Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 46 February, 1962, Still More WR's in New Zealand and a 16 Foot Pole Vault

FEBRUARY, 1962   Records are falling right and left, indoors and out. On January 27 John Uelses vaults 15-10¼ to break Don Bragg's indoor record by ¾ of an inch and equal George Davies' outdoor record. But the best is yet to come. Six days later in the Millrose Games he becomes the first 16 foot vaulter by a ¼ inch. The next night in the Boston AA meet he tacks on another half inch.
In doing some extra checking I noticed that Uelses stated once that he was the first Marine into orbit, preceeding John Glenn by two weeks. After leaving the Corps, he enrolled at LaSalle in Philadelphia and won 3 NCAA championships. He also played soccer for LaSalle.
Peter Snell isn't satisfied with his recent 3:54.4 world record mile. Just a week later in an 880 in Christchurch, New Zealand he follows quarter miler Barry Robinson through 24.8 and 51.0 splits before taking the lead. The 660 comes up in 1:16.9, the fastest ever recorded in competition. The report of the race says he “wobbled” a bit coming off the final curve, but as he is leading by 30 yards, this probably isn't noticeable to the competition. He passes the 800 in 1:44.3 before breasting the tape in 1:45.1. The magnitude of this performance is evident in that he has broken Roger Moen's 800 mark by 1.4 seconds and Tom Courtney's 880 record by 1.7 seconds. Moens cables, “Fantastic, terrific, congratulations!” That would be the same Roger Moens who, just last year, said that Snell would not be the one to break his record because he was too heavy. To view this race and post race interviews with Arthur Lydiard and Peter Snell I refer you to www.nzonscreen.com/title/pictorial-parade-no123-1962 The race starts at 3 minutes into the link. In the previous posting I had asked Peter about his views on grass tracks, and in the above film both he and Lydiard have some things to say about grass. Within one week Peter Snell has set world records at a mile, 800 meters and 880 yards. Indeed he is the first to hold those records at the same time since Great Britain's Sydney Wooderson. Now what do you do for an encore? Well, there's still the indoor season going on in the United States. What about taking a shot at Ernie Cunliffe's 1000 yard record next week in the LA Times meet? As with last week's 800 and 880, Snell provides a 2 for 1 special. There is no description of the race other than the amazing Kiwi leads from the gun and eclipses the 880 world record in 1:50.2 en route to a 2:06.0 clocking, taking 1.9 seconds off Ernie's record. To recap, a 3:54.4 world record in the mile, a week later WRs at 880 yards and 800 meters and the following week indoor records at 880 yards and 1000 yards. Five world records in fifteen days, undoubtedly the greatest middle distance running the world has ever seen.
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ WHAT ERNIE REMEMBERS//////////////////////////////////// What do you do to try and win after getting your butt kicked by Snell so many times? At our 4th meet on the tour which was at Invercargill I decided to lead a very slow lst lap, which we hit in 59. For the only time on the tour the crowd BOOed us and someone in the stands yelled out "Get on with it." So I did, sprinting a fast, for me, 54+ last lap but of course Snell outdid this with a 53 for a winning time of 1:52.2, no doubt his slowest 800 of the year as he cruised by me on the last turn. I was 2nd in 1:53.5 and Dupree 3rd in 1:53.8.///////////////////////// So for the 5th meet scheduled for Christchurch I went to PLAN B. Bork and I went Salmon fishing!! My lst victory on the tour as I caught a 17 1/2 lb 35 " salmon while Bork caught a 13.5 lb one. Jim Dupree was also busy away from the track as early one morning while working out on a beach near Christchurch he assisted in saving a man who was drowning in the surf. His lifesaving feat was widely written up in the newspapers and this was the only way the rest of our group found out about it because Dupress modestly kept it to himself. /////////////////////////////////// As promised here is the story about my 3 PRs. (actually 4) Dave Edstrom scratched