Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Monday, May 27, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 32 Memorial Day Remembrance of Cliff Cushman and Others Who Died in War.

This article came from the University of Kansas athletics website.  We've written about Cliff Cushman and his having died in Viet Nam.  On this Memorial Day weekend we feel it's more than appropriate to remember Cliff again.   Mike Solomon, former Jayhawk runner sent this to us today.  One of our regular readers, Ernie Cunliffe was especially close to Cliff as a former Olympic team member with Cliff in Rome.  Ernie has made considerable efforts to try to get help in locating Cliff's remains, but to no avail.

One of my teammates from the University of Oklahoma also lost his life in Viet Nam.  Phil Neislar, a 440 runner from Ft. Smith, Arkansas  became a navy pilot and died on his first mission from an aircraft carrier.  His plane went into the water right after takeoff and Phil was never found.

Also to be remembered is Ron Zinn,  US team racewalker and West Point graduate who died in Viet Nam and Bill Rawson,  University of Missouri 880 runner who died in Viet Nam.     If you can think of others let us know to add to the list.

We can take names from any side of a conflict.  I'm thinking of Rudi Harbig and Karl-Ludwig "Luz" Long as well.

Best to all of you old guys who have served.

Cliff Cushman (above) showing off his NCAA Championship ring and Bill Dotson below.
Cliff Cushman (above) showing off his NCAA Championship ring and Bill Dotson below.
May 24, 2013
Memorial Day is for family and friends to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. And the reality is these family and friends think of those who have perished every day since they have passed. That truth lays the same for Kansas’ world-class track standout Bill Dotson who was mentored by teammate and Olympian Cliff Cushman.
The two became the best of friends in their time as teammates at KU. When asked about his friend Cliff, Dotson glows. He describes a passionate man, full of life, talent and a love for others. Although soft spoken, Dotson still can’t think of a more ideal teammate and the duo became even closer after KU. In fact, just two weeks before leaving on his tour of duty in Vietnam, Cushman came to see Dotson.
That would be the last time the two saw each other as Cushman’s plane was shot down in battle. 
“It was like I missed my brother when I heard about him being shot down in Vietnam,” Dotson said. “I believe he was there only 18 days when he was shot down. He was loved and admired by everyone on the track team. He was a better person than he was an athlete. No one had anything bad to say about Cliff.” 
Cushman was a main cog in Kansas’ 1959 and 1960 NCAA Men’s Track and Field Championship teams. A native of Grand Forks, N.D., Cushman came to KU as a well-rounded star having won state titles in the long jump, high hurdles and mile. At KU, he ran the 400 hurdles for head coach Bill Easton, finishing second in the NCAA championship in 1959. His senior year, 1960, Cushman was the most outstanding performer at the Kansas Relays and later won the NCAA championship in the 400 hurdles. 
“I can still remember in my mind’s eye Cushman doing the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, which I think is the toughest event in all of track and field,” KU long-time broadcaster Max Falkenstien said. “I remember seeing that blond hair he had coming around the turns at Memorial Stadium. He was such a tremendous hurdler and sprinter combined in such a very demanding event.” 
As a captain on the KU team, Cushman mentored Dotson, a distance standout from Jamestown, Kan., who was two years behind Cushman at Kansas. Dotson literally rewrote the KU records book in distance events. Dotson, a two-time All-American and six-time Big Eight Conference champion, was a three-time American Record holder in the mile (all three times in 1962). He became the first KU and Big Eight athlete and only the fourth collegian to break the four-minute mile. To this day, only two Jayhawks have broken the four-minute mile collegiately, Dotson and Jim Ryun. 
“I remember at the (Big Eight) conference meet as a sophomore, Cliff was a senior and he’d coach me a lot,” Dotson said. “He’d say ‘just wait around until that last 330 (yards), that last lap and then just pass everybody and bring it on home. Just outrun all of them.’ And that’s what I did.” 
