Thursday, July 7, 2016

V 6 N. 48 June, 1966

  This may not be perfect, but it is the best a couple of C students could do.  Steve was a big help with over a dozen corrections.

JUNE 1966

    Records? You want records? We got 'em. We have world records. We have American records. Looking for something more economical? We can give you a good deal on a junior college record guaranteed to last decades. Step right this way.





    The date is May 28. The place: Modesto Junior College. The meet: the California Relays. Unusually cold windy weather has hampered the performance of an exceptional field assembled by meet director Tom Moore. Despite this handicap, the chilled crowd of 10,000 witnesses a world record. The dull-gold clad sprinters from Southern University overcome the weather and tight turns (look at the track on Google Maps) to clip a tenth from Stanford's 440 relay world record. Harvey Nairn, Grundy Harris, Webster Johnson and George Anderson combine to hold off Texas Southern, a Tommie Smith anchored San Jose State, New Mexico and Stanford in 39.6.
This is the 1965 Southern U. relay squad. with Theron Lewis on left then Webster Johnson, R. Johnson, unidentified, and Grundy Harris.  Was the fifth man their secret weapon?


    The Jaguars take aim at the 880 relay, but conditions hold them to 1:23.0, four tenths off the WR. They also scrape together a foursome that wins the mile relay in 3:10.8 with Theron Lewis anchoring in 45.8
    The 440 brings fans to their feet as Tommie Smith lays back behind Jim Kemp and AAU champ Ollan Cassell until the final straight before powering by to win easily in 45.7.
Gaston Roelants
Belgium's Olympic steeplechase champion, Gaston Roelants, opens up twenty yards in the middle of the two mile but Tracy Smith is not to be denied. He finishes with a 2:05.4 final half mile to win in 8:34.4.
Tracy Smith 398 following Pre at the 1972 OTs.
Gerry Lindgen in stripes, Cliff Clark #301, Dick Burkele 6th.
Final positions for these men  Prefontaine 1st 13:22.8 AR, Smith 5th 13:44.8, Buerkele 8th 13:57.2, Clark 9th 13:58.6, Lindgren 12th 14:17.2
(Sorry but this photo is six years later than the current posting.  Not many racing pictures of Tracy Smith online.)
    The best match up of the day is in the discus where three time Olympic champion Al Oerter tangles with the man who took his world record, Czechoslovakia's Ludvik Danek. Danek threw 211-9¼ on the day in 1964 when he became the record holder. He upped that mark to 213-11½ last year.
Al Oerter


    On the other hand, Oerter has proven he can meet a challenge as measured by the '56, '60 and '64 Olympic gold medals in his sock drawer. He says he is “so strong it scares me” but that he is “a year away” in technique.
When the dust settles, Oerter has thrown a PR of 207-5 to top the 205-9 of the great Czech. In third place with 201-1 is Rink Babka. Wait a minute, didn't that guy retire? Well, yes, but golf didn't cut it for the Rinkster, so a couple weeks ago he picked up a discus and apparently it's like riding a bicycle, you never forget.
    The quality of this competition is such that the third through twelfth place finishers all have the best-ever marks for that particular place.
Ever hear of a meet where the athletes had to pay to get in? No? Well, this story will put a smile on your face. Oregon long jumper Bob Woodell has been severely injured while helping fraternity brothers build a float for a celebration. He is paralyzed from  the waist down and will be residing in the hospital for the foreseeable future. There will be medical bills to pay.
Bob Woodell


Early Days of Nike,  Woodell in foreground
behind  Phil Knight, Joanna Ceciliani, Geoff Hollister
His coach, Bill Bowerman, puts on benefit meet to help defray those costs.  A lot more can be learned about Bob Woodell who went on to executive positions including President and member of board of directors  in Blue Ribbon Sports (later Nike) in this article  in The Oregonian about one of his friends and colleagues Jack Joyce who passed away in 2014. He also was cofounder of Rogue Ales, and director of the Port of Portland during his career.   Blue Ribbon/Nike must have been a stressful place in the 1980s as a number of their execs went to their great reward at a relatively young age.     Bob Woodell/Jack Joyce

    On Thursday night, June 2, 8000 fans and 22 athletes each pay a dollar to enter Hayward Field. There are only six events, but they are dandies. All four shot putters have PRs, the most significant of which is the 67-0¾ effort by Neil Steinhauer. Oregon Stater Lahcen Samsam Akka of Morocco joins the 60 foot club by 2¼ inches.  
Lahcen Samsam Akka


more recent photo of Samsam Akka on left
SamSam Akka would go on with his studies in the US earning a doctorate at Berkeley and returning to Morocco to become very involved in Moroccan track and field.  He was Director of the World Cross Country Championships when they were held in Marrakech in 1998 and the World Junior Track and Field Championships in 2005.  He served as national technical director of track and field for many years.  He threw in two olympics, 1964 and 1972 when he reached the finals in the shot put finishing 15th with a throw of 19.11 meters.  His PR was 20.45 in 1972.  