the last two meets at Christchurch and Wellington due to a leg strain. Thus instead of my running the 880 I volunteered to enter the pentathlon as the event was going to be cancelled since there were only 2 New Zealand athletes entered. As a bit of background I had once competed in a pentathlon at Stanford in July 61 against Bill Toomey who Roy has suggested might be looking for an event in which he might do fairly well. Bill won 4 of the 5 events and I easily took the 1500 and scored a little over 2700 points vs Bill's 3300+ as we went 1st and 2nd against a fairly weak field. At Christchurch I got about 17 1/2 feet in the long jump, not a PR, 80'+ in the discus which was a PR, 121'+ in the javelin, another PR. I figured I had the New Zealanders pretty well set up for the last two events as they barely kept from laughing at my poor weight event performances. I had a great 200 with a PR in 22.8. The final event was the 1500 which broke up a tight battle for 2nd as I ran 3:55+ to split the two New Zealand athletes for 2nd with a point total, also a PR barely of 2725 points. I immediately retired from all future multi events with bragging rights of a 2nd to Bill Toomey and a 2nd in an International Competition. /////////////////////////// The 880/800 was covered by Roy. There were 20,000 people at the meet. I actually felt so good after the pentathlon that I regretted not jumping into the race as I know I could have carried the pace following Robinson's 50+ when Snell passed him to lead going down the backstretch with about a 30 yd lead at the 660. I wish I had been there for I normally accelerate through the 440 and might have been able to hit the 660 in a 1:16/1:17 pace to give Peter some competition and force him to sprint to a faster finish while I dogged it down the final straight. WRs of 1:44.3ms and 1:45.1 yds with Dupree a distant 2nd in 1:49.6. Bork (too much salmon fishing?) was 3rd in 1:53.5 ///////////////////////////////////////////////// Clearly the best shot putters in the world for the past couple years have been Parry O'Brien, Bill Nieder, Dallas Long and Dave Davis. Those were The Big Four. No one else need apply......until Gary Gubner arrived on the scene. On February 2 in the Millrose Games the 19 year old NYU student demolishes O'Brien's indoor record by 8¾ inches with a prodigious 63-10¼. Two weeks later at the New York AC meet he destroys that mark with a throw of 64-11¾, the second longest throw in history behind Nieder's 65-7 outdoor mark. Welcome to the club, Gary. Jim Beatty joins the aforementioned world record holders as he breaks the indoor record in the mile with a 3:58.9 mark in the Times meet. Again, details are lacking other than he passes 1500 meters in 3:43.2. Bert Nelson's column is devoted to the use of the fiberglass pole: Does it provide an advantage over the metal pole? Should it be banned? Should the present design of the fiberglass pole be “frozen” thereby allowing no more improvements? Should there be any limitation on future designs? Should the event be eliminated? Laboratory tests conducted by Johns Mansville show that the resiliency, vibration and thrust of the fiberglass pole are similar to those of the now outdated bamboo pole. If this is so, why has the bamboo pole been cast aside and the fiberglass pole is now producing prolific gains? Bert fears for the future. What if scientists produce a pole that will bend 180 degrees so that a vaulter can stand in front of the bar, bend his pole and be flipped into the air? He concludes that the fairest solution is to freeze the pole as it is now, but allow other materials to catch up with the fiberglass. A survey of notable coaches and athletes results in an overwhelming opinion that the fiberglass pole should be allowed. Cal's Brutus Hamilton says the pole should be allowed unless further improvements make it dangerous. Stanford's Payton Jordan says it is a logical improvement just like all-weather tracks, lighter shoes and hard surfaces for the shot and discus. Foothill College's Vern Wolfe is in favor of freezing the pole as it is now. “If some limitations are not made, we will eventually see extreme circumstances.” Oregon's Bill Bowerman, the chairman of the NCAA rules