When Louie found out his house key worked on his school gym, he and a few friends decided to start sneaking into games. The principal, police, and his parents were at their breaking point. Louie's punishment? No school sports his freshman year in high school. Louie nearly laughed - he never did anything like that anyway! His older brother Pete, a star-miler, urged Louie to begin running for sport. With Pete as his coach and mentor, Louie broke records no one thought he would. He set a world interscholastic record in 1934, running a mile in 4 minutes and 21 seconds. His next goal? The 5000 meters in the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
Louie qualified for the Olympics by tying with word-record holder Don Lash. At 19 years of age, he was the youngest US qualifier ever in the 5000 meters.
Although he finished eighth at the Olympics, his last lap was enough to catch the eye and earn a compliment from Adolf Hitler. "You're the boy with the fast finish." was all Hitler said when he met Louie.
In 1941, Louie enlisted in the US Air Force and became a Second Lieutenant. On a rescue mission in May 1943, Louie and his crew crashed in the Pacific Ocean.
There were only three survivors from the crew of ten - Louie, pilot Russel Allen "Phil" Phillips, and tail gunner Francis "Mac" McNamara. On two rafts, they had six bars of special chocolate and eight half-pints of water. The chocolate bars, packed with vitamins, minerals and protein, were meant to last a week, taking only one bar each day. Optimistically, Louie figured it wouldn't matter because a search-and-rescue would