Wednesday, November 20, 2019

V 9 N. 46 One of Jesse Owens' Gold Medals on the Auction Block

Jesse Owens' Gold Medal Auction  (clik here for bidding info and picture of the medal)

Just in time for Christmas.   is offering one of Jesse Owens' four gold medals.
Minimum bid is  $250,000.00.   The info states that Owens gave this medal to a life long friend
John Terpak. 

Terpak was a two time Olympian in weightlifting 1936 and 1948.  Finished out of the medals both times, but somewhere in his life became good friends with Owens.   Terpak was an executive vice president of the York Barbell Corporation.  Thanks to Dave Elger for this story.

John Terpak

V 9 N. 45 Passing of Two Former Olympians and Other News

November 20, 2019

I am in a desk clearing mode at the moment with many things to be related in bits and pieces and also in need of giving recognition to the passing of two former Olympians, one British and one American who are not household names, yet deserve respect for their achievements on the sports field.  The British gentleman is Gerry Carr (not Jerry Tarr)  and the American is Paul Winder.

My friend Geoff Williams in Victoria, BC brought the first notice to my attention.  Mr. Carr was a thrower of things, implements of wood and metal, not the events for which Great Britain is best known.   I take that back as  PM  Boris Johnson  occasionally throws a public tantrum and others in that hallowed chamber are known to throw mud and and invective across the floor , sometimes scoring a hit but more often missing the point.  I will not bring in the other English speaking governing bodies in the Western Hemisphere at this time, as I am growing quite weary from following their antics.


Paul Winder

Paul Winder was the alternate on the 1960 US 4x100 relay team which I'm sure most of you still remember as being disqualified after finishing first in the finals due to an out of zone exchange between Ray Norton and Frank Budd.  He got to travel all the way to Rome and watch those events from the sidelines.  He missed the chagrin of that race and probably was glad not to be associated too closely with that very low point of US sprinting history.  Indeed it was probably the beginning of a long series of colossal losses in that event, interspersed with short bursts of brilliance.

Paul is remembered by his alma mater Morgan State University in Maryland in this passage from their Hall of Fame Page.

Paul was born in Atlantic City, N.J. He attended Pleasantville High School and was such a stand-out he was one of the highest recruited track prospects in the country. He chose to come to Morgan in 1957.

Upon entering Morgan he immediately became recognized as Morgan's greatest track performer since Olympian George Rhoden. Among his accomplishments are an N.C.A.A. outdoor championship in the 100-meters, a 1959 National A.A.U. indoor-outdoor world record (6.1 sec.) in the 60-yard dash, an NAIA champion in 1959 in the 100-yards, an ICAA 100-meter champion in 1960. Paul was also a member of the 1960 400-meter Olympic relay team. He also captained the track team while at Morgan.

Paul was a member of the R.O.T.C. as a Morgan man and entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a first lieutenant. During his military stint (1962-65), he was all-Marine track and field in the 100- and 200-meters and also the mile relay.

One of Paul's greatest thrills was having his Pleasantville High School name its track for him and the establishment of the "Paul Winder Sportsmanship Award". 

Here is what Geoff included on Gerry Carr.

Hi George.  I check the local obits daily to see if I am in there and base my days activities on the results.  As a consequence I get to recognise some names.  Today it was Dr. Gerry Carr age 83 –a University of Victoria PE Professor.  The name struck a bell so I read the whole thing and lo and behold he represented UK in the 1956 Olympics in discus ( not a strong event for us).  I had seen him on occasions in the 50s as ( until Mark Pharaoh- 4th in Olympics) he was UKs best, Carr was 10th at Melbourne.  Little on line about him but he may be known to some of your older correspondents.  Thought you might be interested.  He also represented England in the Commonwealth Games earning a bronze medal in the discus.
One anecdote that came my was was that Carr was practicing the discus in California and several football players came by the field that day and joined in and promptly started throwing futher than Mr. Carr.   

Other News

Mike Holloway
, the Head Coach at the University of Florida has turned that program into an incredible powerhouse and recognized for his good works has been named the Head Coach for the 2020 United States Olympic Team going to Tokyo.  This is considered a highly merited honor by all involved in the sport.

One bit of bad news for Mike this week however is that one of his top athletes has decided to "go pro".
from Bruce Kritzler:   Just heard Gators lost Hakim Sani Brown to pro track, after 2 yrs in Gainesville. Ran 9.98 for 2nd at NCAA 100 (also 2nd indoor 60m). Got a bronze at World champs on Japan's 4x100 relay.

This next story picked up from the UKIAH DAILY NEWS is about 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist 
Jack Yerman.  Mr. Yerman was one of many who lost their homes in the Paradise, California fire last year.  

