News : US Olympian and national record holder Paul McMullen dies

News : US Olympian and national record holder Paul McMullen dies

McMullen, in an image from the 1996 Atlanta Games

Tragic news for world athletics in general and the American in particular after it was communicated the death of Olympian in Atlanta ’96 and national mile record holder Paul McMullen. The American, who was a soccer player in his time in high school, has died at the age of 49. The death was the March 4 after suffering a skiing accident in northern Michigan.

He ran his first mile in 5:35, an unfavorable start for an athlete who would win multiple national titles. But as a senior in high school, McMullen won the Michigan state title in the mile. When he graduated in 1995 he was among the best in the country. That year he won the 1500 national title and earned a spot on Team USA for the World Cup in Goteborg, Sweden. There he reached the final and finished tenth in 3: 38.23.

Semifinals in Atlanta ’96

At the Atlanta Games, McMullen, then 24, reached the semifinals. His personal best for the mile is 3:54:94 (London 2001), while at 1,500 he was 3:33:89 in Monaco. After retiring from professional sports, Paul served four years in the United States Coast Guard. While living in Grand Haven, Michigan, he ran multiple marathons and ultramarathons, and founded a youth running organization, Chariots of Fire Running Club, whose goal was to make training fun and age-appropriate. Rest in peace.

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