‘I gave it everything I had’: Detroit Olympian looks back on running in the 1968 games

Scott says he can tell which athlete will win

Lou Scott was born and raised in Detroit and when he was a child he discovered his love of running.
Lou Scott was born and raised in Detroit and when he was a child he discovered his love of running.

DETROIT – Louis “Lou” Scott was born and raised in Detroit and when he was a child he discovered his love of running.

When he was in school, he started outrunning older high school kids. His work earned him a full-ride scholarship to Arizona State University.

“I love running. I have always had a love for running,” he said.

His love of running led him to compete in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City. He ran in the 5000 meters race.

Read: Detroit was 1 vote away from hosting an Olympics games in 1968

Now, at 75 years old, he’s still running and he can still fit into his 1968 Olympic running uniform. He shared his Olympic memories with Local 4.

His motivation to compete in the Olympics started when he was at Eastern High School in Detroit.

“My high school coach won a gold medal in the 1948 Olympic games in London and when I made the track team, of course, he was the idol of all the kids in the high school,” he said. “I admired him so much. I wanted to be exactly like him.”

Scott said his coach told him that there are no shortcuts. He followed that advice. First, by making his mark in high school, then landing his scholarship to Arizona State University.

“Distance running is not for children and it’s not for the light of heart. You have to be serious about it and for me to make the 5000-meter track team. I had to run 50 miles per day, training twice a day,” Scott said.

He said he would run 35 to 45 miles in the morning and then 10 to 20 miles in the evening on the track. He said that’s when he realized what his coach was saying about there not being shortcuts.

Scott doesn’t have many pictures from his time at the Olympics. He fears he has lost them in a few moves along his lifetime, but he still has the memories.

During his time in the Olympics, he said food sickness and altitude made it a challenge for him.

“I gave it everything I had. I gave it everything I had, but I couldn’t make it into the top six,” Scott said.

He said you can tell which Olympic athlete is going to win when you look at them.

After the Olympics, Scott came back to Detroit, raised his family, taught in Detroit schools for 42 years.

Scott always seems to make friends on the track. When Local 4 caught up with Scott, he was running with George Gaines and Patrick Van Buren. For them, running is about friendship, exercise and getting their Olympic friend.

Scott said he runs about 5-10 miles a week. He said he needs to keep in shape. He has a sick wife and said he needs to be strong enough to take care of her.

More: Complete Michigan Olympic athlete coverage


About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.