Monday, December 9, 2019

V 9 N. 50 The Russians Aren't Coming ! The Russians Aren't Coming !!

December 9, 2019

For the younger readers, our headline paraphrases the 1960s  Alan Arkin film, The Russians Are Coming. The Russians Are Coming about a Soviet submarine that runs adrift off a small Cape Cod community and the reaction of the local villagers.

The Russians Are Coming. The Russians Are Coming: Trailer

So The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has voted unanimously to ban Russian teams and athletes from competing under their flag at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup football competition in Qatar.  The ban will be for four years.  Seems the Russian sport juggernaught has once again run aground this time hitting a submerged testing lab in Lake Lausanne where WADA hangs out.    

However WADA has thrown out a bone for individual Russian athletes who can test clean.  They will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.  Don't ask me who designs the neutral flag, I suggest  a white hankie on a stick.  

The Russians can still appeal this decision, which was unanimous, by going before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).  No way a Russian oligarch will be sitting on that voting body.   This will have to be done very quickly to be successful and still permit Russians  to compete under their own Red White and Blue national flag.  Odds aren't very great that this will happen, unless the Russians can come up with some incriminating video of the panel sitting on the CAS.

Travis Tygart, the Execitive Director for the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) wanted the punishment to go further by not allowing even 'clean' Russian athletes to participate in the Olympics.  

This all boils down to a very politically motivated show of gamesmanship on the part of everyone.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians cheated on an institutional level and continue to cheat and attempt manipulation of evidence when given a second chance to come clean.  The world stage is the world stage.  That is why actors wear makeup to aid them in pretending to be some other character.  Now however the commercial side of life makes the selling of advertising and image as important as who wins, and if a little make up will help bring in more glory and sell more tickets, then so be it.    I find it a tad ironic that this same day there was a release of information about how the American public was lied to by three successive governments concerning our involvement in Afghanistan to the cost of $1 Trillion  and 2300 servicemen and women's lives.    George Brose

from Richard Mach


Saw a 2019 movie out of the UK yesterday,  “Official Secrets”, about a female whistleblower working for its equivalent of the CIA during the run up to the Iraq War.  And being asked to find dirty on lesser members of the UN’s Security Council in order to compel them to support what the Yanks and Blair wanted.  And instead leaked it to journalists and what she then endured.   A B movie but nonetheless instructive and jogging any dulled memory around the perfidy of the West.  And as one wag observed ... the first time (Keira) Knightly has appeared in a movie w//out a hooped skirt. 

Comment from Geoff Williams

11:23 AM (9 minutes ago)

to me

Well at least they got that far.  I can only repeat my comments to your earlier note on this subject last month.  Why should WADA or the IOC be made to decide whether Russian athletes are clean or not?  Also the World Cup of Soccer is exactly what its name implies-a tournament for the best countries in the world-therefore the team is banned ( or should be) and that is that.  We are putting up with enough lying and cheating in the world and here we have an opportunity to do something really positive.  Also it would be for the long term benefit of individual Russian athletes .  Maybe Felicity Huffman can talk to Putin and tell him the consequences of cheating.
My teeth are gritted fiercely.   Geoff

Geoff,  I suspect that the Russians are still in the Lori Loughlin phase, somewhat in denial and trying to weasel out of any consequences.  George

Great job George. You my beliefs on the use of performance enhancing drugs in track and field. From high school track and field athletes forward,any track and field athlete tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs by US Anti-Doping Agency should be banned for life from any track and field competition in the US.  M. Gregory

Monday, December 2, 2019

V 7 N. 49 Hayward Field Reconstruction Hitting a Few Snags

Dec. 2, 2019

I've been corresponding with an internet friend about how things were looking at Hayward Field, how the new construction seemed to be coming along down in Eugene, Oregon. He recently drove past the construction site and said that it seemed a long way from being done.   Admittedly he is not a civil engineer nor a construction expert, but he was certainly wondering how Hayward might be ready for the Prefontaine Classic to be run this coming May.  Of course they have a good 18 months to be ready for the 2021 World Championships.  Since we are not experts, we'll give the builders and financers the benefit of the doubt---FOR NOW!

