Book cover of Wings of an Eagle: The Gold Medal Dreams of Billy Mills

Wings of an Eagle: The Gold Medal Dreams of Billy Mills



Publisher & Publication Year

Little, Brown BYR, 2024

Publisher's Book Page


Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota) and Donna Janell Bowman

Author's Website 


S.D. Nelson (Lakota, enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe)



Billy Mills was once an orphan on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation. But before his father was called to the ancestors, he told Billy how to conquer his suffering: You have broken wings, son. You have to dig deeper, below the anger, the hurt, the self-pity. The pursuit of a dream will heal you. Despite poverty, racism, and severe health challenges, Billy raced toward his goal of becoming an Olympic athlete, inspired by his indigenous ancestors who stood strong when the odds were against them. Though at times he felt like his wings were clipped—a lone bird falling from the sky—he adapted and overcame, finally earning his place at the 1964 Olympics.

Notable Achievements


Educator Guide

Link to Guide

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