Following KU, Cushman went on to win the silver medal, behind U.S. teammate Glenn Davis, in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. The following year he joined the U.S. Air Force and continued training for the hurdles as well as training to become a jet-fighter pilot. Tripping over a hurdle in the U.S. trials in 1964, Cushman failed to qualify for his second Olympic games. Dotson would go on to be a part of a world-record mile-relay team and earned a spot as U.S. team member for the 1963 Pan American Games. 
“I remember another time when I was running in Madison Square Garden in New York City and I was running against some of the best milers in the world,” Dotson said. “Cliff was standing on the side of the track and he said ‘to run around on that last lap, you’re waiting on them. Why didn’t you win it?’ That was the way Cliff was, giving you that type of assurance that you can do it. He was a big brother and mentor. We were both quiet. We weren’t loud in making a lot of commotion. We let our actions speak louder than our words.” 
It was 1966 when Cushman received his orders and was sent to fight in the Vietnam War. On Sept. 25, 1966, his wife, Carolyn was notified by Air Force officials that Cushman’s plane had been shot down and he was missing in action. Cushman’s body was never recovered. 
“At the time I was with New York Life Insurance Company when he got his orders to go to Vietnam,” Dotson said. “He was crazy about flying. He used to fly those 172 Cessnas when we were in college. I’d go up with him once in a while. He was always trying to max those things out. He came to me a week or two before he went to Vietnam and wanted me to write an insurance policy, which at that time no insurance company would take for a pilot that was in the armed forces, especially if they had their orders to go to Vietnam. I experienced at that time that he knew, and the way he said it, he wasn’t coming back. He had just gotten married and his son was a few months old. He sensed he wasn’t coming back so he wanted an insurance policy. I felt really bad at that time. It kind of strikes you that you know the feeling inside of him that’s going on.” 
Many bonds teammates develop in any sport are like family, including two track standouts from North Dakota and small-town Kansas. In practice and competition they share the blood, sweat and tears of the defeats and the victories during their college careers. For Dotson these memories of Cushman are still vivid in his mind today, some 46-plus years after Cushman was declared missing in action while fighting for USA’s freedom in the Vietnam War. 
“With Cliff I always say hello every night before I fall asleep,” Dotson said. “I always remember him as one of my best buddies. In spirit or whatever, I always say hello to him and share a few thoughts just about every night. He’s always in my thoughts, especially when I fall asleep. That’s the type of friendship and energy we had between us. He’s always there.” 
Memorial Day is a time many will reflect on those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. These individuals are not just family and friends but also teammates. 
If you know of a former Jayhawk student-athlete who fought for their country, we’d like to hear from you. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 31 October , 1963 , Tony Sneazwell Rediscovered

Our intrepid reporter uncovered a nice performance by one Tony Sneazwell, Australian of origin.  This a name I've long forgotten.  Sneazwell did a remarkable jump of 7' 2-5/8" straddling in a day when Brumel and Thomas were the only one's we heard about in High Jump competitions.  A number of things can be found about Tony's jumping career , even his old school logo, and  some video.  We'll connect you to that in this entry. He finished 13th at Tokyo in 1964 with a jump of 2.06 meters, and tied for 22nd at Mexico City with the same height.

Track and field in the United States has been washed, dried, folded and put away in a drawer until next year, but there is still action in the rest of the world. Two performances have captured this issue's front page mention and photos.

Czechoslovakia's Ludvig Danek has become the fifth member of the 200 foot discus club with a throw of 200-0½ or 60.97 meters in Prague September 8. A week later in Kiev he threw 60.96 to become the first to hit exactly 200 feet.
The other notable mark is that of Australia's Tony Sneazwell who high jumped 7-2 5/8 in Tokyo to move to third on the all time HJ list behind Brumel (7-5¾), John Thomas (7-3¾) and tie with China's Ni Chihchin.
Tony Sneazwell

Ron Clarke and Tony

Old Boys Crest of
Parade College where Tony attended public school and is now a distinguished alum

Sneazwell can be seen jumping at the following site.  Your computer may or may not be able to open it.

