San Jose State Olympian Lee Evans fights for life in Nigeria
Lee Evans, two-time Olympic gold medalist and member of San Jose State’s famous “Speed City” runners, suffered a stroke last week and is unconscious in a Nigerian hospital.
Solofo Evans said a specialist is expected to check his father’s condition on Monday to see if Evans, 74, can be transported to the United States for further treatment.
Solofo Evans said on Sunday the family were working with the US Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, to get clearance if Lee Evans can be transported safely.
“Medically he’s not in a good position,” said Solofo Evans.
According to Segun Odegbami, a former great Nigerian footballer, Evans collapsed last week while dining with him and other friends. Odegbami said Evans had blood clots in his brain.
Evans is an assistant track coach at Odegbami International College and Sports Academy and has spent many years coaching African teams.
“We want Lee to receive the best care,” said Ron Freeman, a 1968 Olympic teammate, who also works in Africa.
Freeman said Odegbami allowed Evens to be treated in a hospital.
“Segun is a blessing to Lee’s family,” Freeman said.
Evans, a graduate of Overfelt High School in San Jose, was the first person to break 44 seconds in the 400-meter winning the race at the Olympic Games in Mexico City with a time of 43.86 seconds.
Evans also anchored the 1,600 relay team to a world record of 2 minutes 56.16 seconds. The two world records lasted almost two decades. Evans, a member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, wore a beret with his relay teammates during the medal ceremony in honor of the Black Panther Party. The protest did not elicit the same reaction as when fellow San Jose state runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black gloves during the 200-meter medal ceremony.
In 2011, Evans underwent surgery to remove a large tumor in the pituitary gland area of his brain while visiting his sister in the Bay Area.
Evans began working for the United Nations in Africa after resigning from his post as a track and field and cross country coach at the University of South Alabama in 2008.