Tom Courtney currently represents District 44 of Iowa’s State Senate as an Iowa Democrat and was an Olympic athlete, winning two gold medals in 800 meters at 1956 Olympic Games and being part of an anchor team of 4×400-meter relay teams.
He attended Grover Cleveland High School in Caldwell, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University where he kept up his training regiment by sneaking out late at night to run.
Early Life and Education
Courtney was born and raised in Hull, England. In 1960 he made his stage debut playing Konstantin in “The Seagull” at London’s Old Vic Theatre.
He was a full-time student at Fordham University and excelled on its track team under coach Artie O’Connor. Under Artie O’Connor’s tutelage he became a world-class 400 and 800-meter runner; winning both NCAA 880-yard championship in 1955 as well as competing at the 1956 Olympic Games.
After graduation, he was drafted into the Army but utilized his free time for training. Visiting German track athlete Rudolf Harbig’s home and asking to view his training notebooks was invaluable; from these he gained one invaluable tip that eventually won him gold at 800 meters.
Tom Courtney worked hard throughout his life to achieve his goals. From selling newspapers on street corners to becoming owner of a multimillion-dollar finance organization. Tom now specializes in recruiting accounting and finance professionals for FGP’s clients across all industries.
Courtney credits his success at winning the Olympic 800 m with learning from Rudolf Harbig, a German track athlete who had died during World War II. Courtney tracked down Harbig’s mother and asked for his training notebooks; from these he learned that Harbig used downhill running techniques as part of his training regimen.
Courtney outwitted Sowell by taking the lead with 200 meters left but then unleashing an aggressive homestretch surge to pass him and ultimately win by one-tenth of a second.
Achievement and Honors
Tom Courtney was an Olympic gold medalist twice and an accomplished track and field athlete. At the 1956 Games held in Melbourne, Australia he captained Australia’s 4×400 relay team that took home gold. Additionally he won both 400m finals at Trials as well as being considered one of the premier 800 meter runners worldwide.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in 1955, he quickly established himself as both Metropolitan AAU champion and intercollegiate 800-meter champion. Furthermore, he set a world record in the two mile relay competition and even graced Sports Illustrated’s cover!
Courtney was not only an accomplished runner; he was also an active businessman and philanthropist, having founded the Thomas Courtney Foundation to offer scholarships to students pursuing careers in caring professions. He passed away peacefully in Naples, Florida at age 90.
Courtney initially was misinterpreted as a footballer when he arrived on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus; but quickly established himself as one of the greatest athletes ever in track and field history, winning multiple individual titles and becoming an Academy award recipient for track.
At the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, he earned two gold medals: first as part of one of the most epic 800-meter finals ever witnessed at an Olympics and later as anchor of an American 1,600-meter relay team.
He later earned an MBA from Harvard University and pursued a career in investment banking, working in New York, Boston and Pittsburgh before founding his own firm. Furthermore, he was an active philanthropist, making generous gifts to both Fordham’s track and field programs as well as its Gabelli School of Business – including giving generous donations towards both of these initiatives.
Tom Courtney serves as Hasbro Inc’s EVP & Chief Global Operations Officer and is accountable for vendor relationships, product sourcing, supply chain planning, logistics warehousing and safety/quality products as well as corporate real estate and global security issues. Since 1992 he has held various roles of increasing responsibility with Hasbro such as Assistant Controller Games; SVP Finance North America; and currently SVP/GM Global Operations.
As an advocate for youth, he wrote the book, “Don’t C.O.P.P Out!” (Consequences of Peer Pressure). Together with his wife he currently resides in Burlington, Iowa where they serve on both boards: Southeast Iowa Health Center and local school district as well as representing Des Moines-Louisa counties plus portions of Muscatine county as members of Iowa Senate.