USA Track and Field announced Wednesday that former Kansas State All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist Kenny Harrison was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame as a member of the 40th overall class.
Harrison is the first K-State Track and Field athlete to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
For Harrison, the induction is the final piece of validation in his long and successful career as a competitor.
The former Wildcat great said the honor is something that ranks above all the medals and titles he’s accumulated in his career.
“(The induction) is phenomenal for me,” Harrison said. “It’s something you don’t expect, but it is super positive and puts the icing on the cake for my track and field career.
“I have never been a person about awards or things of that nature. It’s never been a personal thing I needed to do, but this is a little a bit more personal and it is something that is really, really valuable to me, moreso than anything I’ve done in my career.”
The former K-State letterman was an 11-time NCAA All-American during his time in Manhattan from 1984-88. Competing primarily in jumps, Harrison won NCAA indoor titles in the long jump in 1986 and the triple jump in 1988. He also won the NCAA outdoor triple jump crown in 1986, as well as being a three-time runner up in the NCAA Championships.
Along with numerous accolades on the national stage, Harrison was a 15-time Big Eight champion and still holds the school records in the indoor and outdoor long jump and outdoor triple jump.
Following his K-State career, Harrison experienced plenty of success on the international stage. In 1990, he was awarded the Jim Thorpe Award, given each year to the United States’ best male athlete in the field event/decathlon category.
Competing for the United States in the 1991 World Track and Field Championships in Tokyo, Harrison won gold in the triple jump. His crowning achievement came at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he won gold in the triple jump, setting both a U.S. and Olympic record in the process with a jump of 18.09m (59-4.25).
The 40th induction class will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet, which is part of the USATF Annual Meeting at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis.