The 1964 Rogers (Spokane) graduate, was a 5’3, 87-pound sophomore when he emerged onto the Spokane running scene" placing second in his first appearance at a WIAA State event.
Since his sophomore year, Gerry Lindgren (AKA the Spokane Sparrow), has built an athletic career that has deemed him as having been the best high school long distance runner in the United States of all time.
By the time Gerry was a junior, he had shaved 19 seconds off of the State Cross Country record, only to shave off another 18 seconds during his senior year. In that same year (1963), Lindgren competed at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, finishing two miles in nine minutes flat. Not only was this time 29.8 seconds faster than any high school had run indoors, he lapped all seven of his competitors.
His performance in San Francisco got him an invite to the LA Invitational, which spurred multiple other invites to world-meets across the nation. Eventually, Lindgren found himself running in the US-USSR Track Meet, hoping to qualify for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Lindgren outran two experienced Russian runners to win the 10,000 meter event, which won him not only a spot on the Olympic team, but numerous international accolades and admiration.
After his Olympic appearance and numerous AAU top places, Lindgren attended Washington State University where he majored in political science and minored in Russian (of which he is still fluent in today). Lindgren won 11 of 12 NCAA championships during his tenure at WSU.
Today, Lindgren resides in Hawaii. He coached the University of Hawaii’s women’s track and field team for two years and continues to support athletes at his alma mater, John R. Rogers High School.