Monday, February 11, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 9 February, 1963

February 1963
Thanks to Pete Brown (see below) of Plano, Texas who has been kind enough to loan us his collection of 1963 T&FN issues, the missing year is missing no more.
Indoor meets abound. Sixteen are reported in this issue. We will run through them chronologically.
The Old Maple Leaf Gardens
The last weekend of January finds us in Canada where on Friday, January 25, world class track has returned to Toronto the first time in 27 years in the form of the Maple Leaf Games. Remember how Bruce Kidd and Bill Crothers dominated their competition last month in the US? Well, they are pretty good when racing in their own country, too. Crothers wins the 1000 easily in a seemingly slow 2:12.6. “Seemingly slow” because the competition is held on a 12 lap to the mile track. (Let me save you breaking out the calculator: that is 146 2/3 yards per lap.)
I think we have covered the part about Bruce Kidd being real good in last month's report. How good? Good enough to run a the second fastest three mile ever, 13:34.6, while lapping the field twice.
This should be enough to have the 12,625 in attendance talking about the hometown boys as they depart the stadium. But it isn't. The subject of conversation is Dave Tork who has just taken the pole vault indoor world record from Finland's Pentti Nikula with a leap of 16-2 ¼. If you recall, C.K. Yang had set the record a week ago in Portland only to have Nikula wipe his name from the books the next night. 

Your editor was 19 year old sophomore at U. of Oklahoma in Feb. 1963, and at an indoor meet in Lubbock,  Texas  C.K. Yang was vaulting as the current WR holder.  Next day in the hotel lobby I picked up a newspaper that had a story announcing that Yang had just become the former WR holder.  C.K. was in the hotel restaurant that Sunday morning, and I gave him the paper opened to the story.  He didn't seem too surprised.   That winter , the record changed hands almost every weekend.   

Six days later, it belongs to Tork. The fiberglass pole has just been approved and vaulters are becoming accustomed to it. Records aren't held, they are borrowed.
The next night we are in Winnipeg and as good as the PV was last night, it isn't tonight. J.D. Martin wins on misses over Don Meyers and Jerry Morro at 14-0. 
John Rose opens at 15-0 and no heights. What is going on? Well, it seems that the poles were stored outside. This may work in Los Angeles, San Diego and Miami. Not so much in Winnipeg. The vaulters are reduced to working with frozen poles that have no more bend than the steel poles of yesteryear.

J.D. Martin was the biggest man ever to clear 15' feet on a steel pole going about 15'7" maybe a little better.  He was 6'3" and well over 200 pounds.   The fiberglass technology of the day was insufficient to build a pole that could safely hold J.D.  It would have had to weigh at least 50 pounds, so he could never progress on glass.  Fortunately for J.D. he had multi talents and went on to win the Pan Am games decathlon in 1963.  By 1964 he was offered the head coaching job at Oklahoma (an offer he couldn't refuse) and stayed there 37 or more years.  Taking the job, cost him a shot at making the Olympic team in '64. ed.
John Belitza  ACC Champ 1962
Wendell Mottley
The 74th Boston AA Games are held the same night. Yale's and Jamaca's Wendell Motley thrashes the 440 field by a second and a half with the fastest 11 lap to the mile track time of 48.3. 

Morttley will go on to put his Yale degree to good use, becoming the Minister of Finance for Trindad and Tobago from 1991-95and recently named Chairman of the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Fund  2013. ed.