Still good as gold: Olympian lost Paradise home, but not his Rose Bowl ring

Olympian lost his Paradise home, but not his Rose Bowl ring

1 of 4
Jack Yerman stands in his backyard wearing his 1960 olympic gold medal Oct. 30 in Chico. Yerman’s Paradise home was destroyed in the Camp Fire but his medal survived undamaged. (Matt Bates — Enterprise-Record)
PUBLISHED: November 8, 2019 at 1:46 am | UPDATED: November 8, 2019 at 8:22 am
CHICO — Jack Yerman sits in the living room of his apartment, clutching a framed black and white photo.
“I’m lucky to have had this reprinted,” Yerman says while staring at the picture of him with his son Bruce as a baby, sitting in a trophy cup that he’d won in Philadelphia.
He stands up, walks to the front of the room and proudly places the photo on the TV stand.
It’s one of the few photos that Yerman has been able to reclaim — he purchased the photo from a newspaper — after his home was clenched within the grasp of the deadly Camp Fire.
Yerman’s home was a 2,600 square-foot haven nestled within the towering woods of Paradise. It featured a trout stream, a large swimming pool and a completely remodeled interior.
But the most important belongings inside the home of the 1960 Olympic gold medalist was the USA Olympic tracksuit and baby pictures of his children. All of them gone after the house burned in the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.
“We didn’t get to save much — like all the goodies you save over the years and the memorabilia,” Yerman said from his apartment living room in Chico. “The things that we all keep inside a secret box. It’s gone. But that’s life.”
Yerman, who was part of the gold medalist 1,600-meter relay team, has endured anything but a simple life. At 80, the longtime Paradise resident is left to piece back together his life following the Camp Fire.
On Nov. 8, Yerman and his wife, Carol Mattern-Yerman, weren’t even in the country. The couple took a nine-day trip to Puerto Rico to visit a family friend and were left helplessly watching what was unfolding in their hometown.
“We took a chance to have a good time,” Yerman said. “We watched (the Camp Fire) on TV.”
Mattern-Yerman’s daughter, Emily Vail, who was in Paradise, was the first to call Jack and Carol in Puerto Rico to alert them about the fire.
“At first my daughter called … she goes ‘It’s looking really bad mom. We’re leaving,’” Mattern-Yerman said. “The last call I got from her she called to say goodbye. She said ‘It’s a firestorm. I love you. Goodbye.’ She made it. But at the time she didn’t think she was going to make it.”
Jack and Carol were only married for about four months when the Camp Fire broke out. The two were living in separate homes at the time. Jack’s home was burned and nothing was saved, but Carol had arranged for someone to watch her small, white rescue dog named Brady while they were in Puerto Rico. Thankfully, Yerman had stored his gold medal at Carol’s home.
“(Carol) called the dog watcher and said ‘Hey get out of town, take the dog and take the gold medal too,’” Yerman said. “The dog and the gold medal were all we saved.”
The gold medal was won when the foursome of Yerman, Earl Young, Glenn Davis and Otis Davis finished with a world record time of 3 minutes, 2.37 seconds to win the 1,600-meter relay race at 1960 Olympics in Rome. Yerman ran an opening leg of 46.2 seconds.
“Guys like to keep their Olympic running outfits and pins … but I lost my donkey derby trophy. That’s about as good as a gold medal,” Yerman joked. “Those were some nice memories up there.”

Life before Paradise

Yerman had lived in Paradise since 1968, but was originally born in Oroville.
He never lived in Oroville since his mother and father divorced when he was born. He and his mother moved to Woodland where he grew up and went to high school.
His father, an alcoholic and drug addict, ended up dying of an overdose in Sacramento at the age of 55.
His family never owned a car, meaning he either had to walk, run or ride a bike to get around town. That’s when he grew fond of running and just being outside.
“It was a great place to be a kid,” Yerman said. “We were kind of on the poor side. I never went on vacations so I had to make my own fun. The way I did was to go down to the park and play. It was a natural thing. I enjoyed physical activity.”
After graduating from Woodland High School, Yerman ended up attending college at UC Berkeley, where he ran track and played fullback for the football team.
“It wasn’t easy going to college,” Yerman said. “If you don’t make it, you’re a failure in your mind.”
Like everything else in his life, Yerman’s journey to the Olympics didn’t come with ease.
“Making the Olympics was a miracle for me — even getting there,” Yerman said.
In order to qualify for the Olympic Trials held at Stanford, Yerman had to finish in the top seven at the NCAA championships. Yerman was competing in the 400-meter race with the hopes of winning an individual gold medal.
“There are eight guys in the race. I’m in last place watching them run away. It’s over,” Yerman recalled. “As we’re coming around the last turn, a kid from Iowa falls down. I qualified.”
“Two weeks later, I didn’t have time to rest. So I was at Stanford, and I win. I was just lucky.”
In Rome, Yerman’s quest for an individual gold medal would end in the 400 semifinals, as described in the book “Your Time Will Come” by Jack’s son Bruce Yerman.
Yerman was able to still win gold as part of the 1,600-meter relay team.

Finding home in Paradise

After Yerman earned a master’s degree in teaching from Stanford, he and his then-wife Margo, began searching for a place to call home.
The two first tried living in Santa Clara, but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for.
“We probably could have stayed there and done well, but we both just grew up in small towns,” Yerman said. “We said we want our kids to go to a town with one high school. Out in the country where the kids could run around a little bit.”
They started looking in Northern California, then Yerman landed a job teaching at Chico High.
“We drove around and liked Paradise,” Yerman said. “It fit our mold better.”
They rented for their first three years in Paradise before purchasing their home where they would raise their four children.
Margo Yerman died in May 2014 while holding Jack’s hand in their home.

The missing ring

When Yerman and Carol returned to California from Puerto Rico, they didn’t have a home to go back to. They stayed in a friend’s fifth-wheel trailer in the meantime while they were figuring out what to do next.
Yerman, who had played for Cal in the 1959 Rose Bowl, had his Rose Bowl ring left behind in Paradise. When Paradise was opened back up to the public following the Camp Fire, Jack and Carol hesitated to go back to their properties and sift through the debris.
“We didn’t personally do much sifting. It was just overwhelming,” Yerman said. “Most of the things I lost were un-siftable. They were consumed.”
But Yerman’s son, Bruce, decided to look through the debris of his childhood home. Within the rubble, he found the Rose Bowl ring, charred with the center jewel gone and melted. The twinkle of the diamonds placed in the shape of a football had been diminished but they still remain intact.
Yerman wanted the ring restored so he sent it to Jostens, the company that made it. About six weeks passed and the new, restored ring had arrived. It looked identical to the original, but the original, burned ring had yet to arrive at Yerman’s home.
However, the original wound up in the possession of Tony Borders, a 31-yard old manager at Napa Auto Parts in Durham.
An unassuming white package arrived at Borders’ apartment. The packaging had Jack Yerman’s name with Borders’ address and no return address stamped on it.
“It was just a little white bag with his name and my address,” Borders said. “It was super weird.”
Often receiving junk mail, Borders didn’t think too much about the package. He placed the unopened bag on his coffee table, where it sat for two weeks.
One afternoon, Borders was tidying up his mail stack and decided to go ahead and open the package. There he found the burned Rose Bowl ring.
“I opened it up and went ‘Whoa,’” Borders recalled. “I didn’t want to take a brush to clean it up. I didn’t want to destroy it.”
Borders stored the ring in his safe, and then started doing some research. He searched the name ‘Yerman’ online and discovered he played in the Rose Bowl in 1959.
“I thought maybe the family was getting it restored as a memento,” Borders said. “If this belongs to somebody’s family, that motivated me even more to try to find out who it belongs to.”
Borders said he didn’t want to broadcast the ring everywhere for fear of an impostor trying to claim it. Instead, he reached out to Bruce Yerman on Facebook to try and get it back to his father. Borders and Bruce Yerman met up in Chico to give back the ring, a possession that Jack is thankful to have back in his life.
“I called (Borders) up and thanked him,” Jack Yerman said.
“What are the odds of somebody bringing it back?” said Mattern-Yerman.

