Flowers nearly hurdles world record time
April 19, 1968 - Tennessee junior Richmond Flowers Jr. was three victories into an eight-race winning streak in the 120-yard high hurdles when he performed at the Pelican Relays in Baton Rouge, La.
Traditionally, all the competitors at the meet were African-American. Flowers was one of the meet's first white participants, but his performance was memorable for reasons beyond the color of his skin. Running against Southern University's Willie Davenport, a former paratrooper, Flowers won the race in 13.3 seconds. The time was a tenth of a second slower than the world record.
Unfortunately for Flowers, the victory proved to be the seminal moment of his track career. On June 2, he injured his right hamstring while doing sprints in Knoxville. The injury prevented him from competing in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where Davenport won the gold medal in the 120 highs.
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