It just got me remembering how  many times we've seen professional sports teams literally hold up a community with threats of moving if the community didn't give a huge tax break or pay for a new stadium to get a pro team to come to town.  The Mike Brown family held up the gullible folks of Hamilton County Ohio to keep the Cincinnati Bengals in place and give the Brown Family a new Paul Brown Stadium.  Plenty of other communities had the same experience.  First the dream merchants come up with some drawings of a modern stadium, with private boxes that rival a honeymoon suite at the Waldorf Astoria.   They tell the public that it will all be financed by private investment, maybe and perhaps a wee bit of a tax break. Some local corporation or Healthcare Network will throw in a few dollars to have their name on the wall.   Then half way through construction, the nabobs and glad handers start whining about unexpected rises in cost to construct and we're gonna need a bailout to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to complete the project and could we just float a little tax levy to cover the shortfall?  Hell we can cut back on school lunches or housing for the elderly, we're gonna have our  "Beer and Circus"   and eight  Sundays every fall we'll have a game and maybe even a winner and a Super Bowl trophy.  And the voters go crazy and vote to give up some valuable public service in order to have a few overpaid heroes  do battle for them on the weekend.  In 1973 in Montreal, Mayor Jean Darpeau declared that it would be easier for a man to give birth than it would be to lose money on the 1976 Olympics.  That stadium today is basically a seldom used shell that is falling apart. Hell, they actually glued the sections together.  Some architect from France who had never experienced a Canadian winter decided that glue would work better than bolts and welded seams.   The 1976 Olympics lost a ton of money. The Montreal Expos are now playing in Washington D.C.  So it does not surprise me one iota when a story like the following comes out in the Oregonian today.   Here it is.  My comments regarding certain paragraphs are in bold type.   George