Returning home

Both Jack and Carol said they are thankful they were out of town the day of the Camp Fire, but being removed from the situation still leaves them wondering what would have happened had they been at home.
“I’ve got mixed emotions. Sometimes we’re thankful, we really are. But sometimes we wished we were there and what we would have done,” Yerman said. “A lot of mixed emotions.”
Yerman, at one point, was actually on the missing persons list. He had received a few calls from friends asking if he was alive. Since then, the couple has listened to some speakers and done some counseling to deal with the situation.
Yerman still tries to see the silver lining within the situation. His granddaughter, Tori MacKay, a sophomore at Chico High, wrote a song about Paradise that Yerman happily likes to boast about. And at their temporary home, Yerman has grown fond of his neighbors.
“There’s some very nice people here. Nice tenants,” Yerman said.
The couple now lives in Chico off of The Esplanade, in an apartment complex owned by Yerman.
Weeks before the Camp Fire broke out, Yerman was renovating one of the units.
The previous tenants had trashed the place, leaving behind soiled couches and black stains in the bathroom.
“It was disgusting,” Mattern-Yerman said.
After the fire, Jack and Carol lived in a trailer for about six weeks before making the decision to move into the renovated apartment.

Monday, November 18, 2019

V 9 N. 44 Old Photos from the Left Bank

My good friend Jerome McFadden (U. of Missouri 1963 and 4:05 miler, 2nd in Big 8 Conf.) is a frequent visitor to the City of Lights.  See link to earlier article:  Long Live the Past

When he goes there one of his stops is the the booksellers on the Left Bank where he searches out old French "Athletisme" (Track and Field) magazines and books and sends me some of the pictures.  Today there is no message of the passing of a legend, just pictures of legends and a few non legends from those journals.

Mr. McFadden has also recently published a book,  "Off the Rails, A Collection of Weird, Wicked and Wacky Stories".

French Hurdler Mathiotte (right) in front of Iova

Harold Connoly   USA Hammer Thrower

Ira Murchison  USA Sprinter

More Unknown French Hurdlers
Dennis Shore (South Africa), Mal Whitfield (USA), Arthur Wint (Jamaica) and
Herb McKenley (Jamaica) in start position.

Vasily Kuznetsov Soviet Union Decathlete
Baron Pierre DeCoubertin
Parry O'Brien  USA Shotputter.  note the cinder surface
Alain Mimoun in the middle flanked by Chiclet, Duleau and Rhadi in a 10,000

Left Photo:  Barney Ewell defeating Harrison Dillard at 100 meters in Evanston 1948 OT's
Right Photo:  British Sprinter Mac Donald Bailey Polytechnique Harriers qualifying for Bristih team at 100 meters.  He appears to be weraring a U. of Illinois singlet in photo.  

Harrison Dillard Indoors

Jules Ladoumegue  French WR Holder 1500M

If you do not remember Jules Ladoumegue  check the link A Mystery Solved, or Why I Love This Blog

Here is Jerome's new book,   "Off the Rails" and a brief description below.

What happens if no one else sees the creatures calling to you from your back yard?
Or your perfect crime is not as perfect as you planned? What if a city-dweller on vacation meets a tribe of head hunters in the middle of the jungle?
Or if the best player on the boys' high school sports teams . . . is a girl?
What happens if everything you thought you understood goes . . . OFF THE RAILS?
In this eclectic collection of twenty-six stories, multi-award winning author, Jerome W. McFadden, takes a warped view of robbers, gang-bangers, killers, cowboys, dead people (who might not know they're dead), and the idiosyncracies of rural life in the mythical town of East Jesus, Texas. These fast-paced tales explore the satirical edges of crime, paranoia, human foibles, and the afterlife. Some of the stories are weird, some are wicked, some are wacky, but all contain the unexpected twists born of McFadden's unique sense of humor and dark imagination. These unpredictable treasures follow in the footsteps of an irreverent O. Henry . . . and Rod Serling.
Life, as you know it, is about to go off the rails.
Jerome W. McFadden came of age in East St. Louis, Illinois, but has lived on four continents. He brings his weird mix of city smarts, country wisdom, international insight, and plenty of skepticism and snark to his stories about life and death, and all that happens in between.
The book is available on Amazon for $14.95.  

Sunday, November 17, 2019

V9 N. 43 Harrison Dillard One of the Truly Great Ones R.I.P.

Harrison Dillard  1923-2019

November 17, 2019
Harrison 'Bones' Dillard passed away last week in Cleveland, his home town. Let me start from memory.  Harrison Dillard, a World War II veteran served with an African American military unit the Buffalo Soldiers in Europe during the war.  He stayed in the army for awhile and shortly after the war, he  began competing in international competitions between the Allied Powers who were occupying Germany.  

