Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 47 September , 1958

September, 1958

This issue is pretty much devoted to goings on in Europe. The big meet is the European Championships in Stockholm. The most significant events were the 1500 where Brian Hewson of Great Britain blew away a good field including Olympic champion Rod Delany to win in 3:41.9. Hometown boy Dan Waern was second two tenths back, two tenths ahead of Delany.

The 100 went to Germany’s Armin Hary in 10.3. More on him later. Poland’s Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak (say that three times fast) dominated the distances, winning both the 5 and 10K in 13:53.4 and 28:56.0. Martin Lauer, on his way to a great career, dominates the hurdles in 13.7, with second a distant 14.1. A 20 year old Igor Russian, Ter-Ovaneyan, takes the first of his many major championships with a 25-7 broad jump. Countryman Vasiliy Kuznyetsov, a legitimate rival of Rafer Johnson, takes the decathlon by a whopping 536 points. Overall the competition was great, but the marks weren’t much by US standards.

The real news is that Herb Elliott is running wild in Europe. He has already run his WR 3:54.4 mile (covered in an issue I don’t have). Now the 3:38.1 1500 meter record of Stanislav Jungwirth is on the menu. It is August 28 in Goteborg, Sweden, 7:24 in the evening to be precise, when he lines up against “the greatest 1500 field in history”. Jungwirth is there. So are former mile record holder Derek Ibbotson and Dan Waern and Albie Thomas and Murray Halberg. Thomas takes the field through 56.0 (Elliott 58.0) and 1:57.5. At this point Elliott puts all doubts to rest with a 58.0 third lap. The bell is sounded at 2:42.0 and the finish line is reached 54.0 seconds later for a WR of 3:36.0. Jungwirth is second at 3:39.0 with Halberg PRing in third at 3:39.4.

Six days later in London Elliott takes on European 1500 champ, Hewson, and thumps him by 3 ½ seconds in the second fastest mile ever run, 3:55.4. Two days later the Herb Elliot Show is in Oslo, where “reportedly tired”, he outruns Halberg 3:37.4 to 3:38.8, another PR for the New Zealander.

And now back to Armin Hary. It is Sept. 6 and we are in the southern Germany town of Friedrichshafen. Hary wins the 100 in 10.3, the same time he ran in winning the European Championship. No big news there. Here is where it gets strange. Hary and the second and third placers (both 10.7) like the track so much that they request a rerun. Hey, the European champ wants another race, he’s got it. “An hour later they were sent off by starter Max Muller in what was obviously an unofficial race. Hary took the lead after 10 meters and accelerated gradually. He won by a wide margin.” The three official watches have him in 9.9, 10.0 and 10.0. The backup timers have 10.0, 10.0 and 10.1. The wind is legal. It is a new world record. Or is it? The second placer runs 10.3, two tenths faster than his best and four tenths faster than an hour ago. Hmmm. Turn to Cordner Nelson’s column on the back page and we get a different view. “Mike Agostini says that the fast gun is prevalent in Northern Europe and that all smart sprinters take advantage of the situation.”

The track is recalibrated. Yep, it is long enough, but it is downhill by 10.9 centimeters, apparently a quarter inch more than the allowable. Leamon King is still the WR holder at 10.1 with Ira Murchison waiting approval to share the record.

And now another “stumper” for the boys at the Dew Drop. Bet the next round on who can correctly name the first four minute miler. Some doof will call out Roger Bannister. Hold your ground and smugly refute his claim. The first four minute miler, the first man to run exactly four minutes – 4:00.0 – is Derek Ibbotson who runs that time Sept. 3 at White City Stadium. Apparently this was an “invitational” race that preceded Elliot’s 3:55.4 effort mentioned earlier, as specific mention is made of Britain’s Mike Blagrove becoming the second to accomplish this feat in the race Elliot won the same day. Odd, but true.

The IAAF has made some changes. Now there will be official world record status for 200 meter and 220 yard races run around a curve (on a track not larger than 440). And no more wild and crazy hammer and discus throwing. The sector for these events has been reduced from 90 to 60 degrees.

The track world is lessened by the death of Ben Ogden, the coach at Temple for 30 years. He invented the starting gate, the automatic foul check for broad jumping and the pole vault safety net.

There are differing views on the future of Herb Elliott. Cordner Nelson says that “Elliott may have turned professional by the time you read this. In fact, I am only surprised that he has not done so already. He has no regard for amateurism and little for records and championships. He does have a high regard for money, and in his position I can only approve his action.” He goes on to say, “I still believe that properly organized professional track would be a boon to amateur track.”

Page 14 has a photo taken from an elevated angle of the AAU 100. Morrow has a foot on Murchison with Willie White another two feet back. Then come five runners in a blanket finish two feet further back: Givens, Collymore, Norton, Woodhouse and Coia.

Palo Alto High’s Mike Lehner dropped his own world’s best two mile for 15 year olds to 9:48.5.

Half of page 3 is devoted to an ad, “A Message from Mal Whitfield”. You can win $100, a 30 day supply of his food supplement and copy of his booklet on how to maintain a healthier body and mind by naming his new product. There is an order form with which you can order any of his three current supplements. “Guaranteed Results or Money Back”.

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