There is emphasis on the Olympic Games, both '64 and '68. Mexico City has been awarded the '68 Games, edging Detroit and Lyon, France 30-14-12 in the International Olympic Committee voting. Tokyo just held a dry run meet to get the kinks out before hosting next year's Games.
The Tokyo meet, the highlight of Tokyo International Sports Week, was held in mid-October, the same dates as next year's OGs. As this meet was not the focal point of athletic competition this year, it was too late for most of the top athletes to either show up or perform well, Sneazwell being the obvious exception.
The correction department: Remember the problem TFN had getting Mike or Jim Wood's name right? When last we visited that issue the young man was Jim. Not so any more. Now we are back to Mike. Stay tuned for further developments. .....Bill Baillie's WRs at ten miles and one hour also bear some adjustment. The track world has been taken aback by the correction of time and distance. After some study, the New Zealand AAA changed his one hour distance from 12 miles 960 yards to 12 miles 961 yards and his ten mile time from 48:10 to 48:09. Honest. (Anything to get those numbers a bit further out in the "Twilight Zone").
Take this for what it is worth. Dick Drake's On Your Marks column includes mention of this paragraph from the March issue of Ontario Track Monthly. “A Japanese TV unit visited New Zealand to film an exhibition mile among Arthur Lydiard's four best milers, but everything went wrong. Halberg left his spikes at home, he and Baillie forgot to wear their NZ vests and Lydiard lost his stopwatch. Snell finished last. (ed note: Do you get the feeling that somebody isn't really trying here?) On top of that, the TV camera ran out of film after three laps and Baillie, the winner, missed the starring roll of his life.” As the old saying goes, some days you shoulda just stood in bed.

Jim Dunaway in his appropriately named “Jim Dunaway Says” column takes on the failure the United States has had with its 400 relay teams in recent big meets. Citing disqualifications in the recent dual with the Soviet Union and the 1960 Olympic final, along with our 1956 Olympic win by a scant three yards over a mediocre USSR team, he cites the lack of practice as the cause. We have the best sprinters in the world, yet they don't have the sufficient opportunity to work together to achieve flawless baton passing. He lists three possible solutions which don't sound bad. The first is to have the fourth through seventh place finishers in the 100 be the team. They would be able to work together on a daily basis to perfect their passing. Now that the NCAA has the 400 relay in its championship meet, his second suggestion is that the US team should be the winner of that meet, thus providing a proven product. His third proposition would be to qualify teams that have placed in the top two at a major relay meet (Mt. SAC, Penn, Drake, Modesto, etc.) and have a runoff the day before the AAU meet.
There are two pages of Letters to the Editor. They run the gamut from a coach who has a seven year old who has run the 220 in 36.4 and adds, “I challenge anyone to top this mark”, (picture 7 year-olds across the country, putting down their crayons, turning off Bullwinkle, lacing up their spikes yelling, "Oh, yeah, we'll see about that!") then says that he believes the kid could run 35.0 “with longer training”.
At the other end of the spectrum is a tongue-in-cheek letter in which the writer mentions that he has seen that next year's Olympic schedule includes something called the “long jump” and encourages the NCAA and the AAU “to schedule this event – whatever it is – so that athletes from the US will not be completely shut out”. Could it be that the broad jump will finally go the way of the hop-step-jump and be replaced by a spiffy new name?
A page and a half is devoted to an article by European correspondent, R.L. Quercetani entitled “Athletes of the Century”. The title might be more accurately “Athletes of the Decade”, as he has listed the top three for each ten year period from 1900. Here goes - 1901-1910: 1) Alfred Shrubb (distance, Great Britain) 2) Melvin Sheppard (distance, US) 3) Ralph Rose (shot put, US) 1911- 1920: 1) Hannes Kolehmainen (distance, Finland)

