Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Monday, April 30, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 44 July , 1961

JULY 1961
Let's go back less than a year to the end of the Rome Olympics. World record holder Rafer Johnson had won a tight dual with close friend and former UCLA teammate, C.K. Yang for the decathlon gold medal. Johnson officially retired from competition and signed on as an assistant coach at UCLA where he would coach Yang in an effort to break his own world record, the passing of the mantle from one good friend to another, a feel good story any way you look at it.
(Yang leading Johnson in 1500m at Rome) Problem was that nobody told Phil Mulkey about that. Phil Mulkey, the guy who had failed to finish at Rome and was never considered a threat for a medal, that Phil Mulkey?
(Phil Mulkey getting treatment at Rome from Cliff Cushman and Tom Murphy during the decathlon). The guy whose best is over 1000 points from the record, that guy? The guy who teaches school in Memphis, that one? The guy who has been doing this for years without any visible sign of great improvement, that fella? Yep, and this is where things get interesting. Apparently home cooking provides Mulkey an advantage because on June 16-17 in the Southeastern AAU meet, held in his hometown, he shocks the track world (and himself) by breaking Johnson's record by 46 points with a total of 8709. How is this possible? If Yang doesn't break the record, the only other athlete in the universe with the potential to do it is the USSR's Vasiliy Kuznyetsov. Others need not apply. No one, certainly not Mulkey is thinking about a record when the competition begins. Mulkey does not have the individual event greatness of Johnson or Yang, but he has no holes either. His day one performances of 10.7 (PR), 24-1, 50-3¼, 6-6½ (PR) and 51.0 total 4667. A very good score is in the making, but at this point no one is thinking of a WR. The second day opens with a 14.6 clocking in the hurdles. The discus is up next and he hits 154-3½ for his third PR of the meet. In those events in which he doesn't PR, he is close. Although bothered by a hamstring injury, he vaults 14-4¾, only 2¾ inches short of his best. With only two events remaining, still there is no thought of breaking Rafer's record. Mulkey is a good javelin thrower for a decathlete, but it is not his strength. He occasionally hits 200' in practice and his first two throws today are no exception: 201-3 and 199-4. His third throw puts a different perspective on things. He launches his wooden Held a surprising 221-3½ and suddenly the possibility of a world record comes into focus. Run a 4:47.0 1500, Phil, and you break Rafer's record by one point. Decathletes being what they are, the rest of his competitors huddle with him to plan out the race, breaking it down to 220 segments. Decathlon fans being what they are, there aren't many in attendance. Darkness has overtaken the stadium and the field is illuminated by automobile headlights. A crowd of 40 watches from the shadows. No split times are given except that Mulkey hits three laps three seconds ahead of schedule. The last three quarters of a lap had to be agonizing to watch with one eye on Mulkey and one eye on the stopwatch. He crosses the finish line in 4:43.8. He has improved his personal best by a stunning 1059 points and the record is his. Ron Barbee writes, “Mulkey was so exhausted after the 1500 that he was unable to walk for 30 minutes after the race. A doctor present took Mulkey's pulse and it registered 210, compared to his normal 42.” Mulkey is quoted as saying, “I don't think I'll ever hit that score again.” You don't have to, Phil. Once is enough. Wonder if he went to school Monday? (Phil competed in Masters Track and Field beginning in 1975, and won the world Masters decathlon in 1993). This same weekend the NCAAs are being held in Philadelphia's Franklin Field. West coast schools dominate as SC takes the title over Oregon 65-47 in a meet that saw very few match ups between the two schools, indeed both score vis-a-vis each other in only one event. SC doesn't score in any flat race and Oregon gets zip in the field events. Villanova pleases the hometown fans, placing third with 40 points. High point men are Villanova's Frank Budd whose 9.4 and 20.8 victories make him the only double winner of the meet. SC's Luther Hayes just misses, winning the HSJ at 51-2, breaking his own meet record in the process and placing second in the broad jump at 24-9 behind the 25-2 of Colorado's Don Meyers. The one event where the Trojans and Ducks go head to head doesn't provide serious scoring drama. Oregon's Jerry Tarr takes the hurdles in 13.9 but SC's Bob Pierce is second at 14.0, a time shared with third placer Blaine Lindgren of Utah. The intermediate hurdles are delayed five minutes while meet director Ken Doherty shovels dry cinders onto the two outside lanes which are soaked with water from the adjacent steeplechase water jump.
That done, Occidental sophomore Dixon Farmer takes advantage of the absence of injured Rex Cawley to dominate in 50.8, a mark only ten have bettered. Bobby Staten of SC, a senior who had never scored in the NCAA meet, makes up for that in 51.4 seconds, placing second and earning 8 points. Oh, we may have found an event for that Toomey kid from Colorado. He makes the final with rounds of 53.4 and 52.7 and, although seventh in the final, he continues to improve, running 52.5. There may be hope for this kid after all. Thirty of Villanova's points come in the sprints as Paul Drayton takes second in the 220 in 21.2. But what of Texas Southern's Charles Frazier you may be asking. He is a world class 220 man. Where did he finish? He didn't. In fact he didn't run. He wasn't at the meet because .....are you ready?....because his Texas Southern team was barred from competition by their local AAU “for a strike called by the NCAAP”. Your reporter is stunned. How does the AAU have jurisdiction over an NCAA school?
(Charles Frazier at Texas Relays 1962. Texas sprinter is Ralph Alspaugh) When this picture was taken the university had just painted over the “Whites Only” signs on the restrooms in the stadium. Integration hadn’t arrived as teams with black athletes stayed at an army barracks outside Austin, because hotels would not accept blacks. Ed. The three givens are death, taxes and Dallas Long winning the shot put. Yep, the SC soph wins by exactly five feet at 63-3½ before being relegated to the role of normal regular guy in the discus where he places 11th with 163-7. Wonder if the other throwers asked, “Hey, didn't you used to be Dallas Long?” or “You're somebody, aren't you? Don't tell me. Let me guess.” In the 440 Adolph Plummer of New Mexico and Earl Young of ACC trade wins. Unfortunately for Young, his win comes in the semis where he edges Plummer 46.6 to 46.8. Plummer takes the final, 46.2 for both, when he holds off a spirited finish by the Olympic veteran.
The mile doesn't become a race until the 1320 is reached in 3:05.8. At this point Dyrol Burleson separates the college men from the college boys with a 54.7 final go around for a 4:00.5. Bill Dotson of Kansas breaks Ron Delany's meet record with a 4:02.9, but in the photo on page 9, is no more than a dot in the distance as Burly crosses the line with both hands giving the “V” for victory sign. Burleson and Dallas Long are dominant in their events, but John Bork of Western Michigan is right there with them. The Western Michigan senior was a quartermiler as a soph and an intermediate hurdler last year. This year he settled on the 880 and it looks like a good choice. Trailing the field through a pedestrian 54 opening lap, he waits until the backstretch before going to the afterburners. His spurt puts the field in his rear view mirror and he powers through a sizzling 24.7 finish to win by over ten yards in 1:48.3. Europeans turned Canadian turned college runners Sig Ohlemann of Oregon and Ergas Leps of Michigan finish in 1:49.7 and 1:49.8.
I REMEMBER SEEING BORK WIN THE 880 IN THE MID AMERICAN CONFERENCE MEET HELD AT BOWLING GREEN , OH IN 1961. I WAS A SENIOR IN HS, GOT A SPEEDING TICKET ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE MEET. HE WAS SUCH AN OVERPOWERING RUNNER THAT YEAR. VERY STRONG IN THE SHOULDERS, AND THE PICTURE OF THE FINISH OF THAT RACE MORE THAN DEMONSTRATES HIS STRENGTH. Bob Avant of USC has become a regular 7 foot jumper, but today that height leaves him two inches behind American record holder John Thomas. George Davies of Oklahoma State, Jim Brewer of USC and surprising Dick Gear of San Jose State tie for first in the pole vault at 15-4. A quick study of the vertical jump results provides ample evidence that the NCAA has yet to embrace that misses and attempts thing that the rest of the world uses. Ties abound, including nine high jumpers tied for 8th. Throwers from less prominent California schools have their moment in the sun. Tom Pagani of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo wins the hammer and Redlands' Chuck Wilkinson takes the javelin, but the opportunity to share this achievement with their grandchildren has been skewed. They are both pictured on page 11, but misidentified. If the captions are to be believed, Pagani is smiling while holding a javelin and Wilkinson is in full wind up with the hammer. As we leave the NCAA meet in search of next week's AAU championship, we can only bemoan the fun we missed because the NCAA does not see fit to hold the two relay events. Not sure when this finally comes about, but it isn't 1961. Now a week has gone by and we are in Downing Stadium on Randall's Island in New York City. The weather is overcast, but rain doesn't fall on Saturday's crowd of 10,000 or Sunday's gathering of 20,000. Spots on the US team which will compete with the Soviet Union are on the line as only the top two qualify. There is no denying that the event everyone was talking about the next day is the 100 where Villanova's Paul Drayton equals the world record of 9.3. To emphasize the credo that timing is everything, Drayton is a tenth of a second too late to claim a share of the record. Teammate Frank Budd has crossed the line in 9.2 and is now the world record holder and possessor of the title world's fastest man. Positions are reversed in the 220 where Drayton overcomes the challenge of running three 220s in one day to edge Texas Southern's Charles Frazier, 21.0w for both, with Budd a tenth back. At this point we have to go back to the NCAA meet where Frazier's Texas Southern team was barred from competing by the local AAU. They keep them out of the NCAA meet, but allow them to run in the National AAU? Your reporter would appreciate an explanation if anyone has one. The mile promised to be the feature race of the meet. Dyrol Burleson vs. Jim Beatty. Throw in a dash of Jim Grelle, mix and you have fun for the whole family. Didn't work out that way. With Keith Forman leading, the first lap goes off in 67.2 and the pace doesn't quicken until the backstretch of the second lap. Boos rain down upon the runners. The pace quickens and the half passes in 2:09.2. “Burleson, whose confidence is exceeded only by his ability, has stated that nobody can beat him over the last quarter mile” (Cordner Nelson's words). He is sitting in good position in second. Bill Dotson is on his shoulder. They are followed by Grelle on the outside and Beatty on the pole. As the field enters the straight before the final lap, Burly goes. By the time Beatty can extricate himself, he is eight yards down and it is over. Burleson opens the margin all the way to the tape, winning easily in 4:04.9 to Beatty's 4:06.5. Grelle is out of the money at 4:08.0. Burleson's final lap is 55.3, his last 880 is 1:55.7. Apparently there is no love lost between Burleson and Beatty. CN writes, “Burleson, almost arrogant around the curve, looked back at Beatty as he finished, and laughed.”.... “Beatty was bitter about his defeat. After congratulating Burleson, he added. 'Congratulations to you teammate, too for boxing me in'”. The last apparently a reference to Grelle. Think twice befor inviting both of them to the same party. Beatty's coach, “Mike” Igloi said, I think he did a big mistake.” Jay Silvester and Rink Babka have been having a fine old time of it in the discus on the West Coast, but now we are in New York, the realm of Olympic champion Al Oerter. This doesn't seem to matter to Silvester. He powers one out 195-8 on his first throw, within a foot of the WR. Oerter can't get within five feet, but his 190-5 does earn a place on the team. Babka is third at 186-6. The 440 may represent the changing of the guard. Twenty-nine year old Otis Davis barely holds off high schooler Ulis Williams 46.1 to 46.3. The future may belong to Williams, but the moment is Davis'. “He leaps for joy, almost as happy as he was in Rome.” Ben McRae and Jerry Tarr win the hurdle semis and run 13.8 in the final, but it isn't enough to earn a ticket to Europe. Hayes Jones nips Fran Washington, 13.6 for both. The shot put competition is lackluster. Dallas Long tops Parry O'Brien 62-2 to 61-3. Then both announce they will not be joining the team. Gary Gubner and Jay Silvester will be our guys.
Don Styron has his spot on the team wrapped up as he approaches the final barrier in the 440 hurdles. Unfortunately that last hurdle jumps up and gets him and down he goes. Cliff Cushman (50.9) and Dixon Farmer (51.2) say thank you. That Toomey kid is a plugger. He reverts to 53.7 and doesn't make the finals, but you have to appreciate a no talent kid like that trying so hard. Were this little league, he would be going home with a three foot tall most inspirational trophy at the end of the season. As mentioned earlier, Bob Avant has become a regular member of the seven foot club. He clears 7-0 today and it is enough. John Thomas clears 7-0, but loses on misses, his first loss to an American. CN says on Avants' clearance that there was too little padding in the pit and that Avants had landed heavily on his shoulders. I guess so. There is a photo of Avant dropping into the pit. He is straight upside down about to make a dent with his head. Jesse Owens and Ralph Boston The broad jump belongs to Ralph Boston. He soars 26-11½ to win easily. The real competition is between Anthony Watson and Bo Roberson for the second spot on the team. Trailing Roberson after four rounds, Watson joins the exclusive 26 foot club on his fifth jump with a leap of 26-1¼ to top Roberson by two inches. Washington sophomore John Cramer may have lost his spot on the US team while standing at the top of the runway getting ready to vault at 14-6. A stray discus strikes him on the foot. He gets treatment, but by the time he returns the bar is at 15-0. With his foot badly swollen, he misses twice at this height before clearing on his third attempt. Along with Ron Morris, John Uelses and Henry Wadsworth, Cramer clears 15-4, but his misses relegate him to fourth. Only Morris improves, clearing 15-8 before a couple good misses at a world record height of 15-10¾. Morris will not be contesting the Russians. He is building a house and attending summer school. Uelses and Wadsworth will be our vaulters in Europe. All John Cramer has to show for his efforts is a swollen foot. Aside from the mile, the one race track aficionados anticipate is the 880 which contains a strong field of proven quality. Jim Dupree leads Jerry Siebert, John Bork and Jim Parr across the line in the first semifinal. Ernie Cunliffe takes the second semi, followed by George Kerr, Archie San Romani and Kirk Hagan. To the surprise of no one, Ernie Cunliffe takes the lead immediately in the final. His 26.3 at the 220 gives him a five yard lead which he holds through a 53.3 440 and a 1:20.0 660. Now the field closes. Bork pulls up to Cunliffe's shoulder only to have the both of them be passed by Dupree. Bork gives chase, but here comes George Kerr. Now it Dupree, Bork, Kerr and Cunliffe as they are in the middle of the curve. At this point, Jerry Siebert comes to life. One by one, he passes Cunliffe, Kerr and Bork. He gains on Dupree down the stretch, but just misses catching him. Dupree and Siebert, both 1:48.5, are on the team. Bork finishes third at 1:48.8 ahead of Kerr, 1:49.2, and Cunliffe, 1:49.5. Hagan is a close sixth at 1:49.6. Just when it would seem that T&FN has moved into an era of racial enlightenment, it is back to outing Negroes. Charles Durant is a tall Negro. Winston Cooper is a short Negro, Jim Dupree and Gerald Pratt are slim Negroes and Ben McRae is a Negro halfback. Clifford Severn Sporting Goods and Adidas still hold down the traditional spot on the back page, but other advertisers are coming on. Turftex, Inc. which builds “Dura Track” (Grasstex Firbrous Tracks, Runways, Jump Areas) has a full page ad. Dreske shoes (a fine, new track shoe) has half a page as does Adidas. Spot-Bilt (with all-kangaroo uppers) and New Balance (Track Shoes of the Future) each have popped for a quarter page. The Nelson brothers have to be rolling in dough.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vol 2 No. 44 New CEO of USATF