committee, says whether the pole is an aid, depends on the vaulter. He also cites improvements in throwing and running surfaces. Ralph Higgins at Oklahoma State also votes no on a ban. He feels metal alloys will catch up. And finally, we hear from J. Flint Hanner, the coach of Dutch Warmerdam. “If this pole needed a ruling concerning its use, the action should have been taken when it was first used in Tulare in 1951. (Who knew?) It would seem to me if legislation were adopted now, it would be by coaches and athletes with a personal reason for their decisions. The javelin certainly went through the same evolution and nothing was done except adopt specifications necessary to uniformity. This may be needed concerning the glass pole.”////////////// Some vaulters are pretty much forced into retirement , such as J.D. Martin, because they haven't made a fiberglass pole that can hold his 6'4" 215 pound frame. Fortunately J.D. is multi-talented and can move on to the decathalon where he wins the Pan Am games in 1963. Before he can try for the 1964 Olympics, the opportunity to coach at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, comes his way, and he choses retirement from competition. His coach Bill Carroll decided to go into banking and the job was wide open for J.D. He'll be head coach at OU for another 37 years. ed. ////////////// It is not too late to get in on the T&FN European Championship tour held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia September 12-16. There is a choice of three tours with optional extensions throughout Europe starting at $775 including round trip jet New York – London, train or plane to Belgrade, housing, tickets, some meals an the famed T&FN celebrity banquets.
Sydney Wooderson and the great Walter George, British WR holder in the mile in the 19th century We mention Sydney Wooderson in this posting, because Sydney was the only person to hold the WR in the Mile, 800, and 880 prior to Peter Snell accomplishing that feat. This is the obituary of Sydney Wooderson which appeared in the British paper THE GUARDIAN//////////////////////////// OBITUARY Sydney Wooderson by John Rodda The Guardian, Tuesday 2 January 2007 Sydney Wooderson, who has died at the age of 92, must often have wondered about Olympic gold, the first four-minute mile and more world records; had it not been for Adolf Hitler he might have achieved all these goals. Instead, this most unlikely looking winner, 5ft 6ins in height and weighing 8st 13lbs, came to prominence at a time when British sporting fans needed a "good little 'un". Wooderson epitomised the amateur athlete of the last century, combining fair play and honesty with dedication, particularly to his club Blackheath Harriers. He came back from the 1936 Berlin Olympics injured and without a prize, but would surely have won medals in Tokyo four years later or in Helsinki in 1944. War obliterated all that, but Wooderson gave substance to conjecture, for having won the European 1500m title in 1938, he took the 5,000m in 1946 one week before his 32nd birthday. Eighteen months later, he stretched his competitive range in winning the English Cross Country Union championship across a hilly nine-mile course in Sheffield. In that triumph, any remaining Olympic hope was extinguished with an achilles tendon injury. Wooderson had heralded his talent by setting the 880 yards world record time of 1min 49.2sec (and the 800 metres of 1min 48.4sec) in the same race in 1937, and the one mile world record of 4min 6.4sec the following year. He won the AAA mile title in five consecutive years from 1935, and set a world best for three-quarters of a mile with 2min 59.5sec - tangible evidence that a four-minute mile was possible. His best remembered appearance came in August 1945, when 54,000 people, starved of international sport, crammed into White City, London, to watch his mile race against Arne Andersson and Gunder Hagg. The neutral Swedes had enjoyed a competitive sporting life, playing ping-pong with the world mark, bringing it down to 4min 1.4sec. London-born Wooderson, first as a fireman fighting the blitz and then as an army engineer, had just managed to race at charity meetings. Moreover, he had recently