Cancer Takes The Life Of Olympic Medalist Wayne Collett At Age 60
March 18, 2010
Former UCLA great Wayne Collett, who won the men's 400m silver medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, died Wednesday at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles following a long bout with cancer. He was 60.
During his four-year UCLA career (1968-71), Collett won Pac-8 titles in the 440-yard intermediate hurdles and 440-yard dash. In NCAA competition, he anchored three straight mile relay championship teams. He also placed second in the 440-yard intermediate hurdles in 1970, fourth in the 440-yard dash in 1971 and fourth in the 220-yard dash in 1969. The Bruins won the NCAA team title in 1971.
A member of the UCLA Hall of Fame (1992), he still ranks in UCLA's all-time Top Ten in the 400 meters (fourth at 44.54, converted from a 440y hand time), 400-meter hurdles (fourth at 48.84, converted from a 440y hand time) and the 200 meters (ninth at 20.44, converted from a 200m hand time).
Collett won the 400 meters at the 1972 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in 44.1 seconds, which was the fastest time ever recorded at sea level. Later that summer at the Olympic final in Munich, Collett won the silver medal with his time of 44.80 seconds, with his teammate Vince Matthews winning the gold in 44.66. Collett and Matthews were banished from the Olympics when they failed to stand at attention on the medals podium during the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner."
Born October 20, 1949 in Los Angeles, Collett was an attorney who remained active in the UCLA community. He is survived by his wife, Emily; his son, Wayne Jr.; his mother, Ruth; and his older brother, Aaron.