Jan. 31, 2005
On Friday February 4, 2005, J. Gregory Rice will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Millrose Games, held annually in Madison Square Garden.
A 1939 graduate of Notre Dame, Rice has been billed as the greatest distance runner the United States has ever produced. During the course of his career he was undefeated in 65 major indoor and outdoor races over a three-year stretch, while setting the world record in the two- and three-mile runs a total of eight times.
At Notre Dame, Rice was a four-time All-American as well as a two-time National Champion in the two-mile, winning the event in 1937 and 1939.
The highlight of Rice's career was the 1940 season, during which he earned the AAU Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete.
At the Millrose Games, one of the historic track meets in the United States, Rice was a four-time winner in the two-mile (1939, `41, '42 and `43).
Born in 1916, Rice served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and remained active in track and field for many years as an official. Rice died in May of 1991 and is survived by his wife Mary, as well as their eight children and 15 grandchildren.
The Millrose Games were started in 1908 and are run each year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The meet is currently a part of USA Track & Field's Indoor Visa Championship Series. This year's meet will be held on February 4 at 6:30 p.m., with highlights to be shown on NBC on February 5 at 2:00 p.m. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on the track immediately after the Wanamaker Mile.
The Millrose Games created a Hall of Fame in 1999 to recognize the meet's greatest performers. Past inductees include such track and field greats as Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner Kersee.