Monday, November 21, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 73 January, 1960

January, 1960
Indoor season is going full blast and the biggest name in the news is John Thomas. On Jan. 16 in Boston's Massachusetts Knights of Columbus meet he soars 7'0 ½”. Two weeks later in New York's Millrose Games he defeats last year's top ranked high jumper, Olympic champ Charlie Dumas, with a world record leap of 7'1½”. After losing last year to a foot injury, the Boston University sophomore is back.
In the K of C meet Don Bragg vaults 15'4” to erase Bob Richard's indoor record by ¼ inch. To make sure, he does it again in the Millrose meet.
The best mark on the track belongs to Houston's Australian, Al Lawrence, who runs in tandem with teammate John Macy before breaking loose in the last quarter mile to clock 13:38.0 for the three mile at Millrose.
In the week between these east coast meets there is action on the west coast, the Los Angeles Invitational, held in “the beautiful new Sports Arena”. Parry O'Brien sends the message that he is still the man to beat in the shot, throwing an almost-sort of-could have been world record of 63'1”. When his shot is weighed initially it comes up light. Additional pellets are added to bring it up to standard, but apparently they leaked out during the competition and the implement is four ounces shy when weighed for WR purposes. O'Brien doesn't worry. The challenge has been issued. Don Bragg continues his WR vaulting, this time clearing 15'5 1/2”.
The east coasters are not idle the weekend of the LA Invitational for the Washington Evening Star Games are held and Dave Sime is back. Well, sort of. This is the meet that has the 70, 80 and 100 yard sprint series that he dominated last year. Not so much this year. After tying his meet record of 7.0 for the 70, he feels a twinge and calls it a day. Ed Moran, now with the NYAC, wins the mile in a meet record 4:08.3. Before you say that isn't all that fast, please be reminded that this is the fastest time ever run on a flat track. The lack of banked curves makes John Macy's 14:01.3 three mile pretty impressive also.
This is not to say there was no outdoor action. December 30 was the date of the Sugar Bowl meet in New Orleans and many of the big guys were there. Dave Sime wins a 10.4 100 over Bill Woodhouse on a slow track. How slow it was is emphasized by Eddie Southern's winning 48.5 (Bobby Morrow 3rd in 50.0) and Rex Cawley's 14.6 hurdle win. Dyrol Burleson holds of Jim Grelle in the 1500, 3:48.5 to 3:49.0.
Speaking of Burleson, he is featured in Profiles of Champions. Notation is made of his his nickname being “Burly”. He “trains nine months a year, six to seven days a week. Does some weight training with light weights. Runs fartlek all year round mixed with cross country in the fall, some interval training in the winter and interval training and pace work in the spring and summer.”
Phil Coleman is also profiled. His program is detailed more closely than “Burly's”. I won't go into it more than to note that he trains 12 months a year, seven days a week. This would seem to parallel his academic endeavors. After graduating with a BA in English, he earned his masters in '57 and is currently working on his PhD. Coleman's athletic achievements reflect hard work, not great talent. His best high school mile was 5:00.1. As a freshman at So. Illinois he ran only 4:45. By the time he graduated he had run 4:15 and 9:27. It wasn't until he enlisted in the army that he began his steeplechasing career that led to a spot on the '56 Olympic team and national records in the steeple and two mile.
Ralph Higgins of Oklahoma State is featured in the Meet the Coach column. He is a Cowboy through and through, having graduated from Okie State (then Oklahoma A&M) in 1925 where he was Southwest Conference champion in the 100 and 440. After serving the Oklahoma City school system for eight years, he took over the XC and track reigns in Stillwater and the rest is history. His track teams won 17 consecutive Missouri Valley Conference championships and his XC team won the 1954 NCAA meet.
Bob Mathias is in the news. The 1948 and 1952 Olympic decathlon champion would like to compete in the 1960 games. He recently threw the discus 176 feet. Dan Ferris, the AAU secretary says no. He has been tainted by filthy lucre earned by his athletic fame. No big deal. An old guy like that probably wouldn't have a chance. Wait a minute, Mathias is only 29. His Olympic gold came at the tender ages of 17 and 21.
And from the It was a Simpler Time folder: Stanislaw Sawatowski, Poland's 46.9 400 man, has been suspended for six months. His offense is ….are you ready?.....drinking.
Track and Field News appears to be turning the financial corner. This issue of the magazine – still $3 for the year – has 4¾ of its 16 pages consumed with advertising.

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