Aug. 5, 2014
Former University of Cincinnati track & field standouts Lewis Johnson and Mary Wineberg were inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Running Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 at the Original Montgomery Inn.
Johnson was a middle-distance runner for the Bearcats from 1985-87. After concentrating on the 400 his first two seasons, he decided to switch to the 800, realizing that he had more endurance than most other sprinters and more speed than most half-milers. The switch catapulted him into the UC record book in in five running events. By the end of the 1987 season, Johnson held the UC records for: the indoor 500-meter run (1:02.68), indoor 1,000-meter run (2:22.64), outdoor 800-meter run (1:47.00), sprint medley (3:16.44) and 4x400-meter relay (3:09.93). All marks but the 4x400 still stand 27 years later. His 800 time was run at the NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge, where he placed eighth and earned First-Team All-America honors.
His running career continued after college as he ventured to Europe to compete against the top athletes in the world. Johnson joined the Santa Monica Track Club and trained with American record holder, Johnny Gray, which helped him qualify for the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Trials.
In 1995, he retired from running and pursued a career in television announcing, which helped him earn the honor of Best Sideline Reporter for 2012 by Sports Illustrated. Johnson has worked at eight Olympic Games as a broadcaster with his expertise being track & field, but he has also served as the bobsled, luge and skeleton reporter for four Winter Olympics. He has also broadcasted the NBA All-Star Game, NBA Finals, NCAA March Madness, Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and Notre Dame football games.
Johnson was inducted into the UC James P. Kelly Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.
Wineberg competed as a 400-meter runner for the Bearcats from 1999-2002. During her time at UC, she set both the indoor and outdoor 400-meter dash records.
Following her college career, she pursued a professional running career and grabbed her first international medal in 2002 with a bronze medal at the IAAF Outdoor World Championships. 2007 served as her breakthrough year as she won the Millrose Games, was the Osaka Grand Prix Champion and placed third at the USA Nationals against a field of Olympic medalists and national champions. At the 2007 World Championships, Wineberg placed eighth in the 400-meter dash and ran third on the winning USA 4x400-meter relay that ran 3:18.54, the fastest time run in the world since 1993 and currently 13th on the all-time world list.
Wineberg charged forward into 2008 and the Beijing Olympic Games as she qualified for the 400-meter dash and ran on the 4x400-meter relay. After narrowly missing the finals in the 400-meter dash and placing 13th, she led off the 4x400-meter relay that claimed gold with the 14th fastest time in world history.
Over her career, Wineberg placed top-three five times at the Indoor US Nationals, was ranked top-ten in the UC for six separate years, ran 50-point 15 times and 51 seconds or raster over a 10-year span.
Wineberg was inducted into the UC James P. Kelly Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
Joining Johnson and Wineberg in the Class of 2014 were Tom Jones, Larry Merkel of St. Xavier, and Steve Padgett of La Salle High School and Miami University.