Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 105 October, 1962

This issue of T&FNews contains minimal results from the United States. Track is over, the lights are out and everyone has gone home. Not so in Europe, however, as the glow of the European Championships is still in the air and a couple world records are waiting to be reported.
The highlight of the EC, held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from Sept. 12-16, is the performance of Salvatore Morale. 
Salvatore Morale

Morale bracketed by Jay Luck and Billy Hardin at Tokyo 1964

The 24 year old Italian ties Glenn Davis' four year old world record in the 400 intermediate hurdles by destroying the field by over a second in 49.3.
The middle distances and distances are tactical races (the first lap of the 800 goes off in 56.9) and therefore produce disappointing times. The one exception is the performance of Belgium's Gaston Roelants in the steeplechase. 

Roelants no longer 25
The 25 year old leads from the start and crushes the field by five seconds in 8:32.6.
Ove Jonsson provides Sweden with its first European Championship sprint victory when he holds on to nip Marian Foik of Poland in the 200 in 20.7. Sadly, he doesn't enjoy this accomplishment very long. Thirteen days later he is dead, the result of an auto accident.

Ove Jonsson #64

A Pleased Brumel
Russia takes the team championship by dominating the field events. As expected, Valeriy Brumel and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan win their events. Brumel needs only four jumps to take the high jump at 7-3. One wonders whether he really needed to shower at the end of the day. Igor T-O is a man among boys in the broad jump, winning by over a foot with a wind-aided leap of 26-10½. But they are not the only Ruskies sporting gold medals when the bus heads home. Janis Lusis pops off a throw of 269-2 to win the javelin by over 13 feet while Vladimir Trusenyov is the class of the discus field with an effort of 187-4.
The Soviet Union isn't the only iron curtain country to do well. The Yugoslavians do okay, too. Vilmos (William, but you can call me Bill) Varku has five puts better than any of his shot put competitors, winning at 62-4¾, and Gyula Zsivotsky whirls the hammer 228-5½ to set a European record and send a message to Hal Connolly.
Ah, but the best competition is in the decathlon where the great Vasily Kuzneytzov wins his third European Championship. The story is not his win, but how it is achieved.
Willi Holdorf

Werner Von Moltke

Germamy's Willi Holdorf leads at the end of the first day with 4370 points, just 15 ahead of teammate Werner von Moltke. Kuznyetsov, a fierce second day man, is buried in sixth at 4161. In the first event of the second day, the hurdles, von Moltke takes the lead. Buoyed by a pole vault nearly a foot better than the Russian, von Multke holds a seemingly insurmountable lead of 328 points with only two events left.
Unfortunately for the German, the next event is Kuznyetsov's best, the javelin. Not lacking in fortitude, von Moltke fires off a PR of 184-3 only to see VK cut 284 points from his margin with a throw of 223-4. Now the lead is a mere 44 points with only the 1500 remaining.
No, we are not about to see a Johnson – Yang dual in which von Moltke has only to run off Kuznyetsov and finish within five seconds. Inexplicably, they run in different heats. Von Moltke runs 4:46.9 to finish with 8022 points, a PR by 307. Now the competition is out of his hands. All he can do is watch as VK toes the starting line, knowing that a 4:41.3 will relegate him to second. No splits are given, but it has to be agonizing for the German to watch the Russian kick home strongly to finish in 4:41.0 and take the gold by four points.
The alert among you may remember that Europe saw two world records in September. The second comes two weeks after the EC. On September 29th in Moscow, Valeriy Brumel attempts to break his own high jump record, a goal that doesn't look promising when he misses at 6-8¾, again at 6-11½ and twice at 7-3. But when the bar is raised to a new record height of 7-5½, a metric 2.27, he clears on his first attempt, his 12th jump of the competition. The 1962 reality is that in the high jump there is Brumel and then there is everybody else.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 104 Cross Country Video Award

Once Upon A Time In The Vest  presents its annual   "cross country  spiked in the knee video award".

Actually this is the only annual award in anything we've ever done.   There are a lot of cross country videos

 of questionable quality out there on Youtube.  Most are inspired by some form of teenage angst.   I thought

this one was outstanding, as it goes back into the early 70's and even the 64 Olympic track and field events.