recovered from rheumatic fever, after four months in hospital and being told he would never run again. That diagnosis was put to rest on that August bank holiday. About 5,000 people, frustrated at house full signs, broke down two doors and poured through. Among them were a Mr Bannister and his 15-year-old son Roger, who in his book First Four Minutes (1955), wrote: "We all have our sports heroes and Wooderson from that day became mine. I admired him as much for his attitude to running as for the feats he achieved." British hopes revealed their fragility when the tall, powerful-looking Andersson lined up alongside the diminutive Englishman. The Swede did the front running to burn off the Wooderson finish; the Englishman made his challenge at the beginning of the final lap and led until the last straight, when the Swede's fitness and pace devoured thousands of hopes. Their return meeting in Gothenburg after a month's concentrated training was a closer affair, with Wooderson holding Andersson until the final 50m and running his fastest time, 4min 4.2sec, with a new British 1500m record on the way of 3min 48.4sec. In athletics circles, Wooderson had signalled what might be coming when, as an 18-year-old schoolboy at Sutton Valence in Sevenoaks, he won a mile in 4min 29.8sec, the fastest time by a person of his age. Yet while Wooderson became a sporting name, he was never a celebrity; athletics was his hobby and he regarded his foremost responsibility as being to Blackheath Harriers. He was always a team member ready to run or support; he broke his world records not at big White City events but at club meetings on London University's Motspur Parktrack in Surrey. He missed the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney because he was taking his solicitor's exams and could not afford time for two long boat journeys. In 1946 Wooderson turned to the three miles, won the AAA title with a British record time, and then took the European title in Oslo with a demonstration of last-lap pace; he took the lead with 250m remaining and won by seven, with such distinguished names as Willy Slykhuis of Holland, Gaston Reiff (Belgium) and a young Emile Zatopek (Czechoslovakia) adrift. That was almost the end of his track career, but his passion for running did not subside, and in 1948 came that cross-country title. A few months later in the Olympic Games in London, the 5,000m was won by Reiff, in a time seven seconds slower than the one Wooderson achieved in beating him in 1946. By then Wooderson was officiating at Blackheath club meetings or working as a solicitor in an office in the City of London. He put on his spikes again in 1969, as centenary president of Blackheath, running in a national inter-club 100 x one mile race (only the Commonwealth/Empire could dream up such a race. ed.), while at the 40th anniversary dinner of the first four-minute mile in 1994, Wooderson drew the most sustained applause. He is survived by his wife Pamela, whom he married in 1950, and their son and daughter. · Sydney Charles Wooderson, athlete, born August 30 1914; died December 21 2006
Sydney Wooderson defeating Jack Lovelock
Wooderson being carried off by his peers after breaking Glenn Cunningham's WR in the Mile at 4:06 3/5 at Motspur Park.
Wooderson being interviewed on BBC by Harold Abrahams
Wooderson in his later years Wooderson's career was certainly limited by WWII, but he managed to still be running at international levels after the war and was kept off the 1948 British team by an injury incurred during the British AAA cross country championships the previous autumn. He was considered for selection as the torch bearer on the final leg into the stadium, which would have been fitting recognition to his long career, however he was left out for a lesser known athlete who was considered to be more attractive. This sounds almost Germanic in some officious way of thinking. Prince Phillip was also considered along with Wooderson and was also discounted. /////// http://www.britishpathe.com/search/query/Wooderson Films of some of Wooderson's races can be found at the british pathe site.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 45 January , 1962, a New World Record for the Mile

