Jamaican Olympian, ASU star Spence dies at 76

Former Arizona State star Melville “Mel” Spence, one of the pioneers of Jamaica’s track and field tradition, has died in Florida at age 76.

Spence was an All-American at ASU in the 800-yard run in 1959 and a three-time Olympian for Jamaica. He competed at ASU alongside his twin brother Malcolm “Mal” Spence. The brothers ran together on three Border Conference champion 4×400 relay teams.

Spence represented the British colony of Jamaica in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the West Indies Federation at the 1960 Rome Olympics and newly independent nation of Jamaica at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

He became the second Olympic medalist in ASU history, earning a bronze for the West Indies Federation at the 1960 games as part of the 4×400-meter relay team.
Malcolm would go on to write a book detailing he and his brother’s history titled “The Lives and Times of Mal and Mel”, which was released in 2011.

“Today’s generation of athletes and sporting professionals can take inspiration from Melville’s success and humility,” Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said. “On behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, I express our deep sympathies to his family and ask the God’s comforting hand on them during this period of bereavement.”