The following is a press release from USATF (See my thoughts after the article) Max Siegel named CEO of USA Track & Field 4/23/2012///////////////////////////// INDIANAPOLIS – USA Track & Field’s board of directors has selected Max Siegel to serve as CEO, President and Chair Stephanie Hightower announced Monday. The board voted unanimously to hire Siegel after two CEO searches that took place over the course of 16 months. He will become the fourth CEO in the organization’s history when he assumes his duties on May 1 as part of a two-year contract. Chief Operating Officer Mike McNees had served as interim CEO since September, 2010. “The search for our next CEO was a process that we believe will fundamentally change USA Track & Field,” Hightower said. “It forced our board to put into focus what our greatest needs and priorities are. And in the end, it brought us an executive in Max Siegel who blends a knowledge of our sport and its political considerations with an impressive record of success in the broader sports and entertainment markets.” “I am honored by the opportunity to serve as USA Track & Field’s CEO,” Siegel said. “Since I first got involved with USATF in 2009, I have been passionate about the potential for financial growth and mainstream cultural visibility. “This sport has it all: charismatic stars, great stories, unmatched diversity, grassroots participation in the tens of millions, a multi-billion-dollar sporting-goods industry, and a passionate base. Connecting those dots is what the board, our staff and volunteers will work together to achieve.” Working in various executive capacities in the sports and entertainment fields over the last 20 years, Siegel’s track record has consistently been that of financial growth and competitive success. He previously served as President of Global Operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he sold tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship; and as Senior Vice President at Sony/BMG and as President of Zomba Gospel, Tommy Boy Gospel and Verity Records, where he led one of the most profitable divisions in the Sony BMG system. As a music executive, he increased top-line revenue and reduced expenses to yield unprecedented profit in the gospel industry. He was part of the executive team overseeing the careers of stars such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Usher. The owner of Rev Racing, Siegel took NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and advanced it from a fledging effort to add diversity to the sport into a competitive juggernaut on the racetrack. In 2011, his team’s drivers won 50 percent of all races on the K&N Pro Series East circuit, NASCAR’s top developmental circuit. Siegel is a former director on the boards of USA Track & Field and the USA Swimming Foundation with more than 20 years as a high-profile executive and attorney in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Additional Olympic-family experience includes work with USA Gymnastics, USA Skiing, USA Swimming and the Goodwill Games while he was an attorney with Indianapolis-based Baker & Daniels in the 1990s. In addition to representing sports figures such as Hall of Famers Reggie White and Tony Gwynn during their careers, he has created literary, television and film properties, including the 2010 BET Networks series, “Changing Lanes,” and the 2011 ESPN documentary, “Wendell Scott: A Race Story.” Scott was among the recently announced list of nominees eligible for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Siegel also is the author of “Know What Makes Them Tick: How to Successfully Negotiate Almost Any Situation.” “Countless members of the track & field community had suggested that we consider Max for the position, citing his success as an executive, his rolodex and his ability to bring people together to get things done,” Hightower said. “Selecting Max unanimously has brought a renewed unity to our board and will enable the organization to recalibrate our structure and function so we can move forward as a professional organization.” The first African-American to graduate with honors from Notre Dame law school, Siegel is a native of Indianapolis and resides in the city. Jill Geer Chief Communications Officer USA Track & Field //////////////////////////////////////////// Mike Solomon referred me to the above press release and asked what I thought about the new leadership at USATF //////////////////////////////////////////// Mike, Never heard of the guy, but it seems like an interesting choice that may take track and field in a different direction. Maybe a direction it always wanted to go but didn't have the personnel to guide it onto that path. Siegel seems to be very marketing oriented and to have had exposure to a lot of different sports. Today's Track and Field sure isn't the track and field we grew up with. But then what sport today reflects much of what that sport was in the 60's? By some ways of thinking track and field certainly got corrupted when the dollars started to flow. Prior to the money going into athletes' pockets, the corruption was only at the top amongst the elite leadership. Now that the tap is open, it would be inconceivable to turn it off when potential track and field stars could choose go to another sport to make a living. Except where would distance runners go? Survival running on reality TV? Somewhere along the line exposure diminished, and the sport became less popular. Now when a meet does get covered on TV it seems there is more focus on the preliminary b.s. and human interest stories than the actual events themselves. I feel like putting this subject on the blog and letting the readers chime in. So the door is open, folks. I'm sure most of you have some strong opinions. We know that athletes are bigger and faster, equipment and running surfaces are better cash incentives have affected the efforts and ability to train (without holding down a job) of the top athletes. Performances have improved radically since the sixties for a lot of reasons. How do you compare Track and Field today with the past? You can click on the comments bar below this posting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 43 Dr. Leroy Walker, RIP