When Dave Tork leaves the stadium he is still the world record holder, but he is not the winner of this evening's competition. That would be John Belitza of Maryland who becomes the sixth member of the 16 foot club by half an inch. Rolando Cruz is second at 15-6. Tork is third at 15-0.
Rolando Cruz
The next week track and field is alive and well in the Millrose Games held in Madison Square Garden. The main attraction is the arrival of the Russians, world record holders Igor Ter-Ovanesyan and Valeriy Brumel and middle distance runner Valeryi Bulishev.
Brumel traditionally has had an easy time of it with America's best, John Thomas. This time it is a bit tougher as Thomas leads on misses at 7-0. The Russian regains the lead at 7-1 and then jumps 7-2 to win.
History is not on Ter-Ovanesyan's side. In eight competitions against the top American broad jumper, he has yet to win.  Tonight's dual with Ralph Boston will be their sixth. T-O has yet to win. After Boston's first round 25-10 provides him a 2½ inch margin, it appears to be more of the same. But this time things are different. T-O demonstrates why he is the world record holder with a second round indoor world record of 26-10. Not only can Boston not match that, he can't find the board. Four of his last five jumps are fouls and the Russian wins by a foot.
Ernie Cunliffe
Bulishev is not the quality athlete that Brumel and Ter-Ovanesyan are, but he shows he is good enough to handle the Americans at 880 yards. While Jim Dupree and Ernie Cunliffe lead through the quarter in 53.9., Bulishev bides his time. Down 20 to Cunliffe at the gun, he turns it on, catching EC on the last turn and as Cunliffe  moves wide to counter the pass, the Russian goes by on the inside and takes it, 1:50.8 to Cunliffe's 1:5I.2. Talking to the press later, Ernie says, “ I've never been so tired from a race in my life. When I heard the crowd roar, I knew someone was coming, so I tried to make him run wide on the turn. But I was so tired, I must have gone too far out.”
Bruce Kidd spends his lonely hours on a Friday evening winning the two mile over an improving Charlie Clark in 8:41.0. Clark's 8:46.0 is the new American record, surpassing the 8:47.1 of Max Truex who was third this evening in 8:46.2. (As a notation for further reference, Billy Mills is sixth in 9:21.6.) Tom O'Hara nips Cary Weisiger in a spirited mile, 4:01.5 to 4:01.8. No splits are given.
The Russian tour will continue next week in Los Angeles and two weeks later back at the Garden for the AAU Nationals.
Now it is the next day, Saturday, February 2. Remember that pole vault world record thing? Well, it is back. In Pajulahti, Finland, Pentti Nikula becomes the first five meter man with his 16-5 jump. Most of the 900 fans rush the floor. Pandemonium reigns. His coach, Valto (great name for a PV coach) Olenius, is lifted into the air. Backs are slapped, hands are shaken. The world record is back in Finland.
But rather than trotting off to the pub for a few cold ones, Pentti wants to try 16-6¾. After two failures, he clears. Why quit when you are hot? The bar is raised to 16-8¾. Over he goes on the first try. Two attempts at 17-0 go awry and Pennti is done for the night, secure in the knowledge that the WR is his. But remember the record can't be owned, only borrowed like a library book that has to be turned in in two weeks. Still and all, it is a pretty good night.
On the same evening at the Philadelphia Inquirer Games, Rolando Cruz of Villanova becomes the newest member of the 16 feet club, doing so with half an inch to spare. Just for fun Bruce Kidd drops down to the mile and handles Tom Sullivan 4:08.7 to 4:10.2.
A week has passed. It is February 9 and the promised LA Times meet is upon us. Let's start with the duals in the jumps. Valeryi Brumel's coach said he isn't in world record shape and indeed that is so. He takes three jumps to clear 6-8. John Thomas makes 6-10 on his first effort. Brumel takes two tries. Both clear 7-0¼ on their third attempts, but can go no higher and Thomas wins on misses, his first victory over Brumel in eight tries. In Brumel's defense, he has stepped on a TV cable and injured himself early on. His coach gives him credit for competing.
Ralph Boston and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan have at it again in the broad jump. The lead changes hands four times before the Russian pulls out a 26-3 to 26-1½ victory.
Herb Carper destroys the 60 field with his fifth world record equaling 6.0. The 6.0 club includes Jim Golliday, Charlie Tidwell, Roscoe Cook, Frank Budd, Dave Styron, Ralph Alspaugh and Brooks Johnson. Please, somebody run 5.9.

Hayes Jones runs the 60HH in his best time of the year, 7.1. More significantly, this is his 39th straight hurdles win, breaking Harrison Dillard's record.
Nineteen year old Brian Sternberg becomes the ninth man to vault 16 feet, doing so by ¼ inch. Hal Bateman calls it “the greatest mass pole vaulting of all time. John Rose, C.K. Yang, Dave Tork and Mel Hein clear 15-8 while John Uelses, Mike Flanagan and Ron Morris are over 15-4

In the absence of Bruce Kidd, Bob Schul takes the two mile easily in 8:51.6.
Where is Kidd? He has opted for the mile where he can test his mettle 
Schul and Ron Larrieu following Bolotnikov in later years
against the great Peter Snell. Can he pull the upset? No, not close. He finishes well back in 4:12.7. But this is not to say there isn't an upset. Jim Grelle follows through a 2:02.5 half and takes over at the ¾ mark in 3:05.8. Snell is sitting 20 yards back and the crowd anticipates what is about to happen. It is only a matter of time before the king of the kick takes over. Or is it? Grelle looks around several times on the last lap for the Kiwi's challenge. It doesn't come. Grelle takes it easily 4:04.7 to 4:06.4. No explanation is given.