Congratulations to its young  producer Davis Nixon.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 103 My university track locker room makes the New York Times

The Oklahoma University Track and Field locker room was seen in today's (November 8 , 2012)  New York Times when former All-American Darryl Royal's picture was posted in his obituary.  In the Fall we used a second floor locker room above the visiting football team locker room.  After football season we moved downstairs into the larger room.  Inside was a bare, dusty concrete floor,  a few inspirational signs on the walls, and the track and field records on a special board.  Furhter under the stadium was the indoor track, an unheated dusty 220 yards oval known fondly as  'Pneumonia Downs' in the Winter months.   All in all ,  a very spartan place.  Notre Dame used that locker room when they broke Oklahoma's 47 game football winning streak in 1957.   Nick Petrosante of Notre Dame carved his name on the door , and it remained there for a number of years until it was replaced.  George Brose

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 102 Roy Mason and Debbie Heald Appear on the pages of Runner's World

As many of you know,  Roy Mason is one of the co-writers of this blog, and one too modest to sound his own bugle.   So I will attempt to do that in the angel Gabriel's absence.

Roy got this blog started a little over a year ago by writing a review of a 1954 Track and Field News.  He is an astute observer of the sport, a worthy critic, and an incredibly knowledgeable devotee when it comes to track and field and baseball and a good writer  on top of all that.  What you may not know is that Roy also was a track coach of some repute in the 1960's and 70's, his team The L.A. Meteors.  His most famous athlete, Debbie Heald still holds the high school indoor mile record of 4:38.5 set in a dual meet with the Soviet Union in Richmond Virginia on St. Patrick's Day 1972.  This is the oldest high school girls' record in the books.

The December issue of Runner's World , now on the stands, has published a lengthy article by Steve Friedman about Debbie's life and her relationship with her coach  Roy Mason.  Debbie has struggled with injury and illness for many years, but the relationship has endured for all this time.  I am proud to be sharing writing of this blog with Roy, and I think you will understand why after reading the article.

For those of you not wishing to buy the issue,  you will probably be able to see the  online at Runner's World  in about a month.


 However I recommend you  buy it at the newstand now.

George Brose

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 101 8th round knockout of Bloomberg and Wittenberg by Common Sense

Friday November 2.     New York May Michael Bloomberg and New York Road Runners pres Mary Wittenberg were felled by Common Sense and Public Displeasure when declaring a last minute cancellation of Sunday's marathon.

The New York Marathon website has been flooded  with outrage and criticism from NYC residents. This coming on the day after Bloomberg gave his endorsement to Barack Obama in the presidential race.  Now and in the near future Obama may have to down play the endorsement  to shield himself from the fallout over these events.

Earlier in the week I was wondering how it might be to have put up the entry fee, plane ticket money, hotel reservations etc. and done 1000 or more miles of training to be ready for this weekend.  Then think what it would be like to go through the gauntlet of the airports, baggage claims, immigration if coming from overseas, seeking delayed transport to a flooded hotel, and on race day scrambling to be at the starting line. Remember the movie "The Out of  Towners" with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis from the 60"s?  The stress would more than likely negate a good performance.  For this reason alone I suggest that smaller marathons are the best places to perform well.    Then what would be the moral justification of a good performance at New York this year?  Not very high on the charts in my book.  But as a good friend many years ago once said, "I'd push my mother aside to finish one place higher in a race."   You may choose to disagree.  There is lots of space on the internet and in this blog to do so. .  However I would find it hard to run past people without homes or waiting in line for food and fuel or people in high rises too sick or weak to walk down or climb back up the steps with a few water bottles in their hands.    Maybe all those leftover marathoners can volunteer to carry water up to those apartment dwellers who are stranded.

Overall , the NYC situation demonstrates the fragility of our infrastructure and the interdependence of so many systems that enable a large community to function efficiently.  The key seems to be the need for electricity and a means to deliver it.  Distance running is supposedly a step back in time to a day when people travelled more on foot,  human muscle brought food out of the fields and delivered it to our tables and men and women sold their labor to push iron and coke into a blast furnace to make steel , and teachers taught from a blackboard and a few readers.    Running today has to a great extent become candy coated with high tech apparel, personal trainers, sophisticated chronometers and GPS systems, timing chips and high energy drinks and nutrient bars, and let's not forget, minimalist shoes and synthetic running surfaces.

Sometime think about the civility of a marathon with only 50-100 runners who just show up on race day and run through country roads and have a beer and go less than a hundred miles home after the race.
George Brose

George, Roy and all: Thank you for the comments and about NYC Marathon. I think for the safety of all concerned (runners, organizers, workers) and the dignity of the running community the race cancellation is a blessing!
Phil Scott

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...