As any track and field athlete knows, progress comes in fits and starts and a big breakthrough can come at any time.  This is true.
Less than two years before the scheduled opening of the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, organizers and track fans are waiting for a breakthrough from Gov. Kate Brown. Organizers say they need $40 million from the state. Brown seems stuck at about $20 million.  Hey what do they need $40 million for now?  Didn't they have an agreement before they tore the place down and started construction on a new stadium?  Or did they have to spread a lot of untruths to get the project going? Forty Million is seriously off the estimate I assume.  
Since she attended the 2019 World Champions in Doha in September, Brown has been more vocal in her support. She’s promised to produce the full $40 million requested by the event’s organizers, said Paul Weinhold, executive director of the University of Oregon Foundation and chair of Oregon 21, the Eugene-based group organizing the event.
Okay, so it's the U of O Foundation behind all of this.  And what pray tell did Gov. Kate Brown get in Doha to now aspire to go for another $40 million at the risk of her political career?
Newly obtained documents show just how difficult and delicate a task Brown faces: Skeptical lawmakers, a demanding international governing body and a local organizing committee desperately reliant on the state. The hoped-for $40 million represents nearly half of the event’s total expected revenue.  
Wait, they expect $80 million in sales and they are currently $40 million short to even have the place ready?  Sounds like we're cutting things pretty thin here.  And does that mean we won't make a profit if that happens?     Ans.  No, No, George, It simply means that we need all the local yokels, even if they don't follow the sport to now pick up the tab.  The guy buying beer and cigarettes in Bend, OR is going to help finance the Championships.  And when you buy anything else in the state, you're going to get hit.  Oregonians aren't used to sales taxes on anything.  I live in British Columbia and five years ago I went to see the Pre and bought 15 gallons of paint to paint my house back home.  Because there was no sales tax on that paint, I saved enough money to pay my trip down including gas, hotel and food for three days.   So when it comes to asking Ducks to pay tax on something many of them will never see, I think there is going to be a little bit of political push back.  But I could be wrong.  I thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  
“I am proud to have this historic event in Oregon and look forward to continuing our work together,” Brown said in an April 25 letter to Jon Ridgeon, the international federation’s chief executive. She added, “in 2020, I will work to pass legislation to provide additional funding needed.”   Gov. Brown may be racking up a bit of overtime on this one.  I too will be happy to see a World Championship in the US, but I have serious concerns about destroying historic venues for the opportunity to make a few bucks.  Shitty track, but if the Penn Relays can pack in a  good crowd.............
Brown’s spokesman Charles Boyle added, “This is a significant marketing and tourism opportunity to showcase our state and Oregon businesses, and we are working with stakeholders and legislators to identify outstanding needs and make sure they are funded by March of 2020. “  Hey,  Dufus,  your outstanding needs are Education, Health Care, and getting re-elected.  There is going to have to be some serious slight of hand to get this done.  
The other good news for Oregon 21 is that the University of Oregon Foundation has agreed to serve as financial backstop to the event. The international governing body of the sport typically requires a local government or some other deep-pocketed entity to guarantee the event’s financial performance.  Key phrase   "deep-pocketed entitiy". NIKE!!!!!   We need to work on image a bit here since the NOP affair went up in smoke.  Forget the track meet, maybe we can support public education and critical thinking.  Sorry folks, in a country where more than half the population cannot name the three branches of government......we need to do something about education.
Weinhold confirmed his board had settled on the agreement, adding “the foundation has the guarantee in place.”   This I think means,  "The old fixeroo is in".   Hey who is on this U of O Foundation governing board?
That marks a confounding change in direction for the foundation. Last year, it withdrew as the financial guarantor, to the great alarm of the international federation. Now it’s back in. Weinhold declined to explain the foundation’s change of heart.  "Change of Heart?"  Hell have we got a heart?  We need this show to go on and if it means we gotta buy the Oregon legislature to get a tax levy or the equivalent in place, well by golly that's what we're here for.
Still, plenty of hurdles remain.  There's  the 100 HH, 110 HH, 400IH x 2, and the Steeple x 2,  that's a lot of hurdles.  
Organizers and state officials also must fix a tax issue. Under United States’ and Oregon law, the $7.2 million in winnings for athletes is taxable at both the state and federal level. In the past, local governments have simply forgiven the tax. But for that to happen, the athlete prizes would have to increase sufficiently to cover the tax or the Oregon legislature would have to act to make the athletes exempt.
Not quite sure how this works. Your gonna give the athletes more money and make them exempt?  How does this bring more money into public coffers to pay for the Championships?  Oh yeah and lets not forget about that federal grab for the brass ring.
And the Oregon Legislature can’t do anything about the federal tax.  You can always secede from the Union or elect a senator who will create legislation to eliminate all federal tax.  In these times that person might find a lot of agreeable followers.  isn't Oregon noted for its poiitical mavericks?
The Eugene championships would be the first staged in the U.S., so there’s no precedent in solving the problem.  The '84 Olympics in L.A. may have been the exception to the rule in making a profit, but Track doesn't have beach volleyball to sell to the TV watching audience.  
Organizers will also have to go to the legislature to solve another potential issue: The transient lodging tax increase that Brown is relying upon to raise a significant portion of the state’s contribution to the event sunsets next July.  How do you make millions on a transient lodging tax during a 7 or 8 day event when there are so few hotels in Eugene?  And  most of those rooms will go to IOC wonks, heads of 100 national federations and their entourages and the teams.  And those people usually don't expect to pay bills for lodging.  They feel it is owed to them.
The prospect of staging the World Championships in Eugene is thrilling to many American track fans. The town is much revered by athletes, who love the educated fans who pack the stands.  But  but , but, Hayward fugging Field ain't there no more!!
But this is an event normally held in London, Paris and Beijing, world capitals that can easily handle the flood of tourists. In Eugene, lodging, transportation and a host of other logistical issues will be challenging.    Challenging?  I'd rather tackle Mt. Everest in a wheelchair without oxygen.  
Brown and others in Salem are confident that the Legislature will be supportive enough to give Brown what she needs. That is, unless Senate President Peter Courtney’s ongoing financial concerns gain traction with other lawmakers.  Courtney is the guy they should have sent to Doha.   See how the pros raise money out of a pile of sand.
Courtney predicted an enormous wave of additional financial demands as the event comes closer -- and afterwards.  Okay, who's gonna pick up all these Starbucks cups and rebuild Tracktown Pizza?
“It’ll be in the hundreds of millions of dollars before it’s over,” he said. “I’m telling you right now, we don’t know how much money they’re going to need and we have no idea where the money is coming from.”  Come on Mr. Courtney, it will be easier for a man to have a baby, than for Eugene and the state of Oregon to lose money on this venture.
Courtney added that he thinks Brown and the World Championships will carry the day, “I’ve lost,” he said. “The event is coming. I just want to know how big the tsunami is going to be.”  By the way, I've already picked out my tombstone and paid for it.
One thing organizers don’t anticipate is a problem with attendance. Even the newly enlarged Hayward Field should be packed.  Well, if we don't sell all the tickets, we learned in Doha how to pack the stands.  We'll have an illegal immigrant relocation center put in the javelin area.
But an event fan club, formed to connect with future ticket buyers, failed to meet projections. Organizers hoped to have 100,000 people signed up by the end of October. They didn’t get there and it’s unclear how close they got. It's a trade secret, and we ain't sayin'.
Weinhold, who chairs the organizing committee, said he did not know the number. He added that the 100,000 goal was ambitious and that he’s not troubled by the shortfall.
Shortfall, schmortfall, the Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl this year.  
“It is going to be a great thing,” Weinhold said. “We now have a strong team in place. It’s nice to have the government’s promise.”  Wait a minute.  Two things there.  That statement means you started with a weak team?  How did you get away with that for such an important event?  To me it just means that no one thinks long term when there is the promise of a potential gold rush.  It's always the guys that sold the picks and shovels who got rich and then left town.   And what is the value of any government's promise?   Better talk to the hedge fund boys.  