2) Jim Thorpe (decathlon, US) 3) Ted Meredith (440, 880, US) 1921-1930: 1) Paavo Nurmi (distance, Finland) 2) Charlie Paddock, (sprints, US) 3) William Dehart Hubbard (100, broad jump, US) 1931-1940: 1) Jesse Owens (sprints, broad jump, US) 2) Rudolph Harbig (800, Germany)

Rudolf Harbig

Harbig in Berlin
Harbig (coat slung over shoulder) on the streets of Budapest, 1940
He competed until 1942 when he went off to war. He perished
in the Ukraine in 1944.
 3) Matti Jarvinen (javelin, Finland) 1941-1950: 1) Gundar Haag (distance, Sweden)
Haag defeating Arne Andersson in a 4:02 mile
 2) Cornelius Warmerdam (pole vault, US) 3) Harrison Dillard (hurdles, sprints, US) 1951-1960: 1) Emil Zatopek (distance, Czechoslavakia) 2) Herb Elliot (distance, Australia) 3) Bobby Morrow (sprints, US). He lists as favorites for the decade of the sixties Valeriy Brumel, Al Oerter and Peter Snell. Obviously there were athletes whose greatest years were in two decades making it tough for them to be ranked higher than one whose career was mostly in the same decade. Bob Mathias, whose Olympic decathlon victories came in 1948 and 1952, would be a prime example.
Undoubtedly these rankings will be the subject of long and loud arguments when the gang gathers for the regular Friday night track gabfest at the Dew Drop Inn. Let your reporter start the ball rolling by respectfully inquiring how the hell Bobby Morrow got ranked ahead of Parry O'Brien. O'Brien won two Olympic gold medals in the shot put, dominated the event by breaking the WR 17 times in the six year period he was the record holder, and reinvented the method of shot putting. And Paddock over Hubbard? Are you serious? Don't get me started.......Okay, that should get you guys through the first pitcher. After that you're on your own.

Dehart Hubbard  first African American
Olympic Gold medallist
Dehart Hubbard's Gold Medal
Hubbard in Action for the US

Alfred Schrubb

Wanna know more about Mel Sheppard? This is from the website of Rebecca Jenkins,author
www.rebeccajenkins.com     excerpt from her book  The First London Olympics, 1908 .

The Almost Milers

Wednesday August 8, 2012

The 1,500 meter competition was one of the most exciting of the first London Olympics.   It took place in the opening week in the stadium on the 13th and 14th of July 1908.   The weather wasn’t good, but the field – for the time – was.  

The Brits expected to win easily.     They had a strong team led by George Butterfield, the holder of the AAA title from 1905-1907 and the man who ran the world’s fastest mile in 1906.   Butterfield, born in Stockton on Tees in the North East of England, was a 29 year old barman from Darlington who ran with Darlington Harriers.    The local press liked to tell how he once ran a race with a greyhound.  The dog came in second.

George Butterfield, however, fell foul of an issue that caused great controversy among the visiting athletes at the first London Olympics – namely, the British Athletics organisers’ insistence that only the winner of each heat should qualify for the final.    The American team protested from the very beginning this local quirk, for it meant that it came down to the luck of the draw as to whether a country's best medal hopes were pitted against one another in a first round heat.  (The draws were made in secret too – which didn’t help confidence.)
In the 1,500 contest, for instance, GB’s Joe Deakin, winner of Heat 6, got into the final with a time of 4:13.6 when George Butterfield was knocked out with a time of 4:11.8 because he had the misfortune to be drawn in Heat 2 alongside the US star of the Irish American AC, Mel Sheppard.  Unfortunately for George, in Heat 2 Mel Sheppard, a 24 year old from New Jersey, set a new Olympic record with a time of 4:05.0.
(This was all the more unfortunate, since Joe Deakin was running in the team race later that day and had been asked to save his energies for that - so he was never likely to do that well in the 1,500 m.)