NEW ORLEANS – Dr. LeRoy Walker – the first African-American coach of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field team, the first African-American president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and former longtime coach at N.C. Central – died Monday at the age of 93. The legendary Walker was a member of the USTFCCCA’s Inaugural Coaches Hall of Fame Class in 1995. In 1945, Walker accepted a position as a football and basketball coach at North Carolina Central (then North Carolina Central College). In the offseason, he started a track & field program as conditioning for his players, a decision that led to a long and highly successful career as North Carolina Central’s track & field coach. Walker remained head coach at North Carolina Central until 1973; during that time he also earned a Ph.D. from New York University (1957). After his retirement from coaching, Walker continued his involvement with North Carolina Central, serving as Vice Chancellor from 1974-83 and as Chancellor from 1983-86. During Walker’s coaching career at North Carolina Central, he coached athletes to 11 Olympic medals and sent track & field athletes to every Olympic Games from 1956 to 1980. His stellar reputation began when Lee Calhoun won back-to-back Gold Medals in the 110m hurdles in the 1956 and 1960 Summer Games. In all, Walker coached eight Olympians, 30 national champions, and 80 All Americans. He also served as a coach or consultant for several foreign Olympic Teams from 1960 through 1972, and in 1976, he was named the U.S. men’s head coach, the first African-American man to serve in that position. Walker also served in a number of national leadership roles for the sport of track & field. He was chairman of the AAU men’s track & field committee from 1973-76 and the coordinator of coaching assignments for the AAU and TAC (forerunner to USATF) from 1973-80. He became TAC president from 1984-88 and later served as senior vice president for sport of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. He also served as President of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1992-96. Also, as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (the first major study of the topic in 66 years) in 1991-92, he made strides toward key athletic reforms. He is the author of three major books on physical education and track & field, and in 1977, Walker became the first African American president of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). Walker was the 2009 recipient of the USTFCCCA George Dales Award – given to a distinguished individual who, through their efforts, enhanced the profession of coaching track and field and cross country. As a talented collegiate athlete at Benedict College, Walker earned 11 letters in football, basketball, and track & field before graduating in 1940, and he went on to earn a master’s degree at Columbia University in 1941. He then served two one-year stints at Benedict and Bishop Colleges as chair of the departments of physical education and recreation before accepting a position at Prairie View A&M University. In addition to working as a physical education instructor and track & field coach, Walker contributed to the war effort as director of the Army Specialized Training Program. Walker has received many honors and awards in his long career. He is a member of 14 Halls of Fame, including the North Carolina Central University Athletics and USATF Halls of Fame. He was the first African American to receive the James J. Corbett Memorial Award (1993), the top honor granted by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. While carrying out his duties as USOC president and CEO, Walker continued to occupy an office on the NCCU campus, where he was chancellor emeritus. In 1996, Walker was named the first President Emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 42 Photo 1962 NCAA Mile Run

Paul Ebert, a former OU miler sent this to us. Hi George, Paul Ebert here, At the Big Eight 1961 mile I finished 2nd to Bill Dotson in 4:15.9 and there was a scramble, as I outkicked three others for second place. After the race I was doubled over couldn't seem to catch my breath (oxygen debt) Incidently Bill Dotson was Kansas Univ. first sub 4:oo miler, It was 3:59 in 1962 His fastest (he finished 5th in race). enjoy your track info. Paul Ebert 1958-1962 univ. okla.
Ebert at NCAA Mile Eugene Oregon 1962 Ebert, Bill Dotson Kansas, Mike Fleming Nebraska, Barrie Almond Houston, Dyrol Burleson Oregon, Bill Cornell Southern Illinois, Smith BYU