New story:   I really heard this  on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) radio today that there is an App called 'Cameo'.  On it you can hire a celebrity to record and deliver a message for a fee based on the level of the celebrity's  stardom.    Katelin Jenner will do one of these broadcasts for $2500.  People are using this App  to dump guy friends or girl friends, not necessarily with Katelin  .   Just letting you know if you need a message sent, I am open to discussion on my fee for this service.    George


 Geoff Pietsch said...
Not much to add to this devastating commentary on Eugene and Oregon, but I did want to comment on your initial basic point, which was:
"It just got me remembering how many times we've seen professional sports teams literally hold up a community with threats of moving if the community doesn't give a huge tax break or pay for a new stadium to get a pro team to come to town."

In this election season, I wish some candidate would make this an issue. Specifically that professional sports leagues essentially prevent cities from owning teams. Yes, Green Bay is an exception. It was grandfathered in. And clearly the franchise is thriving and will never move from that small city in the icy north to some Sun Belt, big money metropolis. It won't because it is a non-profit owned by over 360,000 stockholders, and no one can own more than roughly 4% of its shares. NFL rules require all other franchises to have a maximum of 32 owners and at least one must own 30%. As I understand it, almost a century ago the Supreme Court exempted Major League Baseball from anti-trust laws (surely a decision that could/should be overturned) and in the 1960s Congress exempted the NFL from anti-trust laws when it came to negotiating TV contracts.

Bill Schnier said"
  George, what a great piece on a typical money grab of the public from sports.  Here is what makes sense.  If a tax base pays for the stadium in part or in whole, they should reap the profits at that same rate.  For instance, in 2000 Hamilton County, Ohio spent $455 million to build Paul Brown Stadium.  The Bengals contributed $44 million and the taxpayers contributed $411 million.  The Bengals reaped all of the profits and the taxpayers none.  Two reasons for this successful holdup were:  (1) the team threatened to move and (2) the Hamilton Co. commissioner who spearheaded this deal did not run again but instead was hired by the Bengals.  This profit sharing would not work unless a federal law were enacted because one state would have profit sharing with the taxpayers and another would not meaning New York would have no NFL teams and Texas would have about 14.  Is the federal government up to that challenge?  Nope, so it will be business as usual in all states including Oregon.

