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Gold for the math teacher

Gold for the math teacher

Nov. 2, 1964: Mike Larrabee, left, winner of two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, receives an award from Kirk Roth, student body president at Monroe High School. Larrabee, a math teacher at the school, won the 400-meter sprint and was on the winning 1,600-meter relay team.

A story the next morning in The Times’¬† San Fernando Valley section reported on the 30-year-old runner:

SEPULVEDA–Mike Larrabee, Monroe High School’s two-gold medal Olympic winner, has finally won a berth on the home team.

It was the Viking track team he joined Monday — his first day of classes after his return trip from Olympic competition in Tokyo. [The Games were held Oct. 10-24.]

The student body cheered at a noon rally as Larrabee became an honorary varsity letterman.

E. Arnold Miller, Monroe principal, remarked during the rally that Larrabee in 1960 was at what was considered to be the peak of his career but was unable to compete in the Olympic qualifying matches because of an injury.

“But in the 1964 Olympics he came from behind to win the 400-meter,” Miller said.

Larrabee commented on how it felt: “My coaches used to tell me how great a feeling it was to stand on the honors platform and watch the Stars and Stripes go up and hear the national anthem. I found out how right they were.”

This photo was published with the above story in the Nov. 3, 1964 Los Angeles Times.

Mike Larrabee passed away on April 22, 2003 at age 69.¬† Here’s a link to his obituary¬† in The Times.

1 Comment

  1. July 30, 2012, 8:20 pm

    I'm getting too old. I remember cutting out this article for my current events project, for my third-grade class at Saticoy Elementary, taught by Mrs. Strong. We had a very interesting class discussion about the Olympics, what it takes to get there and James Monroe High School, which was only a mere five miles away.

    Even the Helms Bakery got into the act, for the Olympic Spirit. They were the "official bread"' of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, used the Olympic Rings and had continued the connection, over the years, befoire going under, in 1969. Back then, Helms drivers were giving out Olympic Ring Pins, to all of the youngsters around my age, as a promotional tool.

    Did it work? Well, I sure did buy a lot of donuts and were they ever so fresh and delicious.

    By: Steven Moshlak

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