Ira Davis, a three-time Olympic track and field standout, will be making a special trip to London to the XXX Summer Olympics. Davis, former Overbrook High and La Salle standout, will be making the trip with his good friend, Herb Douglas, who was a bronze medalist in the 1948 Olympic Games in London.
“I’m really excited about it,” Davis said. “I’m really happy for Herb. He’s an alumnus of the 1948 Olympic Games. It’s going to be nice to go back. I’m going to represent La Salle at the games. Herb is going to represent the University of Pittsburgh. We had talked about this at Herb’s 90th birthday party this year.”
Davis and Douglas will fly out of Philadelphia to London August 1. Davis, 75, competed in the Olympics in 1956 (Melbourne), 1960 (Rome) and 1964 (Tokyo). He was a triple jumper and came very close to winning the bronze medal in 1960. In fact, he missed a bronze medal by two centimeters.
“I was fortunate to participate in three Olympics,” said Davis, who is retired and lives in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. “I’m really proud of that. It was a great experience. It was great to be able to compete against some of the greatest athletes in the world.”
Davis was a tremendous performer in track and field. He had a great scholastic career at Overbrook High. His talents weren’t limited to just the triple jump.
He was a terrific sprinter at La Salle. In 1958, he won the 100-yard dash with a winning time of 9.6 seconds at the IC4A championship. That same year he was the Penn Relays champion in the 100-yard dash and the triple jump. He broke several Explorer track records and at one time held the American record for the triple jump with 53 feet, 11 inches. In 1964, he was selected to Sport Magazine’s All-Time Track and Field team.
In addition to his track and field exploits, Davis was a pretty good basketball player. He played on some championship Overbrook High basketball teams that featured basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain during the 1950s.
“I’ve had a great career,” Davis said. “It’s nice to look back at these days. Of course, going back to the Olympics is really special. I’m really happy about that.”