Friday, November 29, 2019

V 7 N, 48 Mo Farah Still Has Skin in the Game

Mo Farah plans to return to the track after a brief sortie into full time road racing.  Here is a report from the Associated Press today Nov. 29, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Olympic champion Mo Farah is returning to the track and wants to defend his 10,000-meter title at next year’s Tokyo Games.
Announcing his plans on his YouTube channel on Friday, Farah said: “I’m really excited to be competing. I’m back on the track.”
Farah is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who won the 5,000-10,000 double at both the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. He switched his focus to the marathon and road races after a farewell 5,000 victory at the Diamond League finals in Zurich in August 2017.
“I hope I haven’t lost my speed,” said the 36-year-old British runner, won the Chicago Marathon in 2018.
Farah’s announcement came one day after UK Athletics said it asked a lawyer to lead a review of its work with banned track coach Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project.
Salazar worked with Farah from 2011-17, spanning his era of Olympic dominance, and was hired to advise UKA’s endurance program in 2013.
Salazar was banned for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last month for experiments with supplements and testosterone that were bankrolled and supported by Nike, along with possessing and trafficking testosterone.
Farah was not implicated by USADA, and Salazar denies wrongdoing.
Salazar has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The case is unlikely to be judged before the Tokyo Olympics open on July 24. The men’s 10,000 final is set for July 31.

Sean Ingle writing for The Guardian today gives us the British point of view on this story.
Mo Farah has confirmed he will switch his focus from marathons back to the track for next year’s Olympic Games.
 Mo Farah has confirmed he will switch his focus from marathons back to the track for next year’s Olympic Games. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Two years after retiring from the track to run marathons, Mo Farah has performed a screeching U-turn and will defend his Olympic 10,000m title in Tokyo next summer.
The 36-year-old announced his decision after mulling over his disappointing 10th place at the Chicago marathon in October, although insiders have since revealed a niggle beforehand affected his performance.
Farah has convinced himself he will be more competitive back on the track – and watched the recent world championships 10,000m final in Doha believing he could have beaten the winner, Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, whose final lap time of 56sec was considerably slower than the Briton’s last 400m when claiming world gold in 2017.
“I decided after Chicago, not straight away, but it was on my mind,” said Farah, who confirmed he would not attempt to double up in the 5,000m. “I was watching the world championship in Doha. I watched the 10,000m, and I watch other races, and part of you gets excited.
“You’re seeing people winning medals, for your country and stuff, and you ask yourself. It almost felt like I needed to be there. I still got a chance with the Olympics. Why would you turn it down?”
Farah, who won double gold over 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, added: “I hope I haven’t lost my speed but I’ll train hard for it and see what I can do.”
To qualify for the 10,000m in Tokyo, Farah will need to run 27min 28sec by 21 June. However he does not have to compete at the Night of the 10k PBs in Highgate in June, which doubles as the official British trial.
The qualifying standard should be a breeze for him, given it is nearly 45sec slower than his personal best. However, many in the sport would be surprised if Farah, who will be 37 when the Olympics come round, is able to recapture the staggering last-lap speed that made him an almost unbeatable winning machine between 2011 and 2017.
Farah leaves a mixed legacy at the marathon, having run a European record 2:05:11 in winning the Chicago marathon in 2018 and finished third in London the same year, only to disappoint at the same races this year.
“To win the Chicago marathon was nice, to finish third in London was OK, it was good,” he said. “But next year I’ve decided, Tokyo 2020, I’m going back on the track.”
The London marathon has confirmed Farah will not be runningnext April. However, he has left his options open to competing over 26.1 miles in the future.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

V 9 N. 47 Cross Country Back Then and Some Other Stuff

Our good friend and foreign correspondent, Jerry McFadden, sent some more vintage cross country photos from France this week.  Not a lot of information came with the photos, but they do provide a look back in time at this pure sport.