Vol. 2 No. 40 Pole Vaulters vs. Distance Runners

Jason Scott, the son of one of our reader's was going for 17'7" in the PV at Kansas Relays last weekend. Pole snapped and he got 7 stitches in his elbow. I asked his father Phil Scott (a former national junior college decathelon champ), about polevaulters and their battle scars. Phil said Jason got a broken pole into his stomach once and another time one stuck under his eye. So it rather humbles our discussions of how badly our legs hurt when we run at or above sea level. Anyway those guys belong in another category of human endeavor. Just having to transport a pole to a meet via a bus or airplane is almost inconceivable. At least they don't have to worry too much about lactic acid build up at altitude. George

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 38 Comments on June, 1961 and Running at Altitude

(The following post came from Jerry McFadden, University of Missouri, who ran in the 880 at the Big 8 Meet in Boulder, discusses the effects of altitude and what little we knew of what to expect in those days.) / / / / George, I tried to write you a comment on the blog about the June, 1961 post but it apparently did not go through. The gist of it: That was my first Big 8 Outdoor meet. I was a sophomore. Freshmen could not compete during that period. I had taken 2nd in the 1,000 yards at the Big 8 Indoor that year and had ran 1:50.1-1:50.3 several times that spring, so we thought I would have a chance of placing in the 880. But no one had given serious thought about the effects of altitude at that time on the middle-distance & distance runners. Most of us "flatlanders" crapped out or barely made it through our events. Boulder did us in. The 1st quarter in the 880 was 54, with a pack of us tight together. We hit the 660 in 1:21. Then I ran a less than brilliant 29 last 220, which felt like an hour. And I wasn't even last (but close to it)! Our star 2 miler, Bob Heinekin, wanted to run a school record. He went out fast through a mile & 1/2, then collapsed. We had to put him on an oxygen tank. The tough guys managed to bull through but, as your post said, there was no outstanding distance performances. OU won basically on their field & short events. Good for them! Most surprising to our Mizzou crowd was that our legendary coach, Tom Botts, did not have a handle on the affects of altitude & gave us no insight on how to work with it. A gap in his legendary experience, maybe? To this day I feel it was wrong to hold such an important meet at that altitude when the likes of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa Sate, Kansas State, etc had no chance at acclimation. I want to take nothing away from OU but the meet was biased for those with strong sprint & field teams. I respect those teams that had that balance but the result might have been different at another location. Jerry McFadden / / / / Jerry, / I was still in high school in 61, didn't get to go to Boulder ever. And glad about it. I don't think any coach had a handle on what to do about altitude in those days. There were probably only a few physiologists with any experience in the field and they weren't applying that knowledge to athletic performance then. Jack Daniels, coaching at Oklahoma City University in those days, might have been one of the few, but he was researching cardiac rehabilitation at that time. Any of the lads from the lowlands would have had to spend a month there to get acclimated. I remember the OU guys who had been in Boulder talking about how difficult it was. Anyway I think OU won the Big 8 again the following year with much the same team but at Lawrence where the playing field was more level. Actually they lost Mike Lindsay who won both throws in Boulder, but another guy Walter Myers won the discus, and they had a couple of shot putters who placed. Tony Watson got them a lot of points in the sprints and long jump. I don't think they (OU) won a conference meet again until the current coach, Martin Smith came in from Oregon. One thing that can be said for Kansas over the years is they scored in a lot of different events from distances where they dominated, but also in the sprints and jumps and throws. They were generally so well balanced. / / George Brose

Now we hear from two of our regular readers Mike Solomon and Ernie Cunliffe. Ernie's remarks on 800 meters being the dividing line on the effect of altitude on performance are pretty much on the money. It's a fairly anaerobic event. Aerobics plays a role in the 800, but the guy who performs well anaerobically is going to have a slight advantage in the 800 at altitude. Also Ernie's history of being a hard charger (OUT FAST) in the 800 and yet able to run internationally competitive times says to me that his physiology enabled him to handle a lot more lactate than other good runners. Ernie's time at Boulder didn't tail off that much from sealevel running. But I also know that he is a guy who can function at altitude , better than the average individual. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without much trouble (19,340 feet) and even camped overnight in the crater at over 18,500 feet. This is a hell of an ordeal for the normal human. Therefore Ernie is not normal. ( Aristotlean logic) (I mean that as a compliment, Ernie.) He admittedly had lots of good preparation having scaled approximately 55- 14,000 foot peaks in the US prior to going to Kilimanjaro.
Ernie on Mt. Stanford (red shirt , front and center) But I can also speak from experience as a journeyman middle distance runner (4:09.8 and 1:51.7) and a climber of Kilimanjaro that despite all my training both in running and in climbing above 12,000, that I never had a good day above 12,000. Yet other, untrained individuals could stroll right up to the summit with little or no seriously debilitating effects. Anyway, here are Mike's and Ernie's comments. I post them in the order they were received. Again I apologize for the spacing problems currently being ecountered on this blog server. FROM MIKE SOLOMON George, Interesting article on how the big 8 handled or didn't handle the high altitude of Boulder in the early 60's I was invited out of high school in 67' to compete against the Mexican olympic team in Mexico City...elevation 7400'. We were there three weeks prior to the actual race and it only got worse each day. Former KU coach, Easton, was the Mexican national coach and he told me that they had a surprise for the world in having native Mexicans ( indians) from some high altitude villages compete in the olympics. In the end they really didn't surprise anybody.
COACH EASTON Easton was fired right after I met him because the Mexican national coaches didn't want a gringo to dictate to them. What about the 67' ncaa cross country disaster in Laramie, Wyoming? Now that was a real mistake!!! Also over 7,000'. Mike (Solomon) THIS FROM ERNIE CUNLIFFE George has posted comments from a Missouri runner regarding the altitude at Boulder for the 1961 Big 8 Meet. I don't agree as up to an 880/800 there is no handicap for altitude other than you are wiped out after the race. As proof, Ralph Doubell from Australia won the 68 Olympics and tied theWR with a 1:44.3 Now of course Doubell may have trained at altitude which the US bronze medal winner Tom Farrell certainly did in prep forMexico City. I would add that my best in 1959 was 1:49.2 and with no altitude training I placed 3rd in the 1959 AAU meet at Boulder with a 1:50 flat. Now this was 800 meters so adjusting the time would be 1:50.7 or.8 but Murphy won in 1:47.9 so I would conclude that I just had a slightly off dayas I had also run 1:50 flat for 880 yds in the NCAA meet the week before at Nebraska which of course is not at altitiude. I think now it is generally accepted that up to 2 minutes time at altitude would be about where the times are effected which of course would takein the Womens' 800 and certainly the Mens'
Jerry McFadden wrote a comment to the original story about the Big 8 meet being run at altitude and the problems he and teammates encountered. That first comment was not picked up by the editor, and thus Jerry rewrote the comment a second time and emailed it to me from memory. The rewrite appeared earlier on our blog. Just now I found his original comment and it clarifies slightly some things we saw in the earlier published email. You will see that Jerry said that the lead pack in the 880 went through the quarter in 54 and hit the 660 in 1:21. In the earlier report it seemed that Jerry also went through in 1:21 and finished with a 29 last 220. I found a result showing that Jerry ran a 1:53.5 that day for 6th place. If he ran a 29 last 220 he would not have been at 1:21 or he would have finished with a 32.5. The account below, which was Jerry's first draft doesn't imply that he was in the lead pack and gives veracity to his 29 last 220. He probably hit the 660 in 1:24.5. I have a picture of the first lap of that race and the finish sent by Neville Soll who was 5th for Oklahoma that day with the finish times below. The links to that picture and the finish picture are listed below. Kirk Hagan of KU won the race over Billy Stone of Oklahoma St. THIS IS A PHOTO OF THE 880 RUNNERS at BOULDER COMING THROUGH THE 440
L-R and eventual finish and time Billy Stone OSU (2nd 1:50.4 ) Kirk Hagan KU (1st 1:49.2), Bill Thornton KU (4th 1:51.9 ) Jerry McFadden Mizzou (6th 1:53.5) Neville Soll OU (5th 1:53.2) Grosek KSU (3rd 1:51.7) Tim Leonard (7th 1:53.7) THIS IS JERRY'S ORIGINAL COMMENT WHICH I MISSED POSTING EARLIER I survived the June 1961 Big 8 meet in Boulder. At the time, no one gave a serious thought about the effects of high altitude on the "distance" runners. Most of us flatlanders nearly croaked. It was my first Big 8 outdoor championships and I was running well all season with a 1:50.1 880 just two weeks before. The front pack went the the quarter in 54 & the 660 in 1:21 then went into staggering single file to the finish line. I limped home in 29 over the last 220, which felt like an hour. There were stories of woe like that over all the track that day. Bob Heineken, our star 2 miler went out fast in hopes of setting a school record, only to collapse with half mile to go, ending up on an oxygen bottle. The tough guys made it to the end, but without any performances to write home about. Ah yes, altitude might be something to think about... Jerry McFadden