Sheppard’s record didn’t stand very long that time.   In the very next heat, Britain’s Norman Hallows, a 21 year old from Doncaster studying at Oxford University, broke it with a time 4:03.4, only just defeating Italy’s Emilio Lunghi, whose time of 4:03.8 would have won any of the other seven heats.
The British, however, were still confident they would carry off gold.   Their bet was on little HA Wilson, a 5ft 4 tall, 22-year-old born in Horncastle, Lincoln who had won the British Olympic trials with a world record setting time of 3:59.9 that May.

Besides, numerically speaking, the odds were in favour of Team GB.   Among the eight runners who lined up for the final, at 17.20 on Tuesday, 14 of July, five were British.   They  faced one Canadian, John Tait and two American champions from the famous Irish American Athletic Club of New York: Mel Sheppard  and Jim Sullivan – knicknamed “4:22 Jim” by his team-mates for running the mile in 4:22.5 in 1905.   (For those, like me, confused by the difference – the mile translates as 1,609.35 meters and so takes a bit longer to run than the 1,500 meter race.)
The weather that Tuesday wasn’t conducive to great performances.   ‘The temperature was low,’ one sports journalist recorded, ‘and a strong wind, laden with moisture, blew across the field, where the athletes sat shivering in blankets.’   At the best count, only 18,000 spectators sat huddled on the benches of the 80,000 seater White City stadium braving the mizzle.
The race, however, was thrilling.   Irishman Ivo Fairbairn-Crawford, a student at Dublin University, led off, holding his lead until the last third of the race, pressed by Wilson and JP Sullivan.   Then, on the back straight Wilson pulled ahead with Norman Hallows at his heels.

 [Wilson] ‘led at the last bend, making the pace a cracker,’ wrote the Sporting Life reporter, ‘while Sullivan closed up with Hallows, but in the straight Sheppard came at a great pace, and, catching Wilson about 15 yards from the tape, won a grand race by about a couple of yards; Hallows, about 10 yards away, third.  Sullivan, who was lying fourth close to home, did not pass the judges.’
Mel Sheppard had matched Norman Hallow’s freshly made Olympic record with a time of  4:03.4.       Sheppard's gold medal was one of 8 Olympic gold medals won by members of the Irish American Athletic Club of New York that year.    8 medals out of  the 13  Olympic gold medals the track and field stars of the US team brought back from the first London Olympics (out of a possible 23 firsts open for contest in track and field that Olympics).  It was a glorious achievement.
Mel Sheppard with the US team manager, Matt Halpin, at the WhiteCity Stadium, July 14 1908

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 30 Ottavio Missoni, A Life Well Spent

Commemorative Postage Stamp

Today, Rick Lower sent us a note about the passing of Ottavio Missoni.     "Who is this man?" you may ask.  It was certainly a question I asked myself.  Checking him out on Google I found a fascinating individual. His history indicates that there is life after track.   He was from Croatia, born in Dubrovnik, but under Italian rule at the time he  displayed his track talents for the nation of Italy running in the European Championships in 1939, and he continued to do so after WWII.  He last competed in the 1948 Olympics in London and placed 6th in the 400m Hurdles. He met a 16 year old Italian beauty in London and married her a year later.  They went on to found a major fashion house specializing in high end wool clothing.  They also made the Italian team uniforms for the games in 1952.  He was a 47+ 400 runner and 53 second hurdler. He fought in the Battle of El Alemein in North Africa, was captured by the British and was a prisoner for four years. I found references in Italian, that he competed regularly in Master's level track in Italian, European, and World Championships.   He lived the good life afterward, but in the last year he lost his eldest son  and daughter-in-law who who had taken over running the family business, in a plane crash in Venezuela.  I'm including a number photos taken off the google pages.  If any of you would like to donate one of his sweaters, let me know.  You would have to be very wealthy or shop in exclusive second hand stores.  According to an article below, Target carried his brand at cut rate prices and sold out in a day.