He was born in 1923 in Cleveland and as a 13 years old youngster he watched Jesse Owens' homecoming parade in 1936 after his return from the Berlin Olympics.  Owens won four Olympic Golds, and so would Dillard.  Both men went to the same high school, Cleveland East Tech  and had the same coach Ivan Greene.  After the war, Dillard would have followed Owens to Ohio State U., but he felt it was too far from home and he might be homesick.  
Statue on the Baldwin Wallace Campus
We have reported in the past about some of his achievents in a meet in Frankfort FRG.  Eventually he found his way back home and enrolled in Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio where he truly came into his own as a 120 yard high hurdler.  By 1948, he was the favorite in the US to be the top hurdler in his specialty, but as often happens in that event, the favorite stumbles, hits a hurdle and watches the race from the ground or staggering to the finish line.  And then he goes home and waits 'til next year.  This didn't happen to Mr. Dillard because he had an ace in the hole, the 100 meters which he went on to qualify for enabling him to travel to London as a sprinter.  In the Olympic 100 meter finals, Harrison Dillard upset the favored Barney Ewell to take the gold medal, then later ran on the 4x100 meter relay and brought honor to himeslf and his country with another first place.

By the next Olympics in the the Finnish capitol of Helsinki, Harrison Dillard cleared all the hurdles and set the record straight that he was the best 110 meter high hurdler in the world.
1952 Olympic Trials in L.A. Coliseum
Jack Davis and Harrison Dillard
Thanks to Pete Brown for this photo

One of my regrets since starting this blog is not trying to get an interview with Harrison Dillard.  It was just a few years ago I was in the Cleveland area and spoke to his daughter, but for some reason I decided not to disturb Mr. Dillard with a bunch of questions.  Around that time I found the following article about him, written perhaps by someone who didn't know a lot about track and field but who could interview him to capture the  more personal side.    George Brose

Here is something I had never heard about Harrison Dillard.
He was the 110 HH champion in the 1953 Maccabiah Games. Source is Wikipedia.  I will try to corroborate this from another source.   GB
Answ.  I found a 1957 issue of Israel Digest recounting the prveious Maccabiah Games of 1953 saying that Dillard and Perry O'Brien both competed in exhibition races at those games.  GB

From Grace Butcher (pioneer of women's distance running and Cleveland area native.)

George, here is my Harrison Dillard story.

Starting track at 15 in 1949 as a hurdler (as you know, no long runs till our crusade in the late 50's), of course I knew about Harrison Dillard. His failure to make the team as a hurdler in '48 was such a shock but his 100 gold such a joy, then 4 yrs. later....

So when the time came in 1951 to choose a college,  I chose Baldwin Wallace because if I went there, I could hurdle the same hurdles that Harrison Dillard  had hurdled! What better reason? Plus the National Jr. Olympic Championship had been at that track in 1950, so I'd already run on the same track he'd run on, and he was the starter for that meet. I ran off to get married during the first quarter--I was 17, knew everything, no reason to go to college.  (Started again in 1962 at age 28, older and wiser, at near by Hiram College, marriage and two children later.)

Years after that, at a 5k road race in Cleveland, I was lined up for the start when the startling announcement came that Harrison Dillard was the starter! Oh my gosh! I hadn't known that. The gun went off, and my only thought during most of that race was his name running through my head in rhythm with my steps: "Harrison Dillard! Harrison Dillard!" I even said it out loud.  And after the race, amazingly, I saw him sitting by himself as we waited for the results, so I went over to him, sat down, and told him why I'd gone to BW. It was a lovely conversation. He signed my number. He emanated niceness, gentleness. I have tears in my eyes as I recall that. What a gift to the world he was. Grace

Bill Schnier wrote:
Thanks for your article about Harrison "Bones" Dillard.  He was one of the most dominating T&F men in US history and also one of the most inspirational after his fall in the 1948 Olympic Trials.  Stories about him were exchanged at track meets in the Ohio Athletic Conference when I ran for Capital in 1965-66 and he had run for the Baldwin-Wallace Yellow Jackets about two decades before.  He was certainly a pride to that small school in Berea, Ohio as well as to our entire conference and state. 
   It is remarkable that Jesse Owens, David Albritton, Harrison Dillard, and so many others all went to Cleveland East Tech High School.  I have always wondered which Ohio high school would have won a mythical meet of all schools, past or present, when their top marks were reported.  In other words, who has the best school records?  My best guesses would be Cleveland East Tech, Cleveland Glenville, Lancaster, Dayton Dunbar, and Dayton Roosevelt.  All school records would have to be converted to the current meters including the 100, but it would be quite an examination of history and one well worth examining. 

Richard Trace wrote:  "When I was a student at Miami,
BW came for a meet and Harrison Dillard showed us how to do it. 

Tribute to Harrison Dillard in Cleveland Seniors Magazine

By Debbie Hanson

Here is how describes Harrison Dillard's career.

"Bones" Dillard caused a major Olympic upset when he won the 100 m in 1948. He went to the 1948 AAU with an unprecedented streak of 82 consecutive hurdle victories, but was surprisingly beaten by [Bill Porter]. A week later, at the Final Trials, Porter won again and Dillard failed to finish. But he made the Olympic team by placing third in the 100 m and then took the Olympic title. Four years later he made no mistakes, winning the hurdles at Helsinki, and winning the gold on the sprint relay team for a second time. Originally inspired by the victory parade in his native Cleveland for [Jesse Owens] after the 1936 Olympics, Dillard developed into one of the most consistent hurdlers the world has ever seen. Owens encouraged Dillard to take up hurdling and later gave him the spikes he had worn in Berlin. Dillard went on to win 14 AAU titles and six NCAA championships, as well as setting world records in both the high and low hurdles.
Dillard was a member of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, which were African-American troops who fought valiantly in the Italian campaign from 1943-45 during World War II. He later was in charge of communications for the Cleveland Indians for 10 years. He also had a television and radio show and was responsible for the city's educational department spending

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.50 (1948); 110H – 13.6y (1948).