Paul Ebert, a former OU miler sent this to us. Hi George, Paul Ebert here, At the Big Eight 1961 mile I finished 2nd to Bill Dotson in 4:15.9 and there was a scramble, as I outkicked three others for second place. After the race I was doubled over couldn't seem to catch my breath (oxygen debt) Incidently Bill Dotson was Kansas Univ. first sub 4:oo miler, It was 3:59 in 1962 His fastest (he finished 5th in race). enjoy your track info. Paul Ebert 1958-1962 univ. okla.
Ebert at NCAA Mile Eugene Oregon 1962 Ebert, Bill Dotson Kansas, Mike Fleming Nebraska, Barrie Almond Houston, Dyrol Burleson Oregon, Bill Cornell Southern Illinois, Smith BYU

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vol 2 No. 37 June, 1961


JUNE 1961

If you are a track fan of a certain age, this issue of T&FN will make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. We'll take it chronologically beginning May 20.

The Big Eight Championships are held in Boulder, Colorado. Oklahoma upsets perennial champ Kansas 99-88¼ with Oklahoma State right there at 84½. This is the first time Kansas has not won the championship since 1951. It is the first Big Eight championship for Oklahoma since.....are your ready?....1935. If you want to take a moment to sing a few verses of Boomer Sooner, we'll wait.
Oklahoma University Big 8 Champions , Boulder, Colorado 1961
Front Row: Mike Lindsay, Cal Sharpe, Neville Soll, Mark Sullivan, Tim Leonard, Paul Ebert, Don Warrick, Lee Smith, Buddy Stewart
Top Row: Bob Wilcox, Walter Myers, Richard Sinclair, Bill Noble, J.D. Martin, Coach Bill Carroll, Mark Brady, Tom Raley, Steve Swafford, E.H. Miles
(Click on photo to enlarge)
But team scores pale when compared to the world record vault of Okie State's George Davies who, after two misses at 15-10¼, clears to raise Don Bragg's record by an inch.

An aside here. There is a photo of Davies, who is 6-3, 190 and blessed with movie star good looks. Have you ever noticed that pole vaulters are the quarterbacks of track? More often than not they are broad shouldered good looking guys. Not that we have a 50 year old man crush on the guy. Just making an observation.

Given the importance of the meet, the marks are not outstanding. The best marks on the track are a conference record 46.5 440 by Colorado's Jim Heath, a 1:49.2 880 by Kansas' Kirk Hagan.

and a 14.1, 22.8 hurdle double by Kansas State's Rex Stucker. Apparently the altitude takes its toll in the distance events as Bill Dotson and Billy Mills run only 4:14.5 and 9:31.2, just good enough to win.

The Sooners, led by Mike Lindsay's weight double, 57-5½ and 164-2, garner 54 of their points in the field events.

Aside number two: Perhaps this kid, Toomey at Colorado
should find a sport better suited to his talents. He places fifth in the lows at 24.1 and fails to score in the long jump. Maybe tennis, golf or croquet would be a better fit.

Bill Toomey and Coach Frank Potts , after they figured it out. On this same day the Far West Championships are held in Corvallis, Oregon. Oregon's Harry Jerome runs 9.3 to grab a share of the 100 WR. Dyrol Burleson miles in 4:05.6 and returns to run a PR of 1:48.7 in the 880.

Four days later in Eugene Archie San Romani leads through splits of 59.0 and 1:58.5 before Burleson takes over, hitting the 1320 in 2:58.0 and hanging on to finish in 3:57.6 to break Jim Beatty's American mile record of 3:58.0. In another three days Beatty and Burleson will be in Modesto for the California Relays, but the long awaited match between them won't come about. Beatty is running the mile and Burleson is anchoring the Oregon 4 mile relay.

Now it is Saturday evening, May 27 and we are in Modesto. This meet will be remembered because it is tonight that the 27 foot barrier is broken with half an inch to spare by Ralph Boston. Each member of the overflow crowd of 11,100 has an I-was-there story to tell. Overshadowed are great performances. Hal Connolly experiments with four turns instead of three in the hammer and it pays off with a prodigious 226-0½, the third longest throw in history, only five feet short of his WR. Hayes Jones nips Don Styron in the highs, 13.6 to 13.7, but Styron returns to edge Bo Roberson in the lows 22.1 to 22.3. Dennis Johnson, Harry Jerome and Dave Styron cross the line in that order in the hundred, all running 9.4. Like his twin, Styron is not done. He returns to win the 220 in 20.7. The 880 goes out in 55.5. Jerry Siebert takes the lead into the final straight only to be passed by George Kerr. But Siebert isn't through. He regains the lead and powers to a three yard win over the great Jamaican in 1:50.2.

Dale Story of Oregon State has only been training for eight weeks after coming off an injury, but he has enough in the tank to finish the last half of the two mile in 4:17.9 to win in 8:46.9 and leave Doug Kyle and Charley Clark behind. Jim Beatty is stalked by Jim Grelle through laps of 58.2, 2:00.2 and 3:02.2. The pace doesn't pick up until the backstretch when Beatty drops the hammer and pulls away for a 3:58.8 to 4:01.3 win. His 56.6 last lap is even more impressive considering his delayed late sprint. Cordner Nelson says Beatty's last 220 had to be 26 flat.

Since the meet is the California Relays, yes, there are relays. Texas Southern wins two close ones, upsetting San Jose State in the 440, 40.2 for both, then returns to edge Abilene Christian in the 880, 1:23.6 for both.

Oregon State also wins a couple impressive races. Norm Hoffman, given a slight lead on the anchor leg, brings the baton around in 1:48.8 to cement the second fastest sprint medley ever run, 3:18.4. In the two mile relay the Beavers gamble, holding Norm Monroe out of the 880 relay and inserting him on the third leg. It pays off. OSU has a tenth on the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village and the pressure is on Monroe to open a gap because Ernie Cunliffe will be anchoring for SCVYV. He comes through. His 1:50.8 produces a three second gap for Hoffman who needs it. Though Cunliffe runs 1:48.1, the fastest two laps of the evening, Hoffman's 1:50.1 is enough to bring the Beavers home in 7:27.3.

The WR in the 4 mile relay is 16:25.2 by the Hungarian national team. Oregon plans to break it, but after two disappointing legs, it is obvious this will not happen. Indeed they may not win. Dyrol Burleson is 12 yards down to Southern Illinois' Englishman, Mike Wiggs, at the start of the anchor leg. His 57.7 opening lap closes the gap. With no chance at the record, Burley is content to follow before blowing by in the final straight. His 4:00.5, three seconds faster than Wiggs, gives the Ducks a bittersweet victory in 16:32.8.

Now it is June 2 and we are at the Compton Invitational where a crowd of 7800 sees Herb Elliot take a beating. Okay, not Herb himself – he wasn't there – but his records. Jim Grelle wins the mile in 4:02.7, but the crowd is cheering for 18 year old high school senior Tom Sullivan who breaks Elliot's world junior record (4:04.3), finishing second in 4:03.5. The assault on the great Aussie's records continues. Seventeen year old Bruce Kidd races to, in Cordner Nelson's words, “the most amazing performance, by age, of any runner in history”, a 13:56.4 5000 victory over Max Truex and Lazlo Tabori. After following Truex through mile splits of 4:28 and 9:00, with a lap and a half to go, the young Canadian takes off and leaves the Olympic veteran in his wake. His three mile time obliterated Elliot's WJR of 14:02.4. His final time lowered Kidd's own record of 14:29.9.

