Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 49 January , 1959



JANUARY 1959
Some issues are more interesting than others. This is one of the others. A photo of John Thomas clearing 7-0 graces the front page. Bobby Morrow runs his first indoor meet at the 12th annual Evening Star Games in DC winning the 70, 80 and 100. Not sure how the stadium fit any of those in, but it did. Of interest in this meet is the 600 where Glenn Davis’ indoor debut was a losing one in a slow time. Nick Ellis of Morgan State beat hurdlers Josh Culbreath and Davis in 1:13.8, a time a full two seconds slower that Ed Collymore’s 600s in New York and Boston. The quick answer here is that the meet was run on a “flat floor”. No photos are included so I am not certain what the surface was. I’m guessing dirt.
Lee Calhoun has returned from his one year suspension because he and his new bride accepted gifts on a TV game show. George Grenier, writing in a column entitled, Splinter Talk, tells us that, “One New York newspaper explained Lee Calhoun’s year of absence by stating that he was on a year suspension for having his marriage consummated on television. Darn it, I miss all the good afternoon programs.”
Fearless Harold Clark of South Africa made two attempts at a four minute mile, coming up short on both occasions, but certainly earning respect in the doing. On December 20 in a solo attempt in Kimberley, a city at 5000 feet elevation, he tied Gail Hodgson’s South African record of 4:04.5. Undeterred, six days later he took another shot, this time in the town of Pearl. Nature was not his friend. The temperature was 103 with the track being estimated at 130. Harold proved himself the kind of guy you would want in your foxhole by running 4:04.9.
Page 15 has a photo of the 18 year old Styron twins. Fine looking young men, undoubtedly a credit to their family, church and community. Two pages earlier there is a shot of the finish of the 1941 AAU 100 meters, showing Barney Ewell beating favorite Hal Davis in 10.3. A close third is a young Payton Jordan. I seldom get man crushes, but Payton is a really handsome guy.
Mention is made of American athletes being invited to the Kusocinski Memorial Meet in Poland. Janusz Kusocinski won the 1932 Olympic 10,000 in Los Angeles in 30:11.4, a time that amazingly as of this issue is still the American record (defined as run on US soil). Kusocinski was an underground leader in WWII who was executed by the Gestapo.
Six of the 16 pages are devoted to the world list, a collection of 50-100 names in every event. Herb Elliott has the year’s fastest 800, 1500 and mile. Double leaders are Glenn Davis, 400 and 400IH; Albie Thomas of Australia, 2 and 3 miles and Elias Gilbert, 110HH and 220LH. Fortunately the 200-220, 400-440 and 800-880 are lumped together with conversions. Of note for our purposes is the inclusion of Gail Hodgson, whose 4:04.5 ranks him 31st in the mile and Ernie Cunliffe, listed 45th in the 800 at 1:49.5.
The AAU and NCAA have adopted several IAAF rules, the most significant concerns the sin of pacing. “Pacing a runner as an aid to a record performance will mean the record will not be accepted. Any competitor who, in the opinion of the referee, has been aided by a coach, teammate or anyone else during the competition may be disqualified.”
The high school postal two mile team race is won by Palo Alto High. Their five runners average 10:03 with George Linn leading all competitors with 9:33. The first six teams are all from California which may say as much about weather as talent. The 12th and 13th best times are 10:04.9 by Archie San Romani Jr. and 10:05 by Dixon Farmer.
Page 15 has a story on the upcoming Big 10 and Big 8 indoor seasons. Although Kansas is favored to win its eighth straight championship, special note is made of the chances of the lads from Norman. “Gail Hodgson and Ernst Kleynhans will carry the distance load for Oklahoma. The Sooners will have defending sprint champ Dee Givens back, two 14 footers in Larry Neeley and Jim Clingman, and two shot put men who have bettered 55’ in practice this year in Dan Erwin and newcomer Mike Lindsay.”
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