American Sports Hero, Malvin G. Whitfield, an orphan raised by his sister, lives his motto: “Make the Impossible Possible, and it is Possible.” From 1946 to 1955, he was the running force in the 800 meter distance runs, and won 66 of 69 major middle-distance races throughout the world. That included winning 5 Olympic Medals (London 1948 and Helsinki 1952) as well as 3 gold medals in the Buenos Aires Pan American Games (400, 800 and 1600 meters). He has been inducted into 5 different Sports Halls of Fame, including the National Track And Field Hall Of Fame.
In 1990, “The Sports Ambassador” Mal Whifield founded the Whitfield Foundation for the promotion of sports, academics, and culture around the globe, continuing his work and programs from his 47 years of service as a professor, diplomat and sports program organizer in the USA, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe. He served all over the world as U.S. Sports Goodwill Ambassador and as Youth And Sports Affairs Officer for the U.S. Information Agency. He was personally instrumental in raising millions of dollars to fund and operate training camps and programs for Olympic teams in Africa.
Motivational speaker and author, Mal Whitfield’s book, “Learning To Run,” has been translated into three languages. This inspired man’s determination, inspiration and mastery of human relations shine throughout “Beyond the Finish Line,” his remarkable story of intrigue, politics, racism, tribal feuds and struggles as he criss-crossed Africa promoting American sportsmanship and seeking to develop African athletes. More recently, Mal worked with a D.C. based publisher on a magazine that can be best described as the first “Multi-Cultural” Sports Illustrated® type magazine in the world. BSTM – The Sports Magazine has a readership of over 1 million internationally.
Friendship Sports Association is honored to have this “remarkably remarkable” runner, trainer and ambassador of goodwill, “Marvelous Mal,” as our friend, Partner and Honorary Chairman, with our shared goals of spreading sportsmanship, friendship, understanding, motivation, help and hope around the world.
“This marvelous idea demonstrates beautifully the spirit of people to people initiative. I know that many prestigious individuals and organizations have embraced and captured the vision of what this enterprise could mean in promoting friendship as we go into all the nations of the world.” – Mal Whitfield, CEO of The Whitfield Foundation accepting Honorary Chairmanship of The Great Global Friendship Run
General Bernard Loeffke is “HOT” – Helping Others Today
During his distinguished career, General Bernard Loeffke commanded parachute units, Special Forces and combat infantry units. He culminated his military career as the Commanding General of Army South. In his military service, he accumulated more than 250 parachute jumps and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds in combat as well as several Valor Awards. He also served as a Staff Officer in the White House, and was the Director of the Commission on The White House Fellows.
General “Burn” Loeffke and his children, Marc and Kristina, founded the not-for-profit initiative, Helping Others Today (HOT), a grassroots effort to foster meaningful relationships using medical and educational tools, and to strengthen and disseminate peace through personal relations. General Loeffke’s book, “The Least Beastly,” shares how the Helping Others Today vision began years ago.
HOT supports the Friendship Fund of the United States Military Academy at West Point, formed to foster friendships between the young leaders of China, the former Soviet Union and the United States of America.
Among its many other initiatives, HOT supports The Children Incorporated organization, an orphanage in Guatemala, AIDS clinic in Kenya, reconciliation camp in Ireland, free clinic in Haiti, day care center in Kosovo, aid for low income children in the Third World, a school in a refugee camp in Sudan, and many more programs for children and orphans the world over.
HOT’s heart, spirit and focuses are a natural match for The Great Global Friendship Run’s purposes of spreading hope and help for the orphans and other children of the world, while breaking down walls that divide one human heart from another to foster peace, friendship and understanding.
Friendship Sports is most honored to have “Burn” Loeffke as our friend and Partner.
Josh Culbreath – A Great American Olympic Athlete, Coach, Friend
Dr. Joshua “Josh” Culbreath, the first great black intermediate hurlder, has been inducted into five Track and Field Halls of Fame and the Marine Corps Hall of Fame. Josh won the Bronze Medal in the 400 metre hurdles in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia while serving in the United States Marine Corps. It was there he became “Big Brother” for life to all-time greats, Willye B. White and Wilma Rudolf, who opened new doors for black women in sports and society. During this period he also won several military and NATO track and field medals.
Josh Culbreath set a World Record in Bendigo, Australia in 1956 and again in Oslo, Norway in 1957, with a new record of 50.0 for the 440y hurdles. Having won at the Pan-Am Games in 1955, he did a repeat performance by winning again in 1959, in addition to a silver medal in the 4×400 metres relay. During his competition career, he was never beaten by any foreign athlete except one from Africa, but only by fellow Americans.
His winning spirit continued to soar through the decades and on to this day. Even at age 55, Josh was one of only two men in his age group ever to come in under 60 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles (in Houston at Rice University) … and that was after having been paralyzed with a broken neck ten years before. This remarkable accomplishment is a further testament to Josh’s indomitable spirit, his determination and faith. He based his life on the idea of “Kismet” – you can’t stop the inevitable – and if you want something, you have to train for it. Train he did, and the results were remarkable.
Josh Culbreath followed in a van right behind another super-achiever, Stan Cottrell, for 400 miles on Stan’s Historical Freedom Run from Berlin to Moscow via Warsaw in 1990 – in celebration of the tearing down of the “Wall of Terror” between East and West Berlin. The now-sixty-nine-year-old Josh (2012) remarks on those shared times when he “saw Stan do what no one else has ever done,” and on the mindstyle “secret” he and his overcomer friend share:
“Know your limitations … but know your goals!”
Encouraging, empowering and coaching others has absorbed much of Josh Culbreath’s “post-competition” years. He is a celebrated Track and Field Coach for many collegiate, United States and international teams representing countries around the world. Remarkably, as a college coach, he won 10 National Titles and coached an Olympic gold medal winner. The Josh Culbreath Track in McPherson Stadium at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio was named in his honor.
A close friend of many black achievers in America, Josh not surprisingly appeared on his good friend, Bill Cosby’s, show as a guest star in Episode 8420-102 (Season 1): “Back To The Track, Jack” as Sanford B. “Tailwind” Turner, the only man ever to beat Cliff “Combustible” Huxtable.
Friendship Sports Association is honored and privileged to have Joshua Culbreath as our friend, partner and Honorary Co-Chairman.. and waiting to run the last mile with Stan as he completes The Great Global Friendship Run in Washington, DC! It will be a grand finale and “retirement celebration” for two great American track and field athletes, great friends and legends.