Friday, August 3, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 70 Backwards Track and Bud Held

August 3, 2012       Day One of Track and Field in London (AT LAST)

The following email conversations were picked up by the National Security Agency, DEA, NIA, SPCA, and  the VIMH,  (Voices Imagined in My Head) over the last few days.

Some of you have expressed that you are suffering from hydro fatigue watching the swimming events .  It does seem that the Olympics are permitting a lot of events that do not really have a world wide following.  I can accept freestyle swimming even if rarely seen  on some continents where water is a scarce resource such as the Middle East and parts of Africa (Rep. of South Africa excluded).  Although if you ever tried crossing a body of water in Africa where crocs are  lying in wait  or the snails that carry the dreaded ‘schistosomiosis’ flukes dwell, you would appreciate the need to be a world class freestyler.  However, synchronized swimming and diving go beyond the pale.  Can any of you visualize Mr. E. Cunliffe gritting his teeth and staying glued to his flatscreen while a team of ladies are doing a water ballet?   And why is there no such event for men?

This brings us to the question of how Track and Field would look  were the rules of swimming applied to our sport.  We would have to have four different running styles for races on the track.  And did you know that in ‘freestyle’ swimming you can use any stroke you choose, including the dog paddle?    But as for running style I can think only of two , forward and backward.  Anyone want to train for the backward marathon?  I’m sure someone already has one in the Guiness Book of Records

Wait, we could throw in sideways running to get our four styles.  Leading with the left leg or leading with the right leg would constitute the 3rd and  4th styles.  But wait, should it be a shuffle step or a cross over?  We’ll let the governing body IAAF sort out that enigma.    An individual medley race?  Just imagine the possibilities.  It would take three days to run off a dual meet and two hundred track scholarships to fill a team.

Hell we haven’t even talked about synchronized pole vaulting, high jumping, and triple jumping.  And throwing events?  Would they throw in the same direction or throw at each other?

Regards,   George

George ,

There are no facilities in the US to support synchronized jumping and vaulting.  It would require hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements to our tracks.  Otherwise the USATF would probably support these innovations to broaden the appeal of track and field. Synchronized pole vaulting would likely overtake synchronized diving in popularity.

  1. Blewett

Bill ,

I think a new stimulus package could underwrite the building of infrastructure to support synchronized jumping events and at the same time give the economy a much needed kick in the you know what.

Full Disclosure:   George I actually go on the internet and find the results immediately instead of waiting almost 7 hours for the NBC tape delays.  Thus I know the results and can choose to later watch the swimming events I am interested in , mainly Missy Franklin from Colorado and the USA relays.  I pass on the synch diving.

One of our high school coaches always did the backstroke in freestyle swim events and he usually defeated what we consider the regular freestyle swim stroke competitors.  One of my daughter’s swim teammates swam a 500 free event doing the butterfly stroke the entire way, NO not by choice , just the whim of a demanding coach.

Would have to be careful in the throwing events, esp. at each other.  In New Zealand we saw a track official who had been decked by a discus way back when he was not being careful and walked right into a descending discus.  He had a perfect indentation across his forehead above his nose where you could have inserted a discus perfectly for a half inch almost in depth and 2-3 inches in length.  Always wondered why a plastic surgeon didn’t fill it in.

Maybe the New Zealand National Health Program didn’t cover such injuries.  I suggest he look into endorsing Bondo to get  the repair work completed. 

I should have done more research before talking about running backwards.  There are some very serious people out there holding world championships in “Retro Running”, and a list of world records up to the marathon and 24 hours. . 

Just found it.Herr Achim Aretz of Germany holds the backward marathon record in 3hours 42 minutes and 41 seconds.  I’m flabbergasted. 


Synch pole vaulting????  Hey Flint would have been a winner since he is left handed and could partner with a right hander and thus be perfectly in a mirror image.  Ah the indefinite possibilities!
Ernie     PS  I DO like ballet but on stage and not in the water.


Some unbelievable marks both as to event and also the distances.  I think the mens ½ marathon of 1:35+ is one of the better marks and wouldn’t it be fun to watch those relays!

Ernie,  you can see the WR  4x100 retro running relay on youtube.  It is terribly unexciting.

But there is no backward pole vaulting.  Or maybe I should look that up as well, however I’m confident it does not exist.   Lest we forget , Dick Fosbury pioneered the backward high jump.

I wonder if running backwards for extended periods of time would cause the patella to migrate to the back of the leg much like the one eye of a flounder migrates to the other side of the fish’s head?