Friday, Feb. 15 finds meets on opposite sides of the country, the Golden Gate Invitational and the more significant New York AC Games which feature the touring Russian road show of Brumel and Ter-Ovanesyan. Thomas and Boston are not the competition tonight, but this is not a problem for either Russian. T-O leaps 25-6¾ and Brumel after a dismal showing last week, rights the ship to clear 7-4 for an indoor record.
The best races are the mile and two mile. Jim Beatty is matched against Tom O'Hara. O'Hara leads through the quarter at 59.7 before settling in behind Beatty for splits of 2:00.2 and 3:00.7 with Poland's Witold Baran in close attendance. O'Hara makes the early move and leads by two yards at the gun, but is unable to hold off the withering kick of Beatty on the final turn. The former North Carolina star surges strongly on the final turn to open a four yard margin at the tape for a world record 3:58.6. O'Hara has nothing to hang his head about. His 3:59.2 gives him the distinction of being the only man to run four minutes indoors without having done it outdoors. The two engage in the 1960's version of trash talking. Beatty: “It was a real honor to beat Tom tonight.” O'Hara: “I'll just have to work harder.”
Michel Bernard, the French record holder at two miles, is here to give 19 year old Bruce Kidd a run at this distance. He follows Kidd through half mile splits of 2:08.5, 4:20.8 and 6:33.2 at which point he is five yards down, ready to pounce. Kidd, who should be hanging out at the malt shop on Friday night, never gives him the opportunity. He closes in 63.2 and 62.6 to finish in 8:39.0. Bernard runs 8:41.4.
In San Francisco the competition is, well,......whimsical. There are four sprints, the 60, 50, 25 and weightman's 60. Herb Carper wins the first two, but the fun comes in the 25 when he lines up against fast starting Hayes Jones. Make that fast starting for a hurdler, Hayes Jones. Jones is no match for Carper who blows him away by a yard, 3.1 to 3.2. There will be a weightman's 60, but Parry O'Brien ain't running with the fat boys. No, he runs with the sprinters and is fourth at 3.5.
Jack Yerman is having a heck of an indoor season at 600. He drops to the 440 tonight and leaves Ulis Williams in his dust, 48.4 to 49.2. The aforementioned Mr. Jones runs his consecutive hurdle victory streak to 40 with a 7.1 clocking in the 60. Charlie Clark drops his 2M PR by two tenths to 8:45.8 thanks in great part to the 8:47.3 of San Jose State sophomore Danny Murphy.
The following night, Saturday, Feb. 16 and we are in the south for two vastly different meets. The first SEC meet is held in Montgomery, Alabama and the talent level among the competing schools is diverse. LSU wins with 30 points followed by Alabama 27. Mississippi State 25 and Auburn 24. None of the other seven schools score more than seven. In fact Mississippi and Vanderbilt take a goose egg. Marks are inferior to comparable size conferences. The high jump is won at 6-2, the mile relay at 3:31.1, the PV at 14-0, the mile at 4:28.7 and the two mile at 9:51.1. Integration has yet to come to the SEC.
In contrast, the Mason-Dixon Games in Louisville produce four world records. Bob Hayes has just returned from Jamaica where he tied the WR for the 200 meters on a turn at 20.5. He takes down the WR for 70 yards at 6.9. The other three records are aided by the Freedom Hall 220 yard track. As the runners wait for the gun in the 500, the WR is Charlie Jenkins' 56.4 set in 1956. One minute later and the record belongs to Earl Young who has knocked off a 55.5. Had Earl not been there, the record would have been broken anyway as Dave Mills, Ollan Cassell and Willie Atterberry all finish in 55.6.

Texas Southern and Georgetown have been waiting for this meet. The TSU guys obliterate Oklahoma State's 3:13.8 mile relay record with a 3:12.2. No one has split over 48.5 and Ray Saddler anchors in 47.2. The two mile relay WR falls to Georgetown in a race which is apparently timed by a watches with no tenths. The Hoyas run 1:55.0, 1:54.0, 1:50.0 and 1:50.0 for a time of 7:29.0, clipping two tenths off Kansas' record. The last two legs are run by Ed Duchini and John Reilly.

