Jerry Thompson's success as a track star began at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas and continued through college. At Wilson, he won the state mile run in 1941. While attending the University of Texas, he was the 1947 and 1948 Southwest Conference champion in the 800 yard dash, the mile, and the two-mile. In 1943 he was the NCAA two-mile champion and was selected as the outstanding athlete at the Texas and Drake Relays in 1947. Thompson, a three-time All-America in the two-mile, was a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic team in the 5,000 meter event. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.