Abilene Christian ties USC's collegiate mile relay record as Earl Young's 46.0 brings the Texans home in 3:07.6. Ernie Cunliffe has a big evening, breaking the meet record at 800 meters (1:47.5) en route to a convincing 1:48.2 victory in the half mile. Among the scalps he collects this evening is that of Jim Beatty who finishes sixth in 1:50.2.

If you are a meet director, you want to invite Bo Roberson. He definitely gives you your money's worth. In addition to broad jumping, he ran the lows at Modesto last week. Tonight he wins the broad jump at 25-9¾ and fills his idle moments placing second in the 100 and fourth in the 200. Last seen, he was sweeping out the stands after the crowd left.

Ron Morris wins the pole vault at 15-4 as new world record holder George Davis and previous record holder Don Bragg can do no better than a tie for fourth at 15-0¾. Dallas Long bests Parry O'Brien 62-3¾ to 61-7¼ in the shot. Hal Connolly, once again proves that his performance in Rome was an aberration. His 221-1 wins by 26 feet.

Great discus competition does not required the presence of Olympic champ Al Oerter. Rink Babka and Jay Silvester are doing just fine without him, thank you. On his second throw Silvester spins a world record distance of 198-0½, but loses his balance and steps on the ring. (Why a foul is measured is not addressed.) Still he leads through five rounds with 194-1½. Babka has been throwing well all night, but now, up for the final time, it is for all the marbles. The big guy, “his injured knee encased in plastic”, readies himself, takes a deep breath, spins and fires. The spot is marked, the tape stretched out, the measurement taken and announced: 194-4½ and a three inch victory. Who needs Al Oerter to have a good time?

Now you may be saying what a great meet, but where was Ralph Boston? That would be at the NAIA championship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota supporting his team, Tennessee A&I. Well, if we are to be totally forthcoming, he is the team. He wins the broad jump at 25-6½, the hop-step-jump at 48-10¾, the highs in 13.7 and the lows in 23.2 and finishes in a tie for second in the high jump at 6-6 for TA&I's 47 points, two behind Texas Southern. Ralph earned his scholarship this day, but he doesn't get the headline in the article. That goes to a Florida A&M freshman, Robert Hayes, who adds his name to the long list of those who hold the 100 record at 9.3. For record purposes the track is measured: 100 yards and a half inch. There was some mention that he also participates in football.

Listed under Late News there are a couple AAU meets of interest. In the Middle Atlantic AAU at Villanova Frank Budd runs his second 9.3 100. The Southern Pacific AAU showcases young talent. Dallas Long, still only 20, puts it all together and comes up with three puts over 64 feet with a PR of 64-7¾. Only Bill Nieder has thrown further. High school boys give their elders a lesson. Ulis Williams of Compton HS takes the 440 in 46.5. Ralph Turner of Burroughs edges Forest Beaty of Glendale Hoover in the 220 on a curve as both run 21.0.

Inexplicably, though the AAU meets just mentioned were run on June 9 and listed under Late News, the Pacific Association AAU meet run the following day at Stanford is front page material...and justly so. Oregon failed in an attempt to break the WR in the 4 mile relay. Now it is the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village's turn. The problem is that they have virtually no competition. US 10,000 record holder Max Truex will lead off, followed by Lazlo Tabori, Ernie Cunliffe and Jim Beatty. Truex figures to be the slow leg and he is. After two laps in 2:03.1, the pace slows dramatically and he hands the baton off in 4:10.8. Tabori, after 59.7 and 2:01.0 splits, also suffers a case of the slows in the second half mile and finishes in a disappointing 4:08.9. Still with Cunliffe up and Beatty on deck, 16:25.2 looks beatable. Ernie C. does his job, splitting 58.9, 2:00.0 and 3:01.9 and kicking home in 61.1 to run 4:03.0. All that is needed now is a 4:02.4 from Beatty. The recently dethroned American record holder at this distance is out well, 58.6, but a 62.7 puts him at 2:01.3. The third lap is even slower, 63.2 (3:04.5) and now the typical Jim Beatty kick is needed. His “usual blazing surge” isn't there and the last go round takes 59.3, producing a 4:03.8 leg and a 16:26.5 final time, an American record, but a disappointment just the same.

The season is heating up in Europe. Two world records are broken. The USSR's Grigoriy Taran runs the steeplechase in 8:31.2 and Italy's Carlo Lievore throws the javelin 284-7 (or 84.74 as they say in Europe).

We here at the Vest would be remiss were we not to give you an informational advantage the next time the conversation at the Dew Drop in turns, as it inevitably will, to track and field. Ask your buddies if they can recall the last time a major invitational had sprint fields consisting only of white guys. Oh, what the heck, all events having only white guys. Allow sufficient time for the significance of this to set in while they ponder. The answer would be the 1961 Meet of Champions in Houston held on June 9, well before racial enlightenment. When black athletes found that seating would be segregated, they boycotted the meet. Being the possessor of this sort of inside information means you will not have to pay for a round the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 36 Alice Arden Hodge and Russ Hodge , mother and son Olympians

Russ Hodge

Alice Arden Hodge, mother of Russ Hodge and herself an Olympic high jumper for the US team in Berlin, 1936

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alice Jean Arden-Hodge (July 23, 1914 – March 1, 2012) was an American athlete who competed in the women's high jump event at the Olympic games in Berlin in 1936. Raised in Long Island, New York, Arden won ten athletic letters during her high school career across several different sports. The only woman from the New York City area to have been selected for the 1936 Summer Olympics women's team, Arden placed ninth in the high jump event and never competed in the sport again. Soon after, she married basketball player Russell Hodge and together they had three children, one of whom was Russ Hodge, a decathlete at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. As of 2008, Arden and Hodge's participation make them the only mother-son Olympians in American history.

Arden was born on July 23, 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Long Island, New York.[2] Her father, Ray Arden, was an inventor who held over 400 patents. During her athletic career at Baldwin High School in New York, she won ten athletic letters in basketball, field hockey and athletics, and broke Babe Didriksen's high jump record. Arden had made what would become the best jump of her career in 1935, when she achieved a height of 1.613 m (5'3½").

Olympic career

Arden finished second in the Olympic trials in Providence, Rhode Island, behind only Annette Rogers. She was selected to participate at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, the only female team member from the New York City area to participate in those games. Although $700 were raised for her trip, she was forced to return $200 due to Amateur Athletic Union regulations. She placed an equal ninth in the women's high jump event, with a height of 1.50 m., although this would have been eighth had it been discovered earlier that Dora Ratjen was actually a male. During the games, she forged strong friendships with many athletes and became lifelong friends with the head of the Turkish delegation. The Olympic Games, however, was her final competition.
Alice Arden back row third from left (without hat)

Later life

Inspired by the associations that she made at the Olympic Games, Arden became involved in numerous Olympic committees, working towards increased female participation in the events. She played basketball for the Long Island Ducklings, where she met Russel "Rusty" Hodge, a semi-professional player. Hodge, a center for the Liberty Emeralds, and Arden, also a center, were married in 1937. They had a son, Russ Hodge, in 1939 and moved from Monticello, New York to Roscoe, New York that same year. There, the Hodges operated a dairy farm and, later, furniture and gravel stores. Arden had a total of three children.
The younger Hodge competed in the decathlon at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he placed ninth. On his mother's 52nd birthday, he set a world record in a decathlon event in Los Angeles. Arden's husband died in 2001. In August 2003, both Arden and her son were honoured with the Sullivan County Historical Society "History Maker" award. They are the only mother-son Olympians in the history of the United States. Still active in swimming at the age of 90, Arden died on March 1, 2012 at the age of 97.