1948  100 meters
Winning the 100 meters in London

The fastest sprinters in the world in 1948 were felt to be [Mel Patton] of the USA and [Lloyd LaBeach] of Panama, who became his nation’s first Olympic athlete ever in London. They had raced several times in 1947 and early 1948, basically splitting the races, as there was little to choose between them. Another top sprinter was [Barney Ewell], but he had been at his best during the war years and was felt to be slightly past his prime. One athlete who would not compete in London was Hal Davis, who would have been favored in either 1940 or 1944 if the Olympics had not been lost to the war. An unusual thing happened at the US Olympic Trials. The heavy favorite in the high hurdles was [Harrison Dillard], who had not lost a hurdle race in several years, but he hit a hurdle in the final of the Trials and did not finish. Fortunately for him, he had also entered the 100 metres and made the team in that event behind Patton and Ewell. In the Olympic final, Patton got off to a disastrous start and was not a factor. Dillard led from start to finish with Ewell closing quickly to get the silver medal, LaBeach in third.

1948 4 x 100 meters

The US team was originally to have had Ed Conwell but he had to withdraw with asthma, and was replaced by [Lorenzo Wright], who had medaled in the long jump. The US won the final quite comfortably, but were initially disqualified for a faulty exchange between [Barney Ewell] and Wright. On reviewing film of the race, it could be seen that the exchange had occurred within the legal zone, and the DQ was reversed, giving the United States the gold medal. However, the final decision did not become official for three days.   
Dillard ran the third leg and Mel Patton anchored.


1952  110 meters high hurdles
Action in First Heat in Helsinki

The world record holder was Dick Attlesey (USA), but he hurt his foot in the heats of the US Olympic Trials, and did not make the team. But led by Dillard, the Americans again swept the medals, as they had in 1948. The finish was close between Dillard and [Jack Davis], Davis having been slowed by a poor start, likely due to being charged with a false start. Art Barnard was the third place finisher for the Americans.

1952  4 x 100 meters
Dillard, Remigino, Stanfield, and Smith after the 4x100 victory

Though the US had the fastest sprinters, the USSR team had won the 1950 European Championships and were known for teamwork and exact changeovers. In the final, the Soviets started out in the lead, led by [Boris Tokarev], and they maintained that until 100 metre champion [Lindy Remigino] caught them on the final turn. [Andy Stanfield] received the baton about equal with [Vladimir Sukharev] but ran away from him to win by two metres.

Dean Smith is the sole survivor of that 4x100 team.  We are planning a story about Dean in the near future.  ed. 

Dillard and Ewell Steal the Show in Frankfort Aug 22 1948 by Ray Musleh

Harrison Dillard and Jesse Owens with their high school coach Ivan Greene 1950

They Don't Build Hurdles or Hurdlers Like This Anymore

Friday, November 15, 2019

V 9 N. 42 A New Book on Distance Running "The Five and Ten Men" by Richard Amery

She doesn't know it yet, but this is what my wife is going to buy me for Christmas.

Richard Amery, a retired teacher and current gentleman farmer in South Australia has recently published a book The Five and Ten Men, Ten Men Who Redefined Distance Running.

In distance running history there are only ten men who have managed to set both world records in the 5000 and 10,000 meters.  Obviously Vladimir Kuts is one of them, because he got his picture on the cover.  How many can you name without going to some running website?  They are from the countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Finland, Australia, Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.  That makes the question a little easier doesn't it?   

I must confess that I have not yet seen this book and am offering a free lifetime subscription to this blog to any of our readers who will be so kind as to write a review.  

Here is what Amazon says about the book which is also available at Barnes and Noble.

The modern era of distance running began in the early years of the last century. The classic distances for competition have been the five and ten thousand metres. Over this period, the records for both distances have been broken many times by a variety of athletes from many different countries.
The records of today are far removed from those set from earlier eras. The world records of today would have been largely unimaginable only a few decades ago. Over the period covered in this book, the five thousand metre record has been reduced by some two minutes, while the ten thousand metre record has come down by almost five minutes.
Despite the obvious similarities between the two events, only ten men have succeeded in breaking the world record in both distances, making for a very select group. The group comprises runners from Finland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Russia, Australia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

This book looks at the careers of those ten men, the eras in which they competed, the types of training they undertook, and their lives outside of their sporting careers. As such, it is of interest for the social and political times in which they lived in addition to their purely sporting achievements.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

V 9 N. 41 The Mary Cain Story

November 9, 2019

Yesterday Mary Cain, the phenomenal middle distance runner came forward to talk openly about her experience while running for the Nike Oregon Project.  

I think all of you are aware of her story.  I will not repeat it.

Here are my thoughts on this.  

Now Shalane Flanagan and Cam Levins have both come forward and said they should have been more supportive of Mary Cain.  Probably a lot of others who should have as well, especially as Mary  was so young when she was with NOP.  Most of these others were post collegiate in their careers.  Mary was taken out of high school to be turned into a world class athlete.  Actually she was already world class, but her physical development was not yet over.  She was in that girl to woman transition period and that was incredible  stress put onto her physiology and psyche.  When we consider this, it is not uncommon at all that thousands of girls go through this transition  in their teenage years while combining high performance sports with growing into womanhood.  When I was coaching the women at the U.of Dayton it was common knowledge that menstrual cycles would cease.  There were already rules in place that weigh ins could only be done by staff in the training room privately and that information was not passed on to coaches.  It was more for medical staff to be aware of possible anorexia or other eating disorders.   NOP made their own rules so the athletes who were getting a salary from NOP had to put up and shut up.  Their careers were on the line, and it is quite possible that insubordination was frowned upon.  I don't know what if any sanctions were placed on the athlete for being insubordinate at NOP.

