Some athletes approach sports with deadly seriousness, but not Willie Banks. One of America’s greatest triple jumpers, Banks fired up spectators before competitions and mingled with them afterwards. During some jumps, the flamboyant athlete’s sheer joy erupted into laughter.
Some of that joy stemmed from Banks’ triple-jump success. He set his first American record in 1981 at 56 feet, 7¾ inches and went on to beat that record six times, improving by more than 2 feet. In 1985, he set a world record of 58 feet, 11½ inches.
During his career, Banks represented the United States in 18 international competitions, including world championships in 1983 and 1987 and the Olympics in 1984 and 1988. He won a silver medal in 1983 and was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Year in 1985. He joined the USA Track & Field
Hall of Fame in 1999.
“I have been fortunate enough to receive many awards and accolades,” Banks says. “In retrospect, I believe none of my achievements could have been accomplished without the lessons of desire, determination, and dedication learned from Scouting. My struggle to become an Eagle Scout provided me the necessary resources to be a success in sports, academics, and business.”