French Cross Country 1931 Roger Rerolle winning French XC nationals at Maisons -Lafitte  Hippodrome
1921  France  Start of  a new season at Pavillon Sou Bois outside Paris.
7Km race won by a Belgian  Vandevelde in 22:08

Start of the Oxford vs. Cambridge duel meet  1921
Winner N. A. Mac Innes crossing a ditch.  Post race (Ashley) Montague left and Mac Innes.
Note Montague's missing shoe and the thick soles on Mac Innes' shoes.

And speaking of past cross country history, remember the British Invasion at Western Kentucky with Nick Rose, Dave Long, Tony Staynings and Swag Hartel?  These guys brought some hard training and hard partying to the sport. What had been upper crust in the older photos above, was now a very blue collar event.  

Now for a really cool site on history of the NCAA meet when held in East Lansing Michigan, I recommend this link out of University of Waterloo in Ontario run by Mark Havitz (MSU XC alum 1977-78).  If you click on the "videos" section you can download finish line film of several of the races back in the 1940s.  In the 1946 film you will see Dennis Weaver of "Gunsmoke" fame crossing the line in mid pack for Oklahoma U. wearing the number 141.   Michigan State Cross Country archives

Russians on the Run?

Then we digress to the Russian doping scam which seems never to end with the IOC  holding the white flag and an olive branch  at the Russians and saying that even though we know you are screwing with us, you might still be allowed to send athletes as "neutrals" to compete in Tokyo, provided they test clean.    I can only wonder what the discussions must be like in Putin's office these days.  Certainly a few heads are in danger of being lopped off or at least a re-opening of a residential wing in the Gulags is being considered for some bureaucrats, not for cheating, but for getting caught.  It was a run for your life situation after the balls up at Sochi for the domestic testing lab that got caught switching samples.  

Sean Ingle reported today in The Guardian:
The International Olympic Committee has demanded the “toughest sanctions” against those responsible for deleting Russian doping tests in data handed over to the World Anti-Doping Agency – calling it “an attack on the credibility of sport and an insult to the sporting movement worldwide”. However, the IOC left the door open for Russian athletes to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics – provided they can show that they are clean.
That provoked a hostile reaction from the US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart, who urged Wada to ban all Russian athletes from the 2020 Games after its compliance review committee found that the Moscow lab files, which were handed over to it by the Russians in January, had been manipulated.

“Russia continues to flaunt the world’s anti-doping rules, kick clean athletes in the gut and poke Wada in the eye and get away with it time and time again,” said Tygart. “Wada must stand up to this fraudulent and bullying behaviour as the rules and Olympic values demand.”
Russia was banned from last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but 168 Russian athletes with no history of doping were cleared to compete as neutrals – a situation Wada’s compliance committee said may be repeated at Tokyo.
Tygart warned: “The response is inadequate, especially given the deceit perpetuated by the Russian sport system which is controlled by the government. Wada must get tougher and impose the full restriction on Russian athlete participation in the Olympics that the rules allow.”
The IOC maintains that “natural justice” requires them to punish any perpetrators but allow clean Russian athletes to compete. It also says there was no evidence that Russian Olympic Committee members were implicated in the “flagrant” manipulation of the Moscow lab data.
But the IOC was accused of being soft on Russia by lawyers for the whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who used to run the Moscow anti-doping laboratory before fleeing the country. “The Russian gangster state continues to deploy a predictable and deplorable policy of deception, evidence tampering and lying to cover up its crimes,” they said.
“The Kremlin must think the people of the world are idiots to believe this shameless and transparent stunt. Wada should be applauded for revealing Russia’s latest crime, but if the IOC and the international sports regulatory framework gives Russia yet another free pass, other countries will simply follow in their footsteps.”

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

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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.

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