JANUARY 1962 Wait a minute, the last entry was July 1961. What happened to August through December? Your hard working reporter can only assume that his ex-wife got those in the divorce. Anyway I don't have them, so let's not worry about what might have been and move forward. This is a minimal issue in terms of the quantity of meets, but one race shocks the track and field world. Let's travel to Wanganui, New Zealand. It is a windless January 27. The track is grass and 385 yards. The mile is about to start. (The description of the race is so brief that your reporter cheated a bit and got most of the details from the February issue.) The field is comprised of Barry Cossar, Allen Shaw, American Ernie Cunliffe, Englishman Bruce Tulloh, Australian Albie Thomas and New Zealand's Olympic champions Peter Snell and Murray Halberg. Apparently Cossar is the designated pacesetter. He takes the field through a 60.0 quarter. For whatever reason Snell gets off slowly, trailing the field at the 220 in 31.7, before coming alive and moving to third at the quarter reached in 60.7. He moves to second behind Cossar at the half reached in 2:00.6 for Snell. None of this portends what is about to happen. Snell has never broken four minutes, indeed his best is 4:01.3 run on New Year's Day. He is on pace to equal that, no more. At the 930 yard mark he takes the lead. With two laps left and 990 yards covered, he is two yards up on Halberg with Tulloh another two yards back. On the backstretch Snell increases the pace, but Tulloh is game, passing Halberg and moving to within a yard of the Olympic 800 champion. The ¾ mile mark is passed at 2:59.6. At 1350 yards Tulloh makes a move which may have made this such a memorable race. He passes Snell and leads around the penultimate curve. Those who were lucky enough to be in attendance likely will always remember what happens next. Snell throws down an unbelievable burst. P.N. Heidenstrom writes, “Snell wings into action and coming off the turn he thunders past the Englishman. In the length of that 50 yard straight Snell gains 20 yards. Around the last turn and into the straight Snell is a powerhouse in action.” The 1500 is passed in 3:39.8. The final 120 yards take only 14.6 seconds, three tenths faster than Elliot in his world record 3:54.5. Those three tenths are the difference. The official watches read 3:54.2, 3:54.4 and 3:54.5 with the alternate watch at 3:54.2. The official time is 3:54.4, the new world record. Tulloh is rewarded for his courage with his first four minute mile, 3:59.3. Thomas runs third at 4:03.5. Halberg is fourth at 4:07.2. Cunliffe and Shaw are fifth and sixth at 4:14.3. Snell's 220 splits are 31.7, 29.0 (60.7), 30.0, 29.9 (59.9, 2:00.6), 29.9, 29.1 (59.0, 2:59.6), 28.1, 26.7 (54.8). His last 1320 is 2:53.7, the fastest ever recorded. His last half is 1:53.8. Snell says, “When I finished the third lap I knew I was well within it. I never felt better in my life so I really ran.” Herb Elliot is quoted as saying, “My congratulations to him. I've held the record for three years and knew it would have to go sometime. I thought Peter would be the one to do it.” The week before this race in Auckland, Snell establishes New Zealand records of 1:47.7 and 1:48.2 at 800 and 880. Before going to Peter Snell's recollections of this race, Ernie Cunliffe has several observations. George. You will feature Peter Snell's comments and I am merely sending some comments from the standpoint of someone in the race, I think I was, who watched it from a loooooong way back. Actually this is good to split up the mile and the 880/800 WR as Roy will surely cover the last WR at Christchurch in the Feb 62 issue. My 3 PRs cited were in discus, javelin and 200. Snell's of course were WR in 880 and 800. Here goes, Ernie: 17,999 people at Wanganui on January 27th were in for a treat while the 18,000th person, myself, wasn't really sure that I was even in the race, but unfortunately the results show a 5th place finish with the same time as a just graduated high school runner, Alex Shaw. Everyone knew that Peter Snell would break 4 minutes in the mile but the question was by how much. Roy has covered the specifics but I will add a couple of things. The lst announced results reported that Snell had equaled Elliott's World Record but this was because the meet program had an incorrect time of 3:54.4 as the WR and this was quickly pointed out to the announcer that Elliott ran 3:54.5 and Peter had run a new WR with his 3:54.4. The place went wild!! First time under 4 and a new WR.
(Ernie Cunliffe and Peter Snell in Rome 800 meters Prelim)

