Track & Field's 7 Forgotten World Record-Breakers

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Track & Field's 7 Forgotten World Record-Breakers
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In no sport is owning a record more prestigious—and at the same time, more fleeting—than track and field.

Football and basketball players don't need records to establish greatness. Joe Montana doesn't own a single NFL passing record. Tim Duncan owns one obscure NBA record, for most blocks in a six-game playoff series.

But there are still a lot of people who believe Montana and Duncan are the greatest players at their respective positions that their respective sports have ever seen.

Baseball is a bit different, because MLB records have become so lofty in sports culture. Almost every sports fan knows the significance of 755 and 56 and 61 and 511, and two of those aren't even records anymore.

But reaching legend status in baseball is more about milestones—3,000 hits or 300 wins or 500 home runs—than specific records.

Track is different. The sport's two primary "legacy" chips are Olympic gold medals and world records, and so to many observers, a track star isn't a track star, whether it's Jesse Owens or Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt, without one or both of those accomplishments on their resume.

Because track records are so vulnerable, however, many record-breakers have slipped under the radar. For one reason or another, whether their records stood for two months or are still the standard, their names don't resonate with fans and media despite their historic feats.

Here are seven of track's forgotten world record-breakers.

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