In the past, there were several schools of coaching, all successful including Igloi, Cerutty, Lydiard, Bowerman, Stampfl, Gerschler.   I'm sure they all left some broken bodies along the wayside.  Some were a lot harder than others.  Bowerman was known to be very cautious about over training his runners, but some of the others were not.  You thrived or you died.  

The other thing that is very disconcerting is taking a kid away from home at a young age to train.  This happens a lot in other sports such as women's gymnastics.  But I think often a parent accompanies the young gymnasts to a training site to live. Still they ultimately turn their kid over to another adult to tell them how to live.  We know things can go wrong such as happened at Michigan State.   Parents have to examine their own motivation for doing this.  I can imagine Mary begging her parents to let her go to Oregon where she would have the greatest coach  in the world.   Back in the day in East Germany, you didn't have to beg your parents to be allowed to go, you were taken by the State.

Here in Canada we are dealing with a terrible time in our history when First Nations children were taken away at very young ages and forced to learn English, forget their traditional ways, and also be violated by opportunistic predators.  It led to a long painful  history, and today that cultural genocide  will be a long time healing.  I can see some parallels in this with how we treat young athletes.   And when the athlete fails to live up to expectations they are dumped along the wayside. 

 Look a bit further.  In hockey, young boys become property, literally 'owned' by hockey organizations.  At sixteen they move out of their homes to live at effectively a foster home while they play hockey and maybe if there is time, go to school.  If they fail to make progress, they usually get a job driving a beer truck.  Further down the line, look at the art of ballet.  A girl is not going to move on if she cannot squeeze through a very narrow template by a certain age.  Ain't no fat girls dancing in the ballet Russe.  They train as hard as any athlete.  The men in ballet do too.  A number of years ago, the male dancers in a professional company  were tested against NHL hockey players and scored higher in every category except upper arm strength.   This is how society treats its performers. It's sink or swim, crap or get off the pot.  Everytime you watch some prodigy or a 'seasoned' performer making an athletic performance or a musical or other artistic endeavor, remember they  have paid a painful price for your pleasure.

George Brose
Vancouver Island


Preaching to the choir about Salazar’s Hx and his playing the edges and that misguided zeitgeist around winning at any cost.  And how playing the shaming card is not unlike an aspect of the deceit the ‘sports doctor’ at Mi State, Larry Nassar — now in prison for life, employed as part of his repertoire in  keeping the lid on his abusive actions. 

Cain’s full statement parses out the inherent vulnerability of young talented female athletes in their quest for full realization of their talents and the level of trust necessarily placed in their retinue of coaches. 

A newly minted MSU trustee resigned this past week citing a culture at the school and on her board not interested in doing much other than hiding — apparently — a lot of dirty laundry.  They’d brought as President former MI governor and all around disordered character, John Engler, for damage control.  And all he pretty much did in his tone deafness, if not downright negligence, was dig their PR hole significantly deeper.    His tenure was quite short.  Apparently he’d spent too many years in government.  

Rich Mach

From the Nov. 11, 2019 Guardian by Sean Ingle

High Time Nike and the IAAF Did Right by the Athletes

Excellente réflexion .  Faire une performance à l'adolescence ne veut pas dire nécessairement faire une longue carrière . La transformation du corps peut jouer de mauvais tours.  Beaucoup d'athlètes frustrés cherchent des boucs émissaires à leur contre performance.
                                           " Don't be a cloud because you failed to become a star. "

Jose Sant


Richard Mach   (Nov. 17, 2019)

This Sunday evening on the NPR’s news show, All Things Considered, Mary Cain was interviewed for what seemed to be at least 5 full minutes, if not longer.  She has gotten much coverage recently after coming out about her tenure as an athlete trained by the now banned Alberto Salazar.  While I was not privy to any body language that requires visual access, she never skipped a beat, was reasoned and even in her presentations of what took place.  Anyone reading this has undoubtedly heard of her observations and, possibly, has seen her interviewed earlier within some other venue.   So I will not covered already trod ground.

I would find it difficult to disbelieve what she had to offer, but will cover later on what begs to be vetted and has thus far — to my experience anyway —not been spoken of.   The major take aways were two.  One, that she was laboring under considerable strain and uncertainty; and the lack of emotional understanding and support from this world famous coach and his cohorts was sufficiently devastating that she was in considerable emotional difficulty near the end of her tenure with NOP.  The other takeaway was the built-in deficiencies and intrinsic difficulties when a male coaches a female and tries to tune into the female mind.   And, at the same time, that male sticks hard and fast with what has worked for his more successful male charges.  And does not bend to any notions about what the optimal body fat ratio might be for a woman’s long term health and well being.  Her overall structural health was suffering and she now believes she was on the way to long term and irreversible damage had she continued on the overall Kamikaze training regimen.  

As we know, the so-called sports psychologist Salazar had on board with him was hardly that — along any legal lines anyway.  Her expressed concerns fell on deaf ears.   With both of them.   And in a system run by men that is largely already about men, the ‘tough-it- out’ metaphor is written all over the place.  And a central tenet woven through and around most all training and racing transactions between coaches and their athletes.   ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ institutional blather.  This is culturally embedded boilerplate for world class athletes.  

The female that is going to make it in the midst of such a milieu is a female that tries to fit in with that mentality.  Salazar’s grousing about her weight as she continued to mature into a young woman and the public ‘shaming” — was that because of the way it was handled — whether calculated or not, would have to be a powerful player in threatening to break the ineffable spirit of any one athlete who already is beginning to feel excluded and looked askance at.  And gradually isolated — if largely in her own mind — from the remainder of this very elite group.  

On a side note I found Shalane Flanagan’s mea culpa that she should have said something, but didn’t, rather disingenuous.  I hope that Mary does not chose to throw in her lot with Shalane as the bottom line was Shalane was not about to go against the prevailing current in that rather closed system.   Mary sounded together and improving and on the move toward a successful season of competition in 2020.  She is now 23 and was unusually well spoken for such a young person in the aforementioned interview.  However ….

