Tribute to St. John's Olympian Tom Farrell


QUEENS, N.Y. (Nov. 13, 2008) – On Monday, November 17, the St. John’s Cross Country and Track & Field programs will honor alumnus and volunteer coach Tom Farrell in a celebration of the 40th anniversary of his bronze medal performance at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

A dinner reception commending Farrell’s dedicated career with St. John’s and multiple outside athletic accomplishments will be held at 7 p.m. in the Marillac Terrace. Friends, alumni and fans of the St. John’s cross country and track & field programs are invited to attend.

The cost of the dinner will be $60 with checks payable to St. John’s University. Remit payment to Mary Pat Beirne in Marillac Room 105, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, N.Y., 11439. Please RSVP to Beirne at 718-990-1873 or

In addition to Farrell, the St. John’s cross country, track & field programs will also honor Dr. Norbert Sander, the president of the Armory Track Foundation and the 1974 New York City Marathon Champion, and Warren Ring, former Chief Clerk of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Farrell, the guest of honor, is a former world record holder and part of the inaugural group of inductees in the St. John’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He is one of the most decorated athletes in St. John’s history and has served as the volunteer assistant coach for the Red Storm for the past nine years.

He arrived at St. John’s in 1961 as a graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School. He made his mark early as the individual champion at the 1961 Freshman Metropolitan Cross Country Championships, helping his team win as well. As a sophomore, he ran in the record-setting two-mile relay team of Paul Stelmaszyk, Bob Buckley and Tom Bauer, who ran the relay in 7:41.1 at February’s Millrose Games. In late March of that year, he ran the second leg of the mile-relay team which broke the Canadian record (3:20.8) at the Eastern Canadian Track & Field Championships in Hamilton, Ontario

As a junior, Farrell represented the United States at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as the first American in the 800-meter run, after becoming St. John’s first NCAA Champion at the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Ore. Farrell qualified for the Olympic Trials at Randalls Island in New York City, where he finished fourth, then went on to finish second at the Olympic Finals in Los Angeles. He finished fifth in the 800-meter run in Tokyo.

In mid-February of 1965, after his Olympic run, Farrell defeated Canada’s Bill Crothers at Madison Square Garden’s NYAC Games to set a new indoor World Record in the 880-yard run of 1:49.8. In the spring, he defended his NCAA 800-meter title. Farrell also won the British AAA 800-meter title in that same year. In the spring of 1966, he won the AAU title.

After graduating from St. John’s in 1966, Farrell went on to take the bronze medal in the 800-meters at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City with a career-best time of 1:45.4. He finished behind gold-medalist Ralph Doubell of Australia and Kenya’s Wilson Kiprugut, who won silver.

Also in attendance will be Derrick Adkins, the 1996 Olympic 400-meter intermediate hurdles gold medalist, legendary St. John’s and Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca, St. John’s Athletic Director Emeritus John W. Kaiser, St. John’s alumnus, Rich Torellas, manager of the team USA’s 2008 Beijing Olympics women’s track & field squad, and fellow alumna, St. John’s Hall of Famer Constance “Connie” Darnowski Stoll, St. John’s first-ever track & field Olympian.