1952 Olympics  - Mr. Barnes

Fans cheering and adrenaline pumping through your veins like gasoline to a car. These were the feelings that John B. Barnes must have felt as he walked in arena for the 1952 Olympics held in Finland.  A member of the track team, John was ranked 3rd in the nation and at the age of 20 practically beat everybody in his sport, track. With the help of his friends and family John would go all the way. When he stepped on to the track nothing else mattered. All he thought about was winning, and for him sky was the limit.

Iím John B. Barnes and I was born in Oklahoma in 1929.Iím English ,Irish , Scots, and American Indian (old Sagian Suex). M great great grandfather was a full blooded Sues Chief , my grandmother was born in a Suex camp outside of Fort Lermy in 1883.My mother was born in a reservation in 1904 , my grandfather was a full time cowboy who ran away when he was 12 years old.

I was in the 1952 Olympics at Helsinki , Finland and ran the 800.I didnít place in the games , but after the games was part of a worldís record rally team, a 4-man 880 and a 4-man 4 mile. We set a world record  in the 1st run and an American record in the 2nd run. I unfortunately donít hold the record anymore, but track has improved tremendously. Advanced physiology , sheers, and all tracks are now surfaced. It was just a different way , it was just a different style back then . My best time in the 800s was a 149.6 and in the 880s it was a 148.2.It those days though we didnít run meters though , we ran yards and during the Olympic year , national championships, weíd run meters.

I qualified for the games at the L.A Coliseum and got to the semi-finals in 52.The 1st , 2nd ,and 3rd place runners went to the games and forth stayed home, I placed second so I went. Every time I think of the tryouts I still get the chills, there was so much at stake , you can work hard for four years and in one bad race it was over, your out ,you placed fourth and your dead. At that time I was ranked 3rd and still had that ranking even though I didnít do to well in the games because I did so well afterwards.

At that time I was overwhelmed , but as I look back on it now I was a privileged few. Iím really thankful for the experience. We just had our reunion at Occidental College of our 1950 track team , that was the 1st track team nationally ranked from that school I saw some of my buddies, you form a bond when you get in that level of competition, when your really under fireÖ that lasts a life and thatís what the greatest experience is. The highlight of my track career wasnít going to the games or winning two national championships , it was about the buddies that I ran with .Another highlight of my track career was when we beat Stanford. Now we had a student body of bout 1250 students and we beat Stanford in the mile relay 60 to 63. Iíll never forget that cause we all pulled together  and that means so much more, instead of accepting it on your ownÖ I appreciate the individual awards , donít get me wrong , but you canít compare with the friends I had they do that. The greatest coach in the world, Patton Jordan, later became head coach of the U.S. for the Mexico City Games and Stanford. He taught me discipline of the sport, without discipline your dead in the water, no matter what you do , if you arenít disciplined and focused your not gonna make it .You have to  !!! You have to determine there whether itís worth it or not  ! If it isnít then donít do it .Donít do it because your girlfriend is out there or your buddies are , you do it because you wanna make yourself a better person because of it , if you have that attitude , great things can happen, if you donít youíll be disappointed.

After the Olympics is was your attitude that said who you were, it depended on it. If you go back and act that youíre than everyone then your gonna get a negative feel, but if you go back and realize that itís a privilege and only by the grace of God that you made it , and tell them you did it by his grace, will you be appreciated. NO one does it alone, no one !!!No one makes it to the games alone, you have to have a coach , you have to have people who support you and  people who wanna see you do well. You get all that behind you and then good things can happen, but if you try to do it by yourself , youíre never gonna make it. You just arenít ! Weíre creatures that demand that , itís easy to get very arrogant if youíve don well, but you have to realized where you came from and who put you there .Without my college coach I would have never, never, never made it.

When I was a freshman, he said, "John youíre making it to the games in 52." I said coach you're crazy!!! He never gave up on me , he disciplined me, made me learn how to focus, and it paid off, it paid of all my life.

I had my chance to go back to the Olympics when I was in the service at Lackland Air force Base and train with the U.S Olympic team .(candidates)I didnít take it though, at the time I was in a Baptist church ,it was a missionary church, and the pastor was sick. I was saved in the service , became a Christian in 54 and I said no.!!! I belong here and knew then and there that my chances for the 56 games was over, but itís OK. ÖMade a choice and I donít regret it.