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Bob Schul, the only American runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, dies at 86

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Bob Schul, the only American runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, dies at 86
News

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Bob Schul, the only American runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, dies at 86

2024-06-18 23:35 Last Updated At:23:40

Bob Schul, the only American distance runner to win gold in the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, has died. He was 86.

His death on Sunday was announced by Miami University in Ohio, where Schul shined on the track and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1973. No cause of death was given.

Schul predicted gold leading into the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and followed through with his promise. On a rainy day in Japan, he finished the final lap in a blistering 54.8 seconds to sprint to the win. His white shorts were covered in mud at the finish.

Schul was following the gold-medal lead of teammate Billy Mills, who won the 10,000 meters at the Tokyo Games.

The path of Schul to Olympic glory was almost an unexpected one. He suffered from an asthmatic condition as a kid and joined Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as a walk-on. Schul served in the Air Force before focusing on running under the guidance of coach Mihaly Igloi.

Schul set what was then an American record in the 5,000 meters in 1964 with a time of 13 minutes, 38 seconds. He held a total of five American and NCAA marks in the two-mile, three-mile and 5,000 events.

He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1991. He also helped write a book called “In the Long Run.”

AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

FILE - Bob Schul of West Milton, Ohio, hits the tape to win the 5,000 meter run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo Oct. 18, 1964. Schul, the only American distance runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, has died. He was 86. His death on Sunday, June 16, 2024, was announced by Miami University in Ohio, where Schul shined on the track and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1973. (AP Photo)

FILE - Bob Schul of West Milton, Ohio, hits the tape to win the 5,000 meter run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo Oct. 18, 1964. Schul, the only American distance runner to win the 5,000 meters at the Olympics, has died. He was 86. His death on Sunday, June 16, 2024, was announced by Miami University in Ohio, where Schul shined on the track and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1973. (AP Photo)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israel on Saturday said it tried to assassinate Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of the Hamas group 's military wing who has long topped the country's most-wanted list.

The strike took place in an Israeli-declared humanitarian zone in southern Gaza, killing at least 90 Palestinians and wounding nearly 300 more, according to local health officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was “still not absolutely certain” whether Deif and another target of the strike, Rafa Salama, were killed. He also told a news conference that Hamas' entire leadership is marked for death.

Here is a closer look at Hamas' elusive military leader and what his death could mean for the trajectory of the war.

Deif was among the founders of Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, in the 1990s and has led the unit for over 20 years. Israel has identified him and Hamas' Gaza leader, Yahya Sinwar, as the chief architects of the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel and triggered the Israel-Hamas war.

For years, Deif has topped Israel’s most-wanted list. He is believed to be paralyzed after surviving multiple Israeli assassination attempts. He has not been seen in public in years, and only a handful of photos of him exist online. On the morning of Oct. 7, Hamas issued a rare voice recording of Deif announcing the “Al Aqsa Flood" operation.

Deif, like Sinwar, was born in the refugee camp of the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis in the early 1960s and was believed to have joined Hamas shortly after the formation of the Islamist Palestinian group in the late 1980s.

In 1989, during the height of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, Deif was arrested by Israel but later released.

Deif was promoted to head of the Qassam Brigades in 2002 after his predecessor was killed by Israel. He is thought to have helped expand Hamas’ labyrinth of tunnels that run beneath Gaza, and is held responsible by Israel for plotting attacks that killed scores of Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings.

Deif is so elusive that even his appearance and well being are points of speculation: Some media reports say he has used a wheelchair for years following injuries he sustained during past assassination attempts, while others report he is able to walk unassisted. His name, Deif, means the “the guest” in Arabic, an attribution purportedly reflecting his tendency to change locations frequently to hide from Israel.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced in May that he was seeking the arrests of Deif and Sinwar and Hamas' exiled supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh. The prosecutor, Karim Khan, said he is also seeking the arrests of Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The killing of Deif would mark the highest profile assassination of any Hamas leader by Israel since the war began, signifying both a huge victory for Israel and a deep psychological blow for the militant group.

At a news conference Saturday night, Netanyahu said all of Hamas' leaders are “marked for death.” He said that stepping up the pressure on the group by killing its leaders would move Hamas closer to accepting a cease-fire deal.

Killing Deif could also help push Netanyahu closer to a deal. The Israeli leader has said he will not end the war until Israel achieves its war goals, which include destroying Hamas' military capabilities.

But killing Deif could also throw the ongoing cease-fire talks, which appeared to have made tentative progress in recent weeks, into disarray and would likely widen the gap between Hamas and Israeli delegations in Cairo.

“For the Israelis, it may give them the victory narrative they’ve desperately been chasing for nine months,” said Khaled el-Gindy, an analyst specializing in Palestinian affairs with the Washington-based Middle East Institute.

But el-Gindy believes it will harden Hamas' position, too.

"Accepting a cease-fire in that context would seem like a surrender,” he said.

Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

FILE - This image taken from video and released by the militant group Hamas on Aug. 26, 2005, shows a man identified as Mohammed Deif. An Israeli attack on the south of the Gaza Strip on Saturday July 13, 2024, killed 71 people and injured scores, the Health Ministry in Gaza said, while an Israeli official said it targeted the head of Hamas' military wing. The Israeli official identified the target of the strike in Khan Younis as Mohammed Deif, believed by many to be the chief architect of the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel and triggered the Israel-Hamas war. (AP Photo/File)

FILE - This image taken from video and released by the militant group Hamas on Aug. 26, 2005, shows a man identified as Mohammed Deif. An Israeli attack on the south of the Gaza Strip on Saturday July 13, 2024, killed 71 people and injured scores, the Health Ministry in Gaza said, while an Israeli official said it targeted the head of Hamas' military wing. The Israeli official identified the target of the strike in Khan Younis as Mohammed Deif, believed by many to be the chief architect of the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel and triggered the Israel-Hamas war. (AP Photo/File)

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