Note that this is a wool fabric, probably his first big contract
in the fashion business

Converse Auckland Racer  $200 retail

Missoni  Nike Swaggerjacks

Track meet probably inside the Monza Formula 1 track or
the Avus Ring in Berlin

London Olympics 1948

From The Telegraph, May 10, 2013

Ottavio 'Tai' Missoni

Ottavio 'Tai' Missoni, who has died aged 92, was the founder of his eponymous family fashion house, which became famous for its colourful geometric knitwear; he was also a track star who represented Italy in the 400 metre hurdles at the 1948 “austerity” Olympics in London.
The two strands of his career are connected. For it was in London that the 27-year-old “Tai” Missoni met Rosita Jelmini, a 16-year-old Italian girl who happened to be in the crowd at Wembley on the day he was running in the finals (he came sixth); she was being chaperoned by nuns who ran the language school she attended.
She and Missoni married in 1953 and set up a small business called Maglificio Jolly, making woollen tracksuits, in Gallarate, near Bergamo, not far from Rosita’s home village. Later they moved on to knitwear, presenting their first collection in Milan in 1958, when they changed their label to Missoni.
To begin with the business lost money, but as demand for “ready-to-wear” began to take off in the early 1960s the Missonis found themselves inundated with requests from top Italian department stores to produce ready-to-wear variations on designs featured in the Paris collections.
Their work was spotted by Anna Piaggi, the influential Italian fashion editor, and another big break came in 1965 when they made a knitwear collection with the French designer Emmanuelle Khanh. However, the event that really put them on the map was a show in Florence that proved to be a huge (if unintended) succès de scandale.
In 1967 the Missonis were invited to show at the city’s Pitti Palace, but before the models went out on the catwalk Rosita noticed that their bras were showing through their lamé tops, ruining the intended effect; so she told them to remove the offending items of underwear. Under the catwalk lighting, however, the tops became totally transparent, sending the photographers into a snapping frenzy.
The show’s organisers did not see the funny side, accusing the Missonis of turning the Pitti Palace into a sort of “Crazy Horse” cabaret, and the couple were not invited to return the following year. Soon afterwards, however, they found themselves featuring on the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Women’s Wear Daily and Harper’s Bazaar. After moving to a new factory in Sumirago in 1969, with their designs championed by Vogue’s then editor Diana Vreeland, they opened their first in-store boutique, at Bloomingdale’s, in 1970, and their first directly owned boutique, in Milan, in 1976.
In the early 1970s the Missonis reached the peak of their influence in the fashion world. Their bold use of intricate zigzags, waves, multicolour stripes, checks and patchwork allowed women to mix, if not match, the most daring colours and patterns — for example, a striped skirt and chequered jacket with a patchwork scarf. It was Tai who did the watercolours and gouaches that settled the colour and patterns, while Rosita shaped them into the easy to wear clothes that have become design classics.
Unlike most of their early competitors, the Missonis weathered the vagaries of fashion and the financial markets, finding new ways of updating their characteristic style to accommodate even such trends as grunge and minimalism. The company’s archives feature more than 7,000 designs of stripes, zigzags, tartans, patchworks and mélanges in fibres including silks, cottons, linens, wools, rayons, mohairs and metallic yarns like Lurex.
“We have always tried to innovate, to revamp the concept of knitwear. We have always remained artisans,” Rosita explained in a recent interview. “We have never thrown anything out — even the unsuccessful models — as we knew they could lead us to some new idea.”
Today the company is a global brand run by the Missonis’ children and grandchildren, encompassing ready-to-wear, haute couture, household furnishings, scent and even luxury hotels. The label had a turnover of £59 million in 2012 and has 40 stores around the world. Riding high on the recent revival of interest in print and colour, Missoni designs are advertised by Kate Moss and worn by Hollywood actresses such as Kate Hudson and Demi Moore.
One of two children of a captain in the Italian Navy and a Dalmatian noblewoman, Ottavio Missoni was born on February 11 1921 in Dubrovnik and brought up in Zadar, a city on the Dalmatian coast of what is now Croatia.
Zadar was occupied by the Italians during the First World War and they remained in control until Italy capitulated in 1943, after which the city was taken over by the Germans and then heavily bombed by the Allies. At the end of the Second World War it became part of Yugoslavia.
As a boy Ottavio excelled in athletics, and in 1937, aged 16, he became the youngest member of Italy’s national team.
That year, in the 400 metres at an event in Milan, he beat the American Elroy Robinson, then the world record holder for the 880 yards, putting in a performance which, he was always proud to recall, remained the best ever by a 16 year-old in the 400 metres.
The following year he ran in the European Championships, and in 1939 won the 400 metres at the Italian Championships and at the World Student Games.
Missoni’s athletics career had to be put on hold during the Second World War, when he served in the Italian Army in North Africa. In 1942 he fought at El Alamein, but was captured by the British and spent the remainder of the war as a PoW in Egypt. “It wasn’t exactly a Club Med type of environment ideal for training,” he recalled.
Though not in top physical shape when he emerged, he was selected for the Italian team for the 1948 Olympics, an event he recalled in later life as being “beautiful, natural and spontaneous, not like now, when everything is inflated, blown out of proportion”. His trainer had a small knitting company in Trieste, and together they made woollen tracksuits for the Italian team that Missoni would later develop into his family business empire.
The laid-back Missoni liked to joke that when he and Rosita first set up shop he was the president but she would do all the work: “I’m lazy. My favourite pastimes are sleeping and reading, so work for me has always been an effort.”
Effort or not, his fabric designs, with their extraordinary range of textures and vivid colours, came to be seen as works of art, featuring in exhibitions at leading museums. Missoni also became involved in numerous other design projects, from interiors for Mazda cars and costumes for operas at La Scala, to carpets and tapestries.
Beginning in 1996, Tai and Rosita gradually passed control of their fashion empire to their children, and in 2011 Tai published his autobiography, Una vita sul filo di lana (“A life on the woollen thread”, written with Paolo Scandaletti), its title a pun referring to his twin successes as an athlete and fashion designer — before the arrival of photo-finishes, a thread was used to determine the winner of a race.
The final months of Missoni’s life were overshadowed by the disappearance in January of his eldest child, Vittorio, marketing director of the family business, with his wife and four others, while flying in a small plane during a holiday trip to an island off the coast of Venezuela. While wreckage of the plane has washed up on shore, their bodies have not been found.
Ottavio Missoni is survived by his wife and by their surviving son and daughter.

