Mural pays tribute to war veteran Segundo Barrio who represented the United States at the Olympics

A new mural at Guillen Middle School pays homage to El Paso’s first Olympian, Javier Montez.

Montez was a Korean War veteran and a former track star at Bowie High School and Texas Western College. He represented the United States at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

In honor of Montez and his accomplishments, a mural by El Paso artist Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado was unveiled on Tuesday at the athletic field that bears Montez’s name at Guillen Middle School, 900 S Cotton St.

Montez grew up in the Segundo Barrio neighborhood of South El Paso and ran to Bowie High School. He was named to the El Paso Times All Star-Team in 1948, the year he graduated.

Students at Guillen Middle School take photos in front of a mural of Javier Montez, a former Bowie High School athletics star who represented the United States at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. The mural was created by artist from El Paso Jesus "Cimi" Alvarado.

Montez won the Texas State Championship in record time and went on to attend Texas Western College, which is now the University of Texas at El Paso. He was the first UTEP graduate to participate in the Olympics.

While in college, he set records in the mile run at the Texas Relays, the NAIA and the Border Conference, where he won three titles in 1952: in the 800, mile and 2 mile run. . This allowed him to participate in the biggest sports competition in the world.

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A good performance at the 1952 Olympic Trials earned him a spot on the US Olympic team for the Helsinki Games later that year, where he ran the 1,500-meter race. He reached the semi-finals.

Maintenance workers at Guillen Middle School prepare to anchor a mural of Javier Montez, a former athletics star at Bowie High School who represented the United States at the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland , in 1952. The mural was created by the artist from El Paso Jesus "Cimi" Alvarado.

His personal best time in 1952 for the 1,500-meter race was three minutes, 51.1 seconds.

Javier Montez served in the army

Montez then served as an army platoon leader during the Korean War, obtaining the rank of first lieutenant. He received an electrical engineering degree from Texas Western and an MA from New Mexico State University. He was also an administrator of the El Paso Independent School District from 1970 to 1982.

Montez, who died on December 6, 2003, a day after his 74th birthday, is buried in Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

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Researcher Trish Long contributed to this report.

Cristina Carreon can be reached at [email protected] and @ Cris_carreon90 on Twitter.

Javier Montez, left, appears in a 1976 archive photo holding the Olympic jacket he wore in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland.

About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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