Along with Terry Hull Crawford, Tom Chilton is perhaps one of the most
celebrated KTC athletes ever. Chilton competed for Oak Ridge High School
and was awarded a track scholarship at Tennessee Tech. After Tennessee
Tech Tom joined the KTC in the early sixties and competed on a national
level until 1978 as a sprinter and long jumper, with a lifetime best of
26 ft 8 in.
It should be noted that in the 1960s, before Nike and shoe company contracts,
nationally ranked athletes like Chilton were often sponsored by and represented
track clubs like the KTC and New York Athletic Club.
Representing the Knoxville Track Club, Chilton had the tenth best U.S.
long jump in 1967. That same year Chilton placed fourth in the 1967 AAU
National Championships. In 1968 Tom improved to the number seven U.S.
ranking - Bob Beamon was first at over 29 ft and Ralph Boston was second
that year. Chilton represented the KTC at prestigious indoor meets such
as the Millrose Games and the Mason-Dixon Games.
At the Crystal Palace in London, Chilton once defeated former Olympic
champion Lynn Davies in the long jump event and defeated former Olympic
champs Ralph Boston and Bob Beamon in other competition meets.
Between 1965 and 1972 Chilton won eleven medals in Indoor and Outdoor National
Tom Chilton was even more impressive as he continued as a Masters athlete
for KTC. At the age of 42 Chilton won the World Masters Championship long
jump in Europe, with a jump of 7.43 meters (24 ft 4 in) and was ranked
number one in the world for his age group. In a recent listing of the
All-Time World Masters athletes aged 35-40, Chilton ranked sixteenth best
in the world with a jump of 7.90 meters (25 ft 11 in) accomplished on
August 16, 1972.
On the All-Time World Masters ranking list, his March 24, 1978 jump of
7.43 meters (24 ft 4 in) is ranked fifth best ever of athletes over age
40. His mark of 7.43 is also second best ever for U.S. athletes age 40-44
behind only Aaron Sampson who jumped 7.68 in 2002.
Chilton was elected into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and
also elected into the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Tom was employed for 43 years as a professor and an administrator for the
University of South Alabama in Mobile and still continues with that University
on a part time basis.