Russ Hodge is considered by some athletics experts as the having the most talent of any decathlete ever, but one who never fulfilled his almost unlimited potential. Bigger than almost any decathlete of his era at 6-3 (1.90) and 225 lbs. (103 kg.), he had seemingly incongruous personal bests in the 100 of 10.2 (1970) and in the shot put of 18.56 (60-10¾) (1969). His only Olympic appearance in 1964 resulted in a ninth-place finish but in 1966, he became world record holder with 8,230 points (8,119 on the 1985 tables), narrowly defeating his arch-rival, Bill Toomey. Despite his immense talent, Hodge was often injured, which likely kept him from reaching his potential. He twice competed at the Pan American Games, finishing 4th in 1963 and 2nd in 1971. His mother, Alice Arden, high jumped at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Personal Bests: 100y – 9.6 (1966); 100 – 10.2 (1970); 400 – 47.9 (1970); LJ – 7.69 (25-2¾) (1966); SP – 18.56 (60-10¾); DT – 53.13 (174-4) (1969); JT – 64.49 (211-7) (1966); Dec – 8119 (1966).

At the 1964 OTs Hodge  ran 4:12.7.  At the Olympics he ran 4:24.9 for 1500m and fifth best  the event and 9th overall.  To add to the confusion the AAU decathlon was scored on older scoring tables and Hodge did not make the team at that event.  Revised tables at the OTs put him on the team even though he tied for third.    See   US Olympic Trials History by Richard Hymans.  It is not clear if the 4:12.7 was a personal best.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vol 2 No. 35 Remarkable Boomers

Remarkable Boomers
I think we are not too far out of line to be talking about modern day Masters runners, because they were young adults in the 1950's and 60's and are still at it today.

This Monday April 2, 2012 the New York Times ran a feature on a Masters runner Kathy Martin, 62 years, who has set numerous WR’s for 1500 and 3000 meters and longer events. Kathy like many other top Masters runners started out late in life to be an athlete. I’ve always felt that the best Masters runners rarely competed at high levels when they were younger therefore having fewer injuries from youth carrying over and hindering performance later in life. However at the end of the three page article on Kathy there were several more runners and jumpers featured to a lesser extent, but some of these folks were not novices to track and field or other athletic competition. Example: Bob Lida 75 year old former Big 8 indoor 440 champ from the U. of Kansas (Do any of you old Jayhawks remember him?) I confirmed in the record book that Bob was indeed Big 8 champ in 49.5 seconds on the old board track in Kansas City. At the age of 75 he won the US Masters championships at 200 meters at Bloomington, IN last week in an incredible 27.5 seconds. He also won the 60 meters in 8.49 seconds.

Another former warrior Phil McConkey 55 years old, who was a kick returner and wide receiver for the New York Giants and played in the 1986 Super Bowl won the same two distances as Bob Lida, but in the younger age group of 55-59 his times were 7.79 seconds and 25.98 seconds.

Less of the former warrior category but still a remarkable athlete, Nolan Shaheed, 62 years, a jazz trumpeter by profession, a few years ago became the first 60 year old to break 5:00 minutes for the mile indoors in 4:57.06. He also set a WR for 1500 indoors at 4:35.07 in the 60-64 age group.

A truly outstanding performer on the women’s side is Jeanne Daprano 75 years, who has run under 7:00 minutes for the mile after she turned 70 in 6:47.91. In the 75-79 age group she has clocked WR’s for 400 meters (1:21.28) , 800 meters (3:18.48) and the Mile (7:13.51).

(Click on Photos to Enlarge Them)

Phil McConkey and Bob Lida

Paul and Brenda Babits and Nolan Shaheed

Paul Babits twice qualified for the US Olympic trials and now coaches at a vaulting school in Ft. Wayne, IN.  He's coached his formerly nonathletic wife Brenda to an 8' 6" vault at the age of 51.

Philippa Raschker Jeanne Daprano

Philippa at age 65 set the WR for pentathalon in the 65-69 age group and has won more than 70 gold medals at world masters championships in multiple events and was twice a finalist for the Sullivan Award.

Vol. 2 NO. 34 Bob Day, R.I.P.

March 15, 2012

One of my high school team mates sent me this email today.
Mike Solomon


At 9:40 AM, my friend Bob Day lost his race with Father Time, as will we all some day. The running community lost a great ambassador and I lost a friend who was sincere, respectful, funny, honest and genuinely dedicated to the athletes and friends who knew him. Bob was a UCLA Hall of Fame member and the 12th American to break the 4 minute mile barrier (and did so six times), with a best of 3:56. He represented the USA in Mexico City in 1968 as our fastest qualifier in the 5000 meters ( with a personal best of 13:40! ) and spent a lifetime supporting the running communities in San Diego and Orange County, spending the last 8 years of his life coaching Cross Country and Track at Beckman High School. Please keep his wife Jenny and his daughters, Amanda and Dava in your thoughts and prayers. Bob was 67 years young.


Bobby Porter

By David Wharton, Los Angeles Times

March 17, 2012
It was relatively early in Bob Day's track career at UCLA and he was scheduled to race against one of the best two-milers in the nation. His chances of winning seemed slim, so the coach told him to focus on second place and earn valuable points for the team.

"He just kind of looked at me," former Bruin Coach Jim Bush said Thursday. "Then he went out and won … and from that day on, I never said he couldn't do something."

Over the next two years, Day established himself as the greatest distance runner in the history of UCLA's storied program, setting records in multiple events, leading the Bruins to a 1966 national championship and representing the U.S. at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Day died of bladder cancer Thursday at his home in Irvine, his wife said. He was 67.

Born Robert Winston Day on Oct. 31, 1944, the Southern California native grew up in San Marino. He worked in the healthcare industry for many years before becoming a coach at Beckman High School in Irvine, where he built the track and cross country programs from scratch.

"He was so happy," Bush said. "He loved it."

During his college career, from 1963 to 1966, he set school records at 1,500 and 5,000 meters. His times of 3:56.4 in the mile and 8:33 in the two-mile were national records at the time.

After setting the mile mark, which stood as a school best for four decades, Day told the Times: "Competition always gives you an added lift."

Bush recalled the lanky athlete as a hard worker who was smart enough to adjust to different strategies. Day also was considered the top cross-country runner in the nation during his junior and senior seasons at UCLA, where he majored in business administration. He was captain of the national championship team, but a heel injury kept him out of the title meet.

After graduating, Day won the 1968 USA Track & Field Senior National crown in the 5,000 meters and competed in Europe until an injury forced him to retire. He moved to Irvine in the early 1980s with his family.

Each spring, UCLA's best distance runner receives the Bob Day Award. He was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Day is survived by his wife, Jenny; and daughters Dava Voss and Amanda Day.

Coach Bob Day

Vol. 2 No. 33 A Brief Conversation About Attitude and Forebearance

Conversation George Brose and Pete Brown
Did you ever wonder whether guys like you and me ran without the self confidence that a lot of the great runners had? Ernie's going out fast , and Filbert Bayi as well to me were indicative that they had the attitude that they could do it, and if anybody wanted to try staying with them, let it them try. Some could, and responded to the challenge, but I'm sure a lot of them who might have, didn't, because they lacked that inner confidence and willingness to sacrifice their bodies to that extent for just a few minutes or seconds. When I was at Oklahoma , we had a shot putter ,Mike Lindsay, who was 4th at Rome for Great Britain . He told me about meeting Halberg the night before the 5000 final and asking him if he thought he could win. Murray 's reply was something like, "Well I don't know if I will win, but I do plan to break the world record." We know now that he didn't break the WR, but he broke the field with three laps to go in the 90 degree heat. He had to have incredible confidence to try doing such a move. George Brose

Well said, George, and Steve Prefontaine is the best example ever among US athletes for supreme and undeniable self-confidence.
Pete Brown
Bowerman sent three of his best distance men down to Coos Bay to recruit Prefonatine when he was still in HS and they went for a ten mile run on the beach. He announced beforehand, in all seriousness, that he would take it easy on them if they needed him to. He had some big brass balls for sure.
Pete Brown

I think there was a scene about that in one of the two movies made about him. George

The Bowerman book by Kenny Moore, which I thought was terrific, alludes to it as well.
Pete Brown
Ernie Cunliffe was cranking in that 1000 to go by in 1:51.3 (faster than my PR of 1:52.1) and come back with 26.2. Pete Brown

Care to comment? Click on Comments below this post or any other post.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 32 May , 1961

MAY 1961

May? Wait a minute, the last entry was March, what happened to April? Good question. I have all the issues organized in folders, but there is no April. Think my mom tossed it along with all my baseball cards. (Do you have any idea what a Mickey Mantle rookie card would be worth today? Don't get me started.) Anyway we are going to skip over April just like it never existed.
Here's your Mickey Mantle rookie card, Roy, that'll be $10,000 to my account.

