Race To Freedom

As a kid growing up in a tough California town in the 1920s and 1930s, Louis Zamperini was a troublemaker. He hopped freight trains, skipped school and fled from the police more than once.

But then he discovered that he was a world-class runner. In 1936, he ran in the Berlin Olympics. Then his life took an incredible turn.

In "Race To Freedom," 48 Hours Adventures tells the story of Zamperini and of his dogged will to survive all kinds of mental and physical obstacles. Bob Simon reports, from all over the world.

  • The Torrance Tornado: As a high schooler in Torrance, Calif., Zamperini set a new world record for the high school mile. An Olympian at 19, he expected to get much better. Then World War II got in the way.
  • Alone and Adrift: Serving as a Air Force lieutenant, Zamperini crashed into the Pacific. With two other soldiers, he spent 47 days drifting in a life raft - dodging sharks and machine gun attacks and staving off thirst. When he finally found land, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese and subjected to harsh treatment.
  • Finally, The Ordeal Is Over: With the end of the war, Zamperini returned home to an ecstatic family. But his troubles weren't over. Could he conquer this next difficulty?
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Produced By David Kohn;