Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand
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Where did Louis Zamperini attend college to run track?

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In 1934, Louis Zamperini set an interscholastic high school record in the mile. He ran the mile in 4 minutes and 21.2 seconds. A week later he finished first in the same event at the California state championships. That win and his previous week's record-setting time allowed Louis Zamperini to...

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In 1934, Louis Zamperini set an interscholastic high school record in the mile. He ran the mile in 4 minutes and 21.2 seconds. A week later he finished first in the same event at the California state championships. That win and his previous week's record-setting time allowed Louis Zamperini to secure himself an athletic scholarship at the University of Southern California. USC was founded in 1880, and it is the oldest private research university in California. The move to college did not slow Louis Zamperini down. His race of choice continued to be the mile, and in 1938 he set a national collegiate mile record with a time of 4 minutes and 8.3 seconds. The record stood for an amazing fifteen years. While attending the University of Southern California, Zamperini was also a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

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After setting the national high school mile record in 1934, Louis Zamperini received a track scholarship to run at the University of Southern California. Zamperini's prowess on the track continued into his college years. In 1936, he traveled to New York City to compete in the 5,000-meter Olympic trials. After qualifying, he traveled to Berlin for the 1936 games, in which he finished in eighth place.

Upon returning back to college, Zamperini continued to have success on the track. In 1938, Zamperini set the collegiate mile record when he ran a blistering 4:08 mile. This record would stand for a full 15 years. For more than a decade, Zamperini held both the high school and collegiate records. Zamperini graduated from USC in 1940, but was unable to compete again in the Olympics due to the outbreak of World War II.

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