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Willie Davenport (1983)

Louisiana Legends



Genre: Interview

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1983-11-21

Duration: 00:27:43

Subjects: Segregation | DAVENPORT, WILLIE | TRACK AND FIELD | Olympic Games (18th: 1964: Tokyo, Japan) | Olympic Games (19th: 1968: Mexico City, Mexico) | Olympic Games (20th: 1972: Munich, Germany) | Olympic Games (21st: 1976: Montreal, Quebec) | Olympic Winter Games (13th: 1980: Lake Placid, N.Y.) | Hurdling (Track and field) | Bobsledding | Southern University and A & M College | Sports | Olympic Games


  • Harrison, Joseph L., Jr. Assistant Director
  • Courtney, Beth Executive Producer
  • Grigsby-Breazeale, Kathryn Producer
  • Fourrier, Clay Director
  • Weill, Gus Interviewer
  • Davenport, Willie Interviewee


This episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” from November 21, 1983, features an interview with Willie Davenport conducted by Gus Weill. Davenport, a gold and bronze medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, competed in four Summer Olympics (1964, 1968, 1972, 1976) and one Winter Olympics (1980). He was later inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame and the Olympic Hall of Fame. He discusses: growing up in an integrated community in Ohio; running track and field in high school; attending Southern University in Baton Rouge; experiencing segregation and racial discrimination in Louisiana; pulling a muscle before his final race in the 1964 Summer Olympics; winning the gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics; his lack of focus at the 1972 Summer Olympics; winning a bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, a year after major knee surgery; joining the bobsled team and competing as one of the first African Americans at the Winter Olympics in 1980; his hopes to compete in the 1984 Summer Olympics at age 41; and the lessons he has learned from his career in athletics.