My reservations revolve around the lack of parental involvement while she was a continent away on the West coast.   And while supremely talented, also very young to be in such an environment with other world class adult athletes. I feel as if there may be things left out about her hanging in there until she came home nearly broken.  A kind of prevailing zeitgeist within her family perhaps.   And that those things, again, have to do with the lack of a timely intervention on the part of her parents.  I find it difficult to imagine that the first they came to know of her predicament and dilemma seemed to be very late in the game after she was cutting herself and spiraling into a significant .. and I daresay … frightening depression. 

In this litigious time, one wonders if this is a preludium to a lawsuit about to be brought.  Hopefully not.  That may not go well for the Cain family   Her answer to the question about the claim she partitioned NOP as late as last April, 7 months ago now, to return .…  I really have no memory of her answer which usually means for me it was word salad-like enough that I pretty much tuned it out.  And truth be told, the answer was probably sufficiently inconsequential in not really addressing the question asked.

In closing, if Mary is not entirely candid in public, my suspicion would be she is withholding certain knowledge from it being considered by herself as well.  And that signifies problems ahead, because she would not be free and clear of this part of her journey and it cannot make enough solid sense then for her to be able to entirely let this experience with Salazar and Co. go and to then be able to enter into a new and unfettered phase of training and racing.   And, to hopefully, realize her full potential as a gifted and talented athlete.  

Time … as they say … will tell.   Stay tuned.                      

Thursday, November 7, 2019

V 9 No. 40 Paul O'Shea's Report from Doha

We’ll Always Have Doha

By Paul O’Shea

As Rick wistfully tells Ilsa in the 1942 film classic, Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris,” so will I remember the 2019 World Track and Field Championships in Doha.

Doha was my seventh World Championships. I’d been to other majors in Edmonton, Paris, Helsinki, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. Mercifully free of the jingoism and marketing excesses of the Olympic Games, Worlds are every bit as rewarding as their four-year elders.

Doha Worlds: the world’s third largest sporting event, with more than 200 countries sending athletes.  Impressive results at Khalifa International Stadium: one world record, 86 national records, 43 countries won medals, with the United States taking 29.  Jamaica (12) and Kenya (11) were second and third.
Doha City, Qatar: scorching, humid, polluted. Skyscrapers springing from the desert, sixty-nine hundred air miles from my hometown airport, Washington Dulles.

Abutting the Persian Gulf, Qatar is small, about the size of Connecticut. It sits on the world’s largest natural gas reserves. The country is also one of the world’s most contaminated, and on some evenings there was a haze in the stadium.  The country readies for the 2022 World Cup when the average high temperature in December is just 76 degrees compared with September’s 102.

Most of Qatar is populated by expats (over two million) with just 300,000 nationals. Many sleek, new high-rise buildings. At night, there’s a light show with skyscrapers outlined and lit up like giant Christmas trees. Off in the distance sits Doha Bay.

The weather was stifling, from the moment I stepped out of Hamad International Airport and into the city air.  Three digits Fahrenheit, with what one might wryly call a wind-chill of 113 degrees. Fortunately, the indoor cooling system at the International Stadium was effective. Some nights a sweater was useful.

Climate change skeptics might have second thoughts if they breathed in and out in Doha.  It’s the world’s fourth most toxic environment.  Three years ago the World Health Organization said air pollution in Qatar “vastly exceeds safe limits and is damaging the health of the population.” The Qatar Times, the country’s English daily newspaper, pushed back against the pollution charge. “The Ministry of Municipality and Environment has dismissed as baseless a report that suggested high levels of carbon emissions in Qatar.  The ministry said the report did not properly reflect the reality of emissions at the global level in Qatar.” 

Many riyals, Euros and dollars probably exchanged ownership in the transaction that brought the Worlds to the Middle East.  No one should be shocked, shocked that pay to play had gone on here.

Opening day the women’s marathon started at 11:59 p.m. with the temperature at 90 degrees and 73 per cent humidity.  Only 40 of the 68 starters finished, with the winning time 2:32:43. Bronze medalist Helalia Johannes from Namibia said afterwards, “I can’t say I enjoyed it.”

One memorable performer was the first American, Roberta Groner, 41 years old, with three kids, and a full time job as a nursing administrator in New Jersey. She ran 2:38:44 in sixth place. Ten days later the weather was more cooperative for the men (the temperature was 84 at the gun with 51 per cent humidity), and 2:10:40 was the winning time. Only 18 of 73 starters failed to finish, still a high number for an elite field.

The Worlds’ marathon apparently was just a tempo run for Roberta Groner.  About a month later she ran the New York City Marathon in arguably perfect conditions.  Her 2:30:13 was 13th best among the women and 74th among all finishers.
The middle- and distance-running events largely went according to form.  Favorite Donavan Brazier led early and won with an American record, taking down Johnny Gray’s ancient (1985) 1:42.60 by a tenth.  In the men’s 1500 Timothy Cheruiyot quickly escaped challengers with 55.01 and 1:51.74 splits.  Matthew Centrowitz ran about to form. He was eighth in 3:32.81.

Equal-opportunity destroyer Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands strolled in the back of the twenty-two starters in the early laps of the women’s 10,000, then went through the field and cruised to a thirteen-second win in 30:17.62.  A week later she took charge early in the 1500. Her 3:51.95 was the sixth fastest in history.  Someday, could there be a Zatopek Triple in her kit?
The LetsRun crew called the men’s steeple the greatest ever.  Our seats were a meter or two off the finish line, and looking down on the finishers, I thought Conseslus Kipruto had lost to Ethiopia’s Lemecha Girma, but the Kenyan won by one one-hundredth of a second in 8:01.35. In the men’s 10,000 Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Ethiopia’s Yomif Keleja fought an epic, side-by-side battle, with Cheptegei winning in 26:48.36.
One of the most anticipated events was the men’s high jump and the appearance of Qatar icon Mutaz Barshim. Slim as a whippet, returning from foot surgery, he made the first four heights, missed twice at 7-7 3/4, then cleared that on his third try. To defend his title Barshim soared 7-9¾, a height he hadn’t made in four years.