Ottavio Missoni, born February 11 1921, died May 9 2013

  • Missoni for Target line sells out, raises question 2011

Missoni for Target line sells out, raises questions
Head to Bloomingdale's or Saks Fifth Avenue on any given day and you can purchase a cardigan from the legendary Italian fashion house Missoni for around $600, or a pair of heels for around $300. If you went to Target this past Tuesday, or shopped the retailer's e-commerce site, you could have purchased comparable items in the "Missoni for Target" line, with average prices of $40 and $30, respectively.
Lots of people did just that — some of them waiting in line outside the stores hours before they opened — and the result was a complete website crash, a manic rush for the shelves and a nearly completely sold-out inventory. Now, the question remains whether the admittedly odd pairing of the two brands has produced a net positive result for Target, or a swarm of customer ill-will.
"Missoni is so luxury driven, this is a huge deal," said Mary O'Brien, a New York fashionista who formerly worked at Bloomingdale's and now sells luxury apparel online. "Many people do not understand why a brand as exclusive as Missoni would ever even consider doing a line with Target."
Founded in 1953, Missoni knitwear is known for its distinctively colorful, zig-zag and geometric patterns. The company has also diversified over the years into carpet, perfumes and tapestries.
The partnership was announced earlier this year, with Target using the interim months to build excitement via blogs, social media, print and TV advertising and an appearance at New York Fashion Week. Giovanna Dimperio, advertising executive and sartorialist, said the retailer's buzz-building was amazingly effective.
"Target's PR team did a fantastic job generating buzz and getting placements," she said. "I believe about a month ago I learned the exact date it would be available, and marked my calendar."
Plenty of other people did too, evidently: By 7:47 am the target.com site was down, a courtesy message from the Target dog letting visitors know "we are suddenly extremely popular." From coast to coast, shoppers reported empty shelves as soon as a few minutes after the doors opened.

