You Are Here > > > Billy Mills

Billy Mills

Full name: William Mervin "Billy" Mills
Other name(s): Makata Taka Hela, Makoce Teh'la
Gender: Male
Height: 5-10.5 (180 cm)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Born: June 30, 1938 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, United States
Affiliations: US Marine Corps, (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


As a virtual unknown on the international track scene, Billy Mills caused one of the major upsets at the 1964 Games by becoming the first American to win the Olympic 10,000 m. He also placed a creditable 14th in the marathon in 1964. Mills later set a world six mile record at the 1965 AAU championships when he was given the same time as [Gerry Lindgren], and later in the season he set a U.S. 10,000 m record in the dual meet against West Germany. After graduating from Kansas, Mills served as a Lieutenant in the Marines, representing the Corps in 1964. Mills was part Oglala Lakota Native American, born Makata Taka Hela ()Loves His Country)), and grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He later became active in Indian affairs and in 1983 a Canadian Indian tribe made a film of his life story. An American film, Running Brave, was also made of his life story. He has served as the national spokesperson for the Running Strong for American Indian Youth organization. His book, Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Understanding (with Nicholas Sparks), has undergone multiple printings. He is a member of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame, the Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame.

Personal Bests: Mile – 4:03.5 (1965); 2 miles – 8:41.4i (1965); 5000 – 13:41.4 (1965); 6 miles – 27:11.6 (1965); 10000 – 28:17.6 (1965); Mar – 2-22:55 (1964).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1964 Summer 26 Tokyo Athletics Men's 10,000 metres United States USA 1 Gold OR
1964 Summer 26 Tokyo Athletics Men's Marathon United States USA 14

Men's 10,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1964 Summer 26 Tokyo Athletics United States Final Standings 1 OR 28:24.4

Men's Marathon

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1964 Summer 26 Tokyo Athletics United States Final Standings 14 2-22:55.4
id: 78,795