Mike Lehner has resumed training only six weeks ago but steeplechases 8:46.4, the fastest time in the country this year.
    The feature one mile race does not disappoint. Alumnus Dyrol Burleson excites the crowd with a the fastest mile ever run at Hayward Field, 3:57.3. He is followed by Ducks Roscoe Devine at 3:59.1 and Wade Bell, under four for the first time at 3:59.8, making him the NCAA favorite. Devine will not be competing as he is a freshman and therefore not eligible for that competition.
Roscoe Divine


Wade Bell
    Bob Woodell watches the meet from an ambulance stretcher in the infield. 
Although not originally named, this is the first of the Oregon Twilight Meets which continue today.
Here's those Oregon boys today

    The following Saturday in the NAIA meet, Theron Lewis blazes a 45.2 quarter to move to a second place tie on the all time 400-440 list with Otis Davis, Carl Kauffman and Mike Larrabee. Only WR holder,Adolph Plummer, 44.9y, is not affected.

    The even bigger news comes this evening in the Compton Invitational held in the Los Angeles Coliseum. The future of US track and field is evident in the performances of Jim Ryun and Gerry Lindgren. Ryun has just turned 19 but tonight he is wearing his big boy pants as he lines up for the mile. George Young and Neill Duggan are supposed to lead him through the 1320 in2:56 at which point it will be Ryun alone in his effort to top Michel Jazy's 3:53.6 world record.

    The pace is slower than planned, leaving the Kansas freshman at 2:58.5 with a lap to go and no chance for the record. Well, wait a minute, apparently no one has told Ryun his task is impossible. Jim Grelle is within a yard with 330 to go, but from then it is Ryun against the clock. With 220 to go he is at 3:27.3. The 1500 is passed at 3:39.3. His acceleration is unlike anything seen in a quality mile. The last 220 is covered in a stunning 26.4. His time, 3:53.7, so agonizingly close to the record, gives promise for the future. Grelle is second at 3:56.0. Duggan, the 25 year old Englishman wearing the colors of Hancock College, is third in 3:59.1, a junior college record.

    Twenty year old Gerry Lindgren also has a goal this evening, Bob Schul's 5000 meter record of 13:38.0. Tracy Smith and Ron Larrieu challenge briefly in the second mile but from then on Lindgren has no help. Does he get the record? Yes. Does he break the record? No. He equals it and now shares the record with the esteemed 1964 Olympic champion. He misses by 1/5 of a second, the margin by which distances longer than a mile are measured at the time. Smith and Larrieu follow in 13:45.6 and 13:56.2. The fourth place finisher deserves a mention. He is 18 year old Rick Reilly who runs the second fastest 3 mile/5000 in high school history, 13:35.6 and 14:00.2. The only faster high school runner? That would be Gerry Lindgren. Talk about difficulty gaining prestige, Rick isn't even the fastest in his city as both he and Lindgren are from Spokane, Washington.

    As weeks tend to do, one passes and we are in Terre Haute, Indiana for the USTFF national championship where Jim Ryun is just keeping busy while waiting for the AAU nationals. Although the new Grasstex track at Indiana State is fast, Ryun. has run a 1:50.9 qualifying heat two hours earlier before lining up for the 880 final. As he will run a mile heat and final and a 440 relay leg tomorrow, nothing earthshaking is expected. Ohio's John Tillman leads through a 52.9 quarter with Ryun at 53.3. No great excitement from the crowd of a thousand. But then Ryun comes alive. He leaves a good field – Tom Von Ruden, Lowell Paul, Charlie Christmas – in his wake with a 26.1 third 220 and now it is on. His margin grows to 25 yards as he comes home in 25.5. His final lap of 51.6 gives him a time of 1:44.9 and Peter Snell's world record by two tenths.

880 WR Terre Haute, IN  
Here is the link to our earlier showing of this race and an interview with Ryun about that race.

    This is his first world record and third American record (880, mile -3:53.7, 2 mile – 8:25.2). Although soundly beaten, Von Ruden (1:47.9), Paul (1:48.0), Christmas (1:48.4) and Tillman (1:49.4) all run PRs.

    Making this achievement even more remarkable are the facts that this is only his seventh open half mile, his previous best was 1:50.3, the oddity of a negative split in a high quality 880 and the fact that just three years ago he was doing a paper route.
The next day he wins the mile in 4:02.8 and runs a relay leg of 47.8. Let's keep an eye on this kid. He may amount to something.
    Jim Ryun is certainly the focus of the weekend, but there are other meets of significance, specifically a couple in California. The San Diego Invitational has an intriguing 5000 field. The great Ron Clarke is joined by fellow Australian Tony Clarke in competition with Tracy Smith, Billy Mills, George Young and steeplechase world record holder Gaston Roelants of Belgium.