Flint,  we found an event for you , backward PV.  Actually when I rewind the tape of your vaults it appears to me that you are going backward????  Since you are an engineer I bet you could diagram how it would work out.

Find me a 77 year old right  handed steel pole vaulter and we are ready to go!

You all crack me up.  Nothing would get things going like synchronized javelin! Or discus for certain!   Yes , the synchro diving is amazing, but an Olympic sport?  Really?  No to mention ballroom dancing.  Wasn’t that an Olympic sport?  What happened to it?  So….you non swimmers are probably tired of all the swimming events……Lyn (akaLeonard)

 Is Bud Held still competing---he is a little older?

Also Jerry Donely is still competing.  He was a college vaulter—Beloit College, class of 1951.

So, they’re both a little older.   They must have used steel poles in the past, as Held was a HS vaulter at Grossmont HS.  Not sure if he ever vaulted at Stanford, or only threw the javelin there.

I’ve known Jerry Donley for many years.  We 1st got acquainted when I coached at AF Academy and he wanted a place to work out.  I let him and he helped coach my PVers as I knew nothing about the event.  Jerry has won World Masters Championships in PV and also HJ in his age brackets.  Think he has won 10-12 at last count.  His 2nd wife, Christel is a fantastic World Championship winner too and does multi events.  Jery is 82.

Flint would know more about Bud Held.  Seems like I read somewhere that Bud had once done a decathlon while at Stanford or after graduating so he would have had to PV.

                                                            Bud Held at Stanford

Guys and Lyn,
Yes, I do know a little about Bud Held---here’s what I was told by the Stanford track coach Jack Weiersauser:

Bud came to Stanford as a pole vaulter  +/- 12 ft. range.  Dutch Warmerdam was at Stanford then getting his Masters and he was helping Jack out by coaching the pole vaulters.  Evidently Dutch had problems getting Bud to practice like he wanted him to because Held was always playing around with the javelin.  Dutch I’m told was a pretty fair javelin thrower himself, so he challenged Held to a javelin contest—if Warmerdam won, Held would quit messing around with the javelin and work on pole vaulting--- well, you guessed it, Held won, and that started his javelin career,

“The rest of the story”  in his 70’s  Held started vaulting again and set Master’s age group world records--- so “ old vaulters never die, they just fly away”

Didn’t his brother, Dick, compete in master’s meets?  Was it in the javelin; I don’t recall for sure which event(s)?
                                                      Dick and Bud Held

I know his name but nothing about his competitive history either as a Masters or college athlete.

Nice interview with Ann Packer , winner of the 800 in the 1964 Olympics.  It was on the BBC World News yesterday afternoon on PBS.  She won with a world record 2:01.1.   She was .2 seconds behind Betty Cuthbert , of Australia, in the 400.  Ann said she was a sprinter and that was how she was able to win the 800.

Her 800m victory is well documented on the Tokyo Olympic film .   Probably can be found on youtube.

Nice blog... enjoy the track and field portion now of the olympics.
The running events and  some of the jumps are truly the only sports offered where all countries have more or less on equal footing..
Soccer ,boxing, wrestling would be considered sports which are common in most countries around the world?
Most of the olympic events are unfair because most of the countries don't have the money or infrastructure name it...from equestrian, swimming, gymnastics etc...the list is endless.
Don't even get me started on the winter olympics which should be banned...and just call it the world championships from now on.

george, i've had trouble accepting "sports" that are decided by judges.  diving and gymnastics are spectacles of talent and ability, but not sport.  cirque de soleil could probably clean up in gymnastics.  wonder why qatar or the uae don't hire them to give it a try??
Richard T.

Perry O'Brien once held the record for right and left handed throwing of the shot put.
Bruce K.

1 comment:

walt said...

Well, track and field can't come too soon after all this other stuff. As for swimming, at least it is honestly competitive even if it is mind-numbingly repetitive. As for other events and alleged sports, if they play music in it, or win by subjective scoring, or have to wear costumes or heavy makeup, it ought to be in something other than the Olympics. And while I am on a roll here, what about that mayor of London? Couldn't he denigrate Mitt Romney without simultaneously denigrating Salt Lake City, and indirectly the entire State of Utah, at the same time? They should have left him hanging on the cable.

V6 N. 47 George Scott R.I.P.

John Lawson, former U. of Kansas All American sent us this note about the passing of George Scott former New Mexico and Oklahoma City U.  ed...