JESSE: Well, you clicked on my thumbnail because you're wondering what did Jim Ryun do? First, maybe you should be wondering who is Jim Ryun? but if you know that, you probably know what Jim Ryun did. In any case, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runners High we're going to talk about who Jim Ryun is and what exactly did Jim Ryun do?
As you may have guessed because this is called Runner’s High, Jim Ryun is a runner and the overall better question is not what did Jim Ryun do, but what didn't Jim Ryun do? He is still alive as we're recording this video, so he's probably still doing other things. But the notable thing you're probably here for is that Jim Ryun is the first high school student to run under four minutes for the mile.
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Jim Ryun's laundry list of accomplishments simply cannot be summed up by me in this video, but I'll try to hit the highlights here.
Aside from the things that I've already mentioned he still holds the world junior record for the mile, he's the last American to hold the world record in the mile, is becoming a very competitive race, and many, many countries enter. So, last American, at least for now, hopefully we're going to have somebody in the future do that as well.
And interestingly, ESPN voted him as the best high school athlete of all time. That seems like a pretty hefty title, pretty heady tiled too beating out LeBron James and tiger woods, both early prodigies in their sports. So that kind of gives you a little bit of weight to the significance of the things that Jim Ryun did in his early athletic career.
He also competed in three different Olympic games, starting as early as 17 and a half, basically, he's the youngest American Olympian to ever compete. So he did a lot of things in his athletic career early on, starting at a very young age, even though, and this hearkens to Michael Jordan a little bit, even though he didn't think he was going to have much potential as a middle schooler.
In Michael Jordan's case, he was a little bit older when he was cut from the basketball team and we know the rest of his story, but he didn't think, Jim Ryun did the had a lot of potential and ended up going into cross country, you know, being good at it, and then really excelling, obviously, to be the first one to go under four minutes as a high school student.
Now, there are a lot of things that really we don't know about from the time that Jim graduates from KU in Lawrence, you're about 30, 40 minutes from me, to the time that he goes on and becomes a Congressman for Kansas. So, very storied life, all of those accomplishments and running early on, and then being a part of Congress later in life, he did all of those things.
And then as most recently, whether you love him or hate him, President Donald Trump awarded Jim the presidential medal of freedom this year, 2020, July 24th. So, he's still racking up the accolades and I'm sure he's still active doing something interesting, although I’m not sure what that is.
But if you leave me some comments below, leave me a little bit of support, maybe I can get in touch with Jim and see if he'll come on the podcast or I can meet him for coffee and we can record a little bit, talk a little bit, see what he's up to and get some more of those details that we simply can't find just by trying to read things on the internet, listen to me, those exclusive things that nobody else has asked about.
Those are the kinds of things I ask about on the smart athlete podcast. If you've not seen that subscribe to the channel, I interview people like Jim who are very athletically talented, or have some kind of athletic background and also have something else going on, often very smart, hence Smart Athlete Podcast. So, congressmen would certainly qualify.
So, share the love. Let me know if you'd like to see if I can get ahold of Jim to interview him at some point in time in the future. Subscribe to the channel as always, and I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.