A search of Barney Ewell on YouTube yields a number of videos, race footage and the documentary “Breaking Through: The Barney Ewell Story.” The film is a fascinating piece that tells the story of Ewell, his early life, his success, his military service, missed opportunities and his journey to becoming an Olympic champion, as well as the adversity and challenges he faced throughout life.
Growing up in the City of Lancaster, Ewell attended McCaskey and went on to Penn State and eventually became the “fastest man in the world” with a world record in the 50-yard dash. He also equaled the world record of Jesse Owens in the 100-meter race.
Many recall the crowds that lined the streets near Lancaster Square to cheer his motorcade when he returned home. He is remembered for his love of downtown Lancaster and Lancaster Central Market.
Fittingly, LNP’s Burt Wilson wrote a July 1 LancasterOnline piece (“ ‘Penn State’s 100 Greatest Athletes’: Barney Ewell ranked No. 7”) about a recent article from The Penn Stater that ranked Ewell as the university’s seventh greatest athlete. Considering his resume, global influence and being the fastest man in the world, Ewell should be No. 1.
Take some time to watch this film, learn about an important part of Olympic history, of Lancaster history and about a truly special man who meant so much to the world and to our community. It is for all these reasons that City Council should vote next month (“Ewell Plaza takes a step closer to reality,” July 14 Sunday LNP) for Lancaster Square to be named Ewell Olympic Plaza.
East Hempfield Township