 As the track was a short 385 yds we ran just over 4 and 1/2 laps. With just over a half lap to go I became a spectator, slowed down to watch in amazement the fantastic acceleration on the last 220 as Bruce Tulloh appeared motionless although I knew he was going alot faster than I was. 26.7 for the last 220. Heck I never ran that fast in the final part of an 880, just the middle two 220s. As I came in on the final straight I heard a big roar and realized that the high school kid was about to catch me, so I picked it up enough to barely hold him off for an inglorious 5th place behind 4 runners who had all now broken 4 minutes in their careers. I obviously wasn't in mile shape and should have run the 880 with 3 runners under 1:50 where I might have been a factor as the times were 1:49.0 by John Bork, 1:49.7 by Jim Dupree and 1:49.9 by Gary Philpott (NZ). On to Christchurch where I think there were some pretty good marks. I got 3 PRs and Snell "ONLY" got 2.

The Start at Wanganui

Wanganui Reunion Thirty One Years Later

Early Days New Zealand School Boy Championships
Dr. Peter Snell 

The rest of the T&F N summary follows. Five pages of this issue are devoted to the 1961 world list. Americans with the world's best mark in their event are 100 yards: Frank Budd 9.2; 100 meters: Budd 10.2 (tie); 220: Robert (not yet “Bob”) Hayes 20.1; mile: Dyrol Burleson 3:57.6; 110 HH: Hayes Jones and Fran Washington 13.6; 220LH Don Styron 22.1 (yes, all 28 are Americans); pole vault: George Davis 15-10¼; broad jump: Ralph Boston 27-2; shot put: Dallas Long 64-7¾; discus: Jay Silvester 199-2½; hammer: Hal Connolly 229-3 and decathlon: Phil Mulkey 8709. Another two pages are devoted to “order sheets” for Mike Ryan and Sons, a track equipment company in San Jose. No meets are reported per se. Instead the season's events are categorized. The only event which seems to merit note is the pole vault where John Uelses sets the world record of 15-10¼ and ten Americans have cleared fifteen feet, the same number as all of last year. In Portland Jim Grelle outkicks Dyrol Burleson with a 57.2 last quarter to win in 4:10.2. The only major outdoor meet of importance must have been a mess. The Sugar Bowl meet in New Orleans on Dec. 31 was held in rainy conditions. How rainy you may ask. Dyrol Burleson beats Ernie Cunliffe in the mile, 4:22.2 to 4:26.9. That's how rainy. The only good mark of the meet was the 13.9 hurdle win of Ray Cunningham in an event that precedes the downpour. Among the few bits and pieces interspersed through the issue we find that Olympic 100 champion Armin Hary of Germany may not be through with track and field after all. A knee injury will keep him from running the 100, but he is training for the 400, an event in which his best is 51.0 in 1956. Hary is also playing soccer for his Karlsrhue club along with former European sprint champ Heinz Futterer, 44.9 man Carl Kauffman and 10.3w sprinter Lothar Knorzer. If your team beats them, you have to run a relay against them after the game. Two photos stand out. On page 4 there is a shot of the Americans who made the New Zealand tour: John Bork, Ernie Cunliffe, Jim Dupree and Dave Edstrom along with coach Ward Haylett of Kansas State. A finer looking group of young men you could not find. Page 3 has a picture of the field clearing the first hurdle in the 45HH in the Boston Knights of Columbus meet. The hurdles are the most formidable your reporter has ever seen. They appear to be made of 2x4's and constructed in shop class. Hit a hurdle and ruin your race is not the concern here. It is more like hit a hurdle and ruin your career.

Michel Jazy, Michel Bernard, and Jean Waddoux in Tokyo
Prepping for the Olympics with a 2:53  1200 meters

This photo and story below comes to us from Jerry McFadden who knew Jazy when Jerry was living and working in France.

George, I thought you might be interested in this photo for your running blog: It shows Michel Jazy doing a 3/4 mile (1200 meter) time trial on Oct. 9, 1964, at the training stadium in the Yoyogi Olympic Village at the Tokyo Olympics. He is followed by French teammates Michel Bernard and Jean Wadoux. He ran it in 2:53. But the story goes that he learned that very afternoon that a 3rd preliminary trial had been added for the 1500 meters. He would have been forced to run 5 consecutive days to do a planned 1500/5,000 double, so he dropped the 1500 in favor of the 5,000, where he took 4th behind Schul, Norpoth, and Dellinger. He set the world record for the mile in 1965 at 3:53.6 (succeeding Elliot & Snell). Note the lousy chopped up track! Jerry McFadden 

Editor's Note , Jerry found this picture in a recent sports journal in France where readers were asked to try to identify the picture and the story. Jazy is seen leading Michel Bernard and Jean Waddoux in that timetrial in Tokyo, 1964. Jazy is about to make the decision that would take him out of the fire of Snell's devastating kick and into the jaws of Bob Schul.

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...