Inspirational Closing Plenary with Billy Mills

Billy Mills was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Although Pine Ridge is very rich in culture and spirit, it is continually recognized economically as one of the poorest communities in America with unemployment reaching 80%.

Billy was orphaned by the age of 12 and sent to boarding schools. He graduated from high school Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. Billy became involved in distance running and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas.

Never winning a major race in track and field or cross country, he continued to show promise by making All-American seven times.

Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, Billy was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and continued training for the Olympic Team in 1964. He made the Olympic Team in two events, the marathon and the 10,000 meter run. He trained his body, mind, and soul for “peak performance”. And the world was about to see the greatest upset in Olympic history unfold.

Today, Billy is an accomplished businessman, author and National Spokesperson for Christian Relief Services and Running Strong for American Indian Youth.

A major motion picture has been made about Billy, titled “Running Brave” and has been a positive influence on many of our American youth.

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