Michel Bernard (France)
Now we have returned to the Big Apple for the AAU Nationals where foreigners take home four American titles. Brumel handles Thomas 7-3 ½ to 7-0. Ter-Ovanesyan leaves no doubt that he is the world's best broad jumper by leaving Boston behind 26-6½ to 25-9¾. Bill Crothers returns to Canada with the US 1000 title after a 2:09.8 go round after numerous US talents don't survive the heats, among them Ernie Cunliffe, John Reilly and Cliff Cushman. The other non-US taxpayer with a title is Michel Bernard who cruises to a 13:38.4 win at 3M, narrowly escaping the kick of Bob Schul who finishes four tenths back.
Jack Yerman is the man this season at the 600 and proves it by running 1:09.4, only a tenth off George Kerr's record. Much credit for this goes to Norfolk State's Jim Johnson who leads until the final straight and finishes only a tenth back. One can only wonder how fast this might have gone without the earlier heats.

Jim Beatty runs a similar race to that in LA two weeks earlier, hitting the 1320 in 3:00.0 and finishing in 3:59.0, a second ahead of Jim Grelle.
 From the Quotable Quotes column we find this  "quantity-quality  conundrum" statement by Joe Faust. “My goal is to do 100 consecutive jumps of 6'6” or higher. If I can do this it would enable me to jump 7'4”.”

Ernie Shelton

....In the On Your Marks column we learn of the disaster that has befallen Ernie Shelton, NCAA high jump champ in '54 and '55 with a best of 6-11¼. He was injured while riding a motorcycle for a TV commercial. While riding 60 mph up a hill, he had to jump off when the throttle broke. However his foot caught on the pedal and he was dragged over the edge of a cliff. Falling to the bottom, he suffered nerve damage and spinal disc injuries. Currently he is hospitalized, unable to walk or move his arms...Ernie Shelton survived his injuries to go on to become a junior college art teacher and artist.  Still alive.  ....

Who holds the Tulane University record in the high hurdles? That would be noted radio and TV commentator Howard K. Smith who ran 14.5. in 1936.
Howard K. Smith
Howard K. Smith
Ferriday, La.

Hall of Fame:

Howard K. Smith, a 1936 graduate of Tulane University, was named one of the NCAA's 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes in 2006. As part of the NCAA's Centennial Celebration, a panel consisting of college and university presidents, athletics directors, NCAA committee members, conference office representatives, SAAC representatives and NCAA staff determined the prestigious list which celebrates each honorees professional accomplishments, athletics success and scope of achievement. Smith was a longtime newsman whose career began as a foreign correspondent for UPI in 1940. He joined CBS News in 1941 as its Berlin correspondent and covered many pivotal moments of the war, including the German surrender to Russia as well as the Nuremberg trials. In 1960, he was named chief of CBS's Washington Bureau and continued to build his impressive resumé, including serving as moderator of the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate. He would move on to ABC, hosting numerous news programs and was named co-anchor of the ABC Evening News, a position he would hold until 1975. He was also the author of four books, including the best-selling Last Train From Berlin, which chronicled his views of the conditions in Germany prior to his departure in 1942 - he was recognized as the last American correspondent to leave Germany after war was declared. As a student-athlete at Tulane, Smith earned three track letters and was captain of the team as a senior in 1936. He still holds the Tulane record in the 120-yard high hurdles at 14.5 seconds and was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983. He served as his class president for his sophomore, junior and senior years and also wrote for The Hullabaloo student newspaper and the Jambalaya yearbook. A Rhodes Scholar, he attended Heidelberg and Oxford after graduating from Tulane. Smith held honorary degrees from Tulane (LLD in Journalism, 1955), Maryland, Alfred, Thiel, St. Norbert, Roosevelt and Southern University. He also earned multiple honors from the NCAA, including being honored in 1972 with an NCAA Commemorative Plaque as one of a group of newsmen who achieved national prominence in the field after having won a varsity athletic letter. Born May 4, 1914 in Ferriday, La., Smith was married and had two children. He died on Feb. 15, 2002.

Who is Pete Brown?  Below a brief intro that Pete sent to me two years ago.  His devotion to and knowledge of Track and Field is profound.  

     Pete Brown winning a couple of races for the Lobos in the 1960's

George---I ran for UNM 61-62-63 and was only good enough to place 2nd or 3rd in conference (PR 1:52.1 880 in Tempe the night Plummer ran 44.9 and smashed WR) and I never ran after college. I missed Q for 63 NCAA in ABQ by .2. I got married after my soph year and only did 10k type stuff after that. I saw my first big-time meet in the Coliseum in 1950---USC, Yale and Michigan State and have been a fan ever since. I have boxes and boxes of track “stuff” I’ve collected over a lifetime and still go to the NCAA meets. 

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