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In 1948, in Tulare, California, Bob Mathias, a seventeen-year-old high school student and star athlete, is persuaded by his coach to try out for the Olympic Games. He will attempt to qualify for the grueling decathlon event which is comprised of the the 100, 400 and 1,500 meters races, the broad jump, the 16lb. shot put, the high jump, the 110 meters high hurdles, the javelin, the pole vault and the discus. Although Bob's parents, Dr. Charles and Lillian Mathias, are concerned that he might not have the necessary stamina due to an earlier bout of anemia, eventually they and his sweetheart, Melba, give him their total encouragement. Although he has only a month to prepare, Bob competes in the trials at Bloomfield, New Jersey and is selected to be a member of the U.S. team for the Summer Games in London, England. Bob's parents accompany him to London and proudly see him win the event and the Gold Medal. Bob receives a congratulatory letter from President Harry S. Truman and "Welcome Home" parades in San Francisco and Tulare. Bob had wanted to study at Stanford University to become a doctor, like his father, but Stanford rejects his application for lack of sufficient units. His parents then enroll him in Kiski Preparatory School in Pennsylvania. Although Melba says she will wait for him, Bob tells her that he does not want to go steady anymore and they break up. In subsequent months, Bob breaks more athletic records and enters Stanford. Anticipating the 1952 Olympics, Bob goes out for the Stanford football team and becomes a star player. One day, on campus, Bob and Melba literally bump into each other and eventually resume their courtship. Later, Bob decides not to compete in the Olympics and discusses marriage with Melba. However, Coach Jackson tells him that the Russians will be competing for the first time at the Helsinki Games and that he feels Bob can win the decathlon for a second time. After local citizens and children also campaign for him to go to Helsinki, Bob participates and again wins the Gold Medal. After winning, Bob phones Melba and tells her they are going to marry immediately.