Louis Zamperini was born Jan. 26, 1917. He was often in trouble with the law until it was suggested to him he use his speed in sport rather than in crime. He went on to qualify for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and was America's top finisher in the 5000 meter run. After the Olympics, he competed on many teams at the University of Southern Carolina.
After retiring from running, Zamperini joined the U.S. Air Corps as a bombardier during World War II. In 1943, his aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean. After surviving for 47 days with a crewmate, the two were captured by the Japanese and sent to various prisoner of war camps. Zamperini survived, and returned to California after the war ended.
After the war had ended, Zamperini met Billy Graham, an evangelist, who helped him to get his life back on track. He then became a missionary in Japan, preaching the gospel and forgiveness.
Louis Zamperini is the subject of two biographies, "Devil At My Heels" (Billy Graham, 2003) and "Unbroken" (Laura Hillenbrand, 2010), and 2014 film, "Unbroken."Learn more about World War 2