Mel Lattany

Melvin Lattany (born August 10, 1959 in Brunswick, Georgia) is a former American track athlete. He was one of the world's dominating sprinters in the early 1980s.

Mel Lattany
Personal information
Nationality United States
Born (1959-08-10) August 10, 1959 (age 61)
Height5-8 3/4
Event(s)100 metres, 200 metres
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m: 9.96 s (Athens 1984)
Medal record

Early yearsEdit

Lattany attended Glynn Academy, where he was a standout sprinter in track. He also practiced football, where although he was primarily a wide receiver, he also played as a safety, cornerback, punt returner, kickoff returner and was the backup placekicker.[1]

He accepted a track scholarship from the University of Georgia, where he established a new Men's World Junior Record over 100 metres on July 30, 1978.

Lattany qualified for the 1980 US Olympic team as a 100 metres sprinter and a member of the 4 × 400 metres relay team, but was unable to compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. He did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.[2]

He won a gold medal in the 100 metres at the 1981 Summer Universiade, and in the 200 metres at the 1981 IAAF World Cup, with a 20.21 seconds finish. On May 5, 1984, Lattany became only the fifth man (second at sea level) to break the 10-second barrier when he clocked 9.96 seconds in Athens, Georgia.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Lattany retired from track in 1985 and signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League on June 20, looking to become an NFL wide receiver as a 25-year-old rookie.[3][4] At the time, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds. He was released on August 19.[5]

In 1987, he was reinstated by the International Amateur Athletics Federation to run track again.[6]

Accolades and AwardsEdit

In 2009, Lattany was hnoured as one of the 20 Athletes of the Century at the Drake Relays (he was never beaten in the 100 m, finals and preliminary races, in the four years he competed there, 1978 to 1981; in addition being named outstanding performer in 1981).[7]

In 2013, Lattany was inducted into the Glynn County Sports Hall of Fame.[8]


Lattany was ranked among the best in the US and the world in both the 100 and 200 m sprint events from 1979 to 1984, according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News.[9]


  1. ^ a b "An Uncommon Rookie Struts His Stuff". New York Times. July 26, 1985. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry (2008). Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403.
  3. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Andrews Still Out". June 21, 1985.
  4. ^ Dent, Jim (July 16, 1985). "Will Lattany be a Dallas catch?". Dallas Times Herald.
  5. ^ "Transactions". New York Times. August 20, 1985. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "3 Ex-Pro Football Players Reinstated". New York Times. March 30, 1987.
  8. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees". Glynn County Sports Hall Of Fame. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "TRACK & FIELD NEWS RANKINGS". Track and Field News. Retrieved August 21, 2020.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
  Harvey Glance
Men's World Junior Record Holder, 100 metres
30 July 1978 – 24 May 1980
Succeeded by
  Stanley Floyd
Preceded by
  Calvin Smith
Men's season's best performance, 100 metres
Succeeded by
  Carl Lewis