Mills as a keynote speaker. His victory in the 10,000 meter race is considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.

Billy Mills was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Although Pine Ridge is very rich in culture and spirit, it is continually recognized economically as one of the poorest communities in America with unemployment reaching 80 percent.

Mills was orphaned by the age of 12 and sent to boarding schools. He graduated from high school at Haskell Indian School where he became involved in distance running. He later earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas. Never winning a major race in track and field or cross country, he continued to show promise by his performances in cross country, making All-American seven times.

Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, Mills was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps., and continued training for the Olympic Team. He qualified for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team in two events and#8212; the marathon and the 10,000 meter run and#8212; which would unfold as one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.

Today Mills is an accomplished businessman, author and motivational speaker. He has received five honorary doctorates and is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest honor that the University of Kansas Alumni Association can bestow upon an individual to acknowledge outstanding achievement for the betterment of mankind. A major motion picture has been made about Mills, titled and#8220;Running Braveand#8221; and has been a positive influence on many American youth. Mills was recognized on several end-of-the-millennium lists, including being chosen as Sports Illustratedand#8217;s Athlete of the Century for the state of South Dakota. In 1992, Mills helped start a Boys and Girls Club on the reservation where he was raised in his sisterand#8217;s name.

Mills will speak at the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe on two separate occasions. On June 8, at 4 p.m., he will speak to Boys and Girls Club members and all local youth who wish to attend. All kids and families are welcome to the free event which will take place in the Boys and Girls Club gymnasium, 8125 Steelhead Ave., Kings Beach.

On June 9, 9-11 a.m., he will speak at the Cluband#8217;s highly anticipated annual fundraising breakfast prepared by Club Chef Christin Wilcox. There is no ticket price, but donations will be solicited. Limited spots are available. Please call 530-546-4324 or RSVP to sarroyo@bgcnlt.org before June 1.

The Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe serves more than 800 local youths and families with after-school, before-school and summer programs for 5-18 year olds. For information on activities and programs, visit http://www.bgcnlt.org.


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