U.S. relay teams performed admirably, winning four of the five baton events, including a mixed-sex four by four. Despite a history of botched handoffs and other mishaps, the men’s 400-meter relay team treasured the stick as if it were letters of transit that got Ilsa out on the night plane.

I signed on for this Track and Field News Tour with many of the usual suspects, renewing and forging new relationships with the pursuers of international achievement. Their backstories enriched the memories from the oval: this is the track meet with benefits.

T&FN Publisher and Tour Leader Janet Vitu waged vocal hand-to-hand combat with Qatar security as she pressed to get our bus closer than a 20K walk to the stadium. She prevailed.

Roger Heinle is an Iowa corn and soybean farmer whose father spent eight consecutive years where duty and economic necessity had him milk the cows twice a day, every day for eight years.

Long-time Cerritos College coach Gary Gaudet is a world-traveller with an impressive collection of passports.  In addition to his extensive background in the sport that earned him California Community College Coaches Hall of Fame honors, he’s toured 116 countries.  At Doha he oversaw the Tour’s Prediction contests, won by Tim Bianchi, Dan McGregor and Krish Kartha.

With us was Paul Pearson who never stopped running after Texas Western (I wrote earlier for Once Upon a Time in the Vest about his career
Navigating the Currents of Time - Paul Pearson. (link).  Now in his late sixties, Paul’s an impressive age group runner and recently placed second in the National Senior Games 1,500. Going out for his morning workout in Doha he was brought to his knees by the atmosphere after running just twenty minutes.

Tour colleagues benefited from the high-performing team of Hollobaugh and Hollobaugh. Jeff’s daytime job is writing for Track and Field News, online and in print. In Doha his nighttime assignment was producing the daily TAFNOT TIMES, two pages of inside baseball delivered to the doorstep each morning. His book, The Miler is a rewarding read for those helping runners devise strategies to win middle distance races.

Also in our group was, writing crisply, cogently for his blog and others.  I profiled David earlier for Once Upon a Time in the Vest.    (link) 

Tucked into a corner of the pedestrian mall and adjacent to our hotel, the IAAF presented its Heritage World Athletics Championships Exhibition.  Case after case of memorabilia on loan from legendary performers and museums. Zatopek’s shirt and shoes.  A Bannister signed program. Jesse Owens’ Ohio singlet.  Lasse Viren’s Onitsuka Tigers. On a television screen a loop of international cross country race videos.

At Khalifa International Stadium, aside from the inescapable heat there were minor management blunders. The hosts chose to site the medal ceremony up, up and away, high in the venue’s end zone.  Medal winners were literally in reduced circumstances.

Stadium vendors adopted a here’s looking at you kid, nonchalance when selling water. Hollis Lenderking recorded six different prices in as many days.  He’s the USATF Pacific Association sports administrator whose athletic history includes some fifty ultra marathons, and extensive beverage experience.

Media reviews of the 17th Worlds were mixed. Writing in The New York Times, Tariq Panja focused on the weak attendance that had to be augmented by busing in loads of migrant workers to cut embarrassment for the Qataris.  But the heat drew most of his criticism. What the writer failed to acknowledge in his story were the performances.  

LetsRun said, “The track and field display that was put on last week in Doha at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships were unbelievable.  Five years ago, when Worlds were awarded to Doha many wondered how Doha’s hot weather and the late date of the championship would impact the performances and some were making dire predictions, particularly for the long distance events.  In actuality, nearly everything about the Worlds—minus the crowds and the absurd heat for the women’s marathon—ended up being amazing.”

Seb Coe, unanimously reelected IAAF President at the Worlds, was effusive in his evaluation.  “The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition.”


ed. In 2015 we first became aware of Joe Kovacs and reported in the following  (link)
Joe Kovacs, An Emerging Force in the Shot Put

Based on IAAF scoring tables the men’s outstanding feat was the 75 foot two inch throw of shot put titlist Joe Kovacs.  The women’s premier achievement was the 23 foot 11 ½ inch long jump by Germany’s Malaika Mihambo.  Curiously, the IAAF failed to recognize in its list of the top five meet performances the world record 400-meter hurdle victory of Dalilah Muhammad.  The mark was worth a $100,000 bonus.
So, as time goes by, the 2021Worlds will be contested at the newly reconstructed Hayward Field. The House That Knight built will open in 2020 with the Prefontaine Classic.

The Worlds: still the same old story, a fight for love and glory.

Paul O’Shea is a lifelong participant in the track and field world.  After retirement from a career in corporate communications he coached a high school girls’ cross country team and was a long-time contributor to Cross Country Journal. He writes for Once Upon a Time in the Vest from Fairfax, Virginia. He can be reached at

Comments:    Two comments on Paul O'Shea's excellent article,

  1. Ajee Wilson didn't fare so well in 800m
  2. All dairy farmers milk their cows twice/day, every day, year round.   Bruce Kritzler
ed. We have noted Ajee's 3rd place finish in the article.   Thank you.

from Roy Mason:    Good report.  I knew nothing about Qatar.  Now I know everything except why there is no "u" in Qatar.  Just seems wrong somehow.

Vasco da Gama when he first sailed past did not have a lot of paper on which to take  notes in his log book and abbreviated the Old Portugese spelling of 'equator'  which was  'equatar'.  Therefore he dropped the 'e' and 'u' for the sake of brevity.  

V 9 N. 46 One of Jesse Owens' Gold Medals on the Auction Block

Jesse Owens' Gold Medal Auction   (clik here for bidding info and picture of the medal) Just in time for Christmas.    GoldinAuction...