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July 24, 1947: L.A. Sentinel columnist Edward Robinson has the story of UCLA track star Lloyd LaBeach, born in Panama to Jamaican parents, who came to Los Angeles because of the severe winters in Wisconsin, where he was attending the university.
Robinson said LaBeach won both sprints at the recent Pasadena Games, beating USC’s Mel Patton and earning a trip to the AAU competition in Lincoln, Neb. The “keep it white program” at USC said there wasn’t room on the plane to the games, Robinson said, although officials found room for others.
According to the Los Angeles Times, on June 13, 1947, LaBeach ended Patton’s string of 18 victories, defeating Patton in the 220-yard dash in the Southern Pacific AAU Pasadena Games held at the Coliseum at 20.8 seconds, and 20.7 seconds for the 200 meters. Patton narrowly defeated La Beach in the 100 meters, The Times said.
Representing Panama, LaBeach won two bronze medals in the 1948 Olympic Games in London. He placed third in the men’s 100 meters at 10.6 seconds behind Harrison Dillard of the U.S., who took the gold at 10.3 seconds, and Barney Ewell of the U.S., who took the silver at 10.4 seconds. He won his second bronze medal in the men’s 200 meters at 21.2 seconds against Patton, who took the gold medal at 21.1 seconds and Barney Ewell, who took the silver medal, also at 21.1 seconds.
His brother Byron LaBeach, representing Jamaica, competed in the men’s 100 meters in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
Lloyd LaBeach died in 1999 in New York at the age of 76.