    Although everyone but Young takes a turn leading, they are still tightly packed with 600 yards to go. At this point Young, a strong finisher, goes to the afterburners. Surprisingly Clarke, not a great finisher, matches him as they pull away. Young's top end speed provides a 56.9 finish and a 13:40.2 to 13:40.6 victory over the world record holder. Smith is third in 13:42.2, followed by Mills, (13:44.8), Roelants, (13:46.8) and Cooke, (13:49.2). Although not winning, Clarke and Mills are pleased with their performances. Clarke had arrived from Australia only 22 hours earlier and didn't think he would run this fast. Sharing self doubt was Mills who had just resumed training in April after a five month layoff.

    The mile matches the 5000 for excitement. Mike Eck tows the field through 58.1 and 1:59.2 splits before Neill Duggan takes over, passing the 1320 in 3:00.0. Jim Grelle has been waiting to make his move. It comes on the backstretch and leaves no doubt. 

David Bailey's first sub 4   for an insider's view of this race

The ex-Oregon great hits the tape in 3:55.4 to tie his PR set last year. Duggan improves his junior college record by three seconds, finishing in 3:56.1. Dave Bailey sets a Canadian record of 3:59.1 but is barely noticed because the fourth place finisher is 18 year old Tim Danielson from the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista who becomes the second high school runner to break four minutes with a 3:59.4 clocking.
Happier days, Jim Ryun, Tim Danielson, Marty Liquori, Alan Webb
at the time the only high school sub four minute milers.


Tim Danielson's life has certainly taken a turn for the worse with his spending the
next fifty years to life in the California Correctional System for the murder of his ex-wife.
The Danielson Trial  from an earlier posting



Ron Larrieu, making a rare mile appearance, is fifth in 4:03.6, a PR, making this the 15th consecutive year he has improved in at least one event. Rick Reilly's sixth place 4:04.7 moves him to number five on the high school list. Except for Grelle, every runner establishes a personal best.

    There is some magical sprinting going on 500 miles north in Sacramento's venerable Hughes Stadium where the Sacramento Invitational is held. When the gun goes off in the 220 the world record is 20.2 by Olympic champion Henry Carr. Exactly twenty seconds later it belongs to Tommie Smith. The San Jose State sophomore is out behind San Jose City College's Lee Evans,
Tommie Smith

Smith and Evans racing at a later date, result same.
but by the time he reaches the straight, he has a four yard advantage which he doubles by the tape. Evans is timed in 21.0. Pretty sure Lee didn't go home disappointed, as he shaved a tenth off his JC 440 record with a 46.1 earlier.

    Bits and pieces gathered from here and there. Jim Beatty has won nomination for Democratic candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives. His slogan: “Let Jim Beatty run for you”. Honest.....Rex Cawley and Blaine Lindgren have retired....Cornell isn't mentioned much in T&FN, but there are two references in this issue. Two time Olympic champion Glenn Davis has been promoted from assistant to head coach at the Ithaca, NY school. 1952 Olympic broad jump silver medalist Meredith Gourdine, a Cornell grad, is a pretty bright guy. Not only does he have a PhD from Cal Tech, his company, Gourdine Laboratories, has been awarded a $685,000 grant from the Dept. of the Interior to conduct further research on a “novel generator”......Tom Moore ran 14.2 to tie the world record in the high hurdles in 1935. For 67 years he was the heart and soul of the California Relays, serving as the meet director, promoter and starter. In the initial meet in 1942, he started all but one race. What race was that and why? Answer below...
Tom Moore 
Publisher Cordner Nelson takes on the theory that the sitter has the advantage in a mile race. He has examined 89 mile and 1500 races since Bannister broke the four minute barrier and discovered that the leader in the home stretch wins 82% of the time, the leader going into the last curve wins 72% of the time and the leader with a lap to go wins 46% of the time. Take that for what you will.....Cordner has doped out the NCAA meet with UCLA winning easily with 69 points to San Jose's 44, Washington State's 32, Oregon's 31, Nebraska's 28 and USC's 22. That is unless Texas Southern can afford to travel to the meet. In which case, he would rate them a toss up with UCLA....Information we could probably do without: Rick Riley breakfasts on oatmeal with a dash of wheat germ every morning. He is also the vice-president of the student body at Ferris High and president of the Boys Federation.....The race Tom Moore didn't start was the high hurdles which he won.....
Tom Moore in the red shirt
And, yes, half a century later, Neill Duggan's 3:56.1 is still the fastest ever run by a junior college miler.

    We will meet Friday at 5:00 at the Dew Drop Inn as usual. Feel free to embellish the stories of your track achievements back in the day. As the line goes, “The older I get, the better I was.” Most of us competed so long ago that our times and distances can't be traced. Feel free to be creative.


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