That said, we have the West Coast, Drake, Penn, Mt. SAC and Kansas Relays and more. We will take them chronologically.

April 22 finds us in Lawrence, Kansas for the Kansas Relays where Baylor wins the 440 and 880 relays and takes five individual events. Jim Grelle runs a 4:07.4 mile, leaving Ernie Cunliffe and Jim Dupree in his wake. Cliff Cushman takes the 400H in 51.0 to beat 120HH winner Rex Stucker. The 10,000 is definitely not the event of the day. The winning time is 34:23 and there are only two finishers, probably better described as survivors.

The next weekend we have the three big relay meets. We'll start in Philadelphia and work our way west. Abilene Christian has come east for the Penn Relays, but things don't go as planned. Earl Young looks good anchoring the 440R to a meet record 40.9, but though he brings the stick home in 20.1 on the 880R, Frank Budd's 20.0 third leg for Villanova has created too much of a gap and the Wildcats win 1:24.8 to 1:25.0. Michigan takes the 2M and 4M relays while Yale wins the sprint and distance medleys. The big field event news is that Don Bragg is beaten by Villanova frosh Rolando Cruz, both at 15-0.

Des Moines and the Drake Relays is next stop on our trip across the country on this the last weekend in April.
Drake Stadium about 1907 (Click on picture for an enlargement.)

The big news here is the record breaking performance of the Western Michigan four mile relay team. Make that “records” breaking, as the Broncos' 16:50.4 effort breaks the Drake record of 17:15.2 by Oregon in 1959, the collegiate record of 16:53.2 by Occidental and the US record of 16:52.6 set in 1952 by the national team of Montes, Druetzler, Santee and Barnes. The 4:07.0 third leg by John Bork is the decider.
John Bork, Penn Relays?
John Bork Today
Bork's 1:48.7 split in the distance medley is instrumental in the Broncos winning that event also. Kansas, paced by Bill Dotson's 1:51.0 anchor, wins the two mile relay with the fastest time in the nation, 7:28.6. The best marks come in the field events where Ralph Boston leaps 26-1½ and George Davis, after two failures at the opening height of 13-6, vaults a personal best of 15-6 before failing at a world record 15-10.
Rex Cawley

And now to Walnut, California where the third annual Mt. SAC Relays provides a show that puts the two traditional meets to shame. It is a very good day if you are or were a USC Trojan. Indeed Rex Cawley and Bob Avant are named the outstanding track and field athletes. Avant becomes the fourth American 7 foot high jumper (and second SC 7 footer behind Dumas). Cawley outfinishes Eddie Southern in the 400 hurdles, 50.6 to 50.7 and splits 20.5 in the 880 relay as the Trojans win easily in 1:23.6, but the heroics are still to come. With the Trojans trailing Arizona State on the anchor leg of the mile relay,

Cawley takes the baton three yards down to Arizona's Mal Spence. Spence matches the 46.4 third leg split run by his twin, Mel, but it isn't enough to hold off Cawley whose 45.4 brings the Trojans home in 3:07.6 for a new collegiate record. A-State's 3:07.9 equals the old mark.

There is more USC flavor to the field events as current Trojan Dallas Long takes the shot at 61-9½ and former SC star Rink Babka takes over the world lead in the discus with a 194-7½. But the guy they beat in each of those events is the star of the day. Army lieutenant Jay Silvester produces a 61-1¾ PR in the shot and then PRs again in the discus with a throw of 192-5½ for the greatest weight double in history. Hal Connolly shows he is back on track in the hammer, as his 220-8 is 35 feet better than second.

There are some familiar faces in the open events and some not so familiar. Olympians Jerry Siebert and Ernie Cunliffe tangle in the 880 with Siebert winning by half a second in 1:50.7. Jim Beatty knocks off a 4:04.9 mile to easily dispose of Lazlo Tabori. The open 440 provides a couple pleasant surprises as Keith Thomassen edges Canadian Bill Crothers 46.1 to 46.2, but the real story is their improvement. Thomassen knocks half a second of his best, while Crothers lowers his PR by a jaw dropping 1.2 seconds.

Dennis Johnson, who has run 9.3 four times this season, finally gets his 9.2, well, sort of. There is an aiding wind of 11.2 mph and the notation that he had a rolling start. Remember the comment in the January entry that Bobby Poynter had left some personal problems behind at San Jose State and now was enrolled at Los Angeles State? Well, apparently things changed – perhaps explained in the missing April issue – because he runs the second leg of San Jose's winning 440 relay (40.5) and places fifth in the 100.

The following is information collected from columns. There were no meets at the LA Coliseum last year and there will be none this year. Something about the Dodgers playing baseball there.

In 1932 LA Coliseum

LA Coliseum for Baseball

By next year the team will have its own stadium and track can resume in the Coliseum. Bert Nelson makes two suggestions: “Make every effort to put in the fastest, best wearing all-weather track possible – - and protect it from desecration forevermore.” When that is done, he says it should be an oval with no extension running back into the tunnel for a 220 straightaway. Previously 220's were started well up the tunnel and spectators couldn't see the runners until the race was underway....Olympic 100 meter champion, Armen Hary, is retiring because of a knee injury.....Manhattan coach George Eastman says that ACC's Earl Young will run a 44.0 400 before he graduates. No pressure on Earl. .....
Bill Neider

Last we heard, Olympic shot put champion Bill Nieder had tested for the role of Jack Dempsey in an upcoming film. Bill, a big strong guy, apparently has all the qualifications except boxing ability. Obviously the fine line between boxing in a movie and real life has become blurred.

Name: Bill Nieder
Born: 1933-08-10
Nationality: US American
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA
Height: 6′ 3″ / 191cm
Boxing Record: click

1960 Olympic shot put Champion, after his only pro bout he observed "when you throw an iron ball it doesn't come back at you". A graduate of the University of Kansas. Bill was an all-round athlete; highjump 6-1, ran 100 in 10 flat. He has bowled a highgame of 224.

Amateur boxing record: 6 - 0 , All 6 wins by KO, no defeats, no draws.
Pro boxing record 0-1, he fought James Wyley (7-17-3 lifetime) on May 15, 1961 at the Alhambra A.C. in Philadelphia, PA. Neider was KO'd at 2:10 of the first round. Went on to announce his retirement from the ring 3 weeks later on June 10, 1961.

He tests the professional boxing waters and sinks like a rock as his first professional fight ends with big Bill on the receiving end of a first round knockout.....
Neider came to Kansas on a football scholarship , but injured his knee in his varsity debut against Texas Christian and never played again.
Steak dinner for the record: Blake Hocking, left, got to meet and have a steak dinner with former Olympic gold medalist and three-time world record holder Bill Nieder recently in Lawrence. Nieder had always said he would treat the person who broke his high school record to a steak dinner, and he flew here from California. Nieder called Blake several months ago to congratulate him on beating his high school record in shot put that had stood at Lawrence High School for 59 years. Hocking threw the shot put 62 feet, 9 inches — 2 feet further than Nieder's previous record. .

Loose lips sink ships and apparently Swedish milers as well. In a bylined article in a Swedish magazine, Dan Waern reveals that he has received under-the-table payments for running in meets.
Waern and Young Swedish Admirers

Now, thanks to those busybodies at the Swedish tax assessment board, he is facing a possible $10,000 fine. That no one finds out about secret under-the-table payments is sort of what the under-the-table part is all about, Dan.

Dan Waern, Percy Cerutty, Herb Elliot

V 11 N. 3 "Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil Zatopek" by Pat Butcher, a Book Review by Paul O'Shea

When we come across books to review, we know that there is a particular skill set needed to be fair and honest and at the same time literary...