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"... literally snatched Missoni items out of each other's carts."
Shoppers waiting to buy Missoni products at Target
Lines form outside a San Diego Target, 30 minutes before opening.
(Photo by Susie Yoo.)
The fact that these products were in the "Missoni for Target" line and not the "real" Missoni line — they are admittedly lower in quality and are mass-produced, O'Brien said — wasn't enough to prevent shoppers from getting them, and a lot of them, at any cost.
In San Diego, lines started forming at 7:30, a half-hour before the store opened. Shopper Susie Yoo said she "watched in amused horror as grown women name-called and literally snatched Missoni items out of each other's carts" when the doors were opened. The store sold out of the items within 20 minutes, she said.
Heather Adessa had a similar experience at a New York location. She arrived at the store an hour and a half after it opened, and although the Missoni shelves were bare, many of the shoppers were still in the aisles with their loot.
"People were wheeling around carts with 5 pieces of the Missoni Luggage, 5 comforter sets, 10 pillows," she said. "It was insane. Then a group of women with carts and carts of products each gathered near the registers and were dividing up the products amongst each other. The Target employees sat there and saw them and didn't say anything."
"I was very lucky not to get trampled," said Amy Halloran, a self-professed "proud Missoni owner" in Chicago. "I have never in my life witnessed grown women acting so aggressive. I saw several women with small babies in their cart full of Missoni product who left their cart (and child) and ran toward a Target employee bringing out more shoes."
The online experience was a frustration for many, too. Jewelry designer Ann Marie Sclafani said she bought around $300 worth of product during the "one-hour blip that it was working." She got an email later in the day with expected ship dates. The next day, she got word that three of the items she bought are not available for the estimated ship date and she would not be charged until they were on the way. "However, I was already charged for the entire order," she said. "It was a total failure on so many levels as a consumer."
The Target website was back up by Wednesday morning, but most Missoni products are listed as "out of stock."
Lifestyle blogger Stacy Geisinger sums it up bluntly: "Target failed," she said. "Their website crashed. So much promotion and not enough product. They could have made a fortune. Instead they have many disappointed customers."
Geisinger said the racks at her New York Target were empty by 10 o'clock, and that people "just took as much as they could grab. The store was filled with so many disappointed women."
Retail Customer Experience blogger AnnaMaria Turano posits that while the partnership might have generated dollars and buzz for Target, it could "prove to be disastrous for Missoni's brand."
"Now that the expensive knitwear's iconic images are within the reach of the mass audience, Missoni may unfortunately experience backlash from their consumers who were loyal to the brand pre-Target," she writes in her latest post. "These Missoni loyalists might stop shopping and might stop wearing Missoni if they are concerned that others might confuse the boutique offerings with the made-for-Target line."
Geisinger also speculates that most of the shoppers were snapping up the product with the intention of reselling it online, and she may be right: As of this writing, the number of listings for Missoni for Target products on eBay is around 44,000 and rising by the minute.
Target did not respond to our request for comment.

Vol. 3 No. 29 September, 1963 part two JOE FAUST

September 1963 part two Joe Faust

The last entry, September 1963, contained a two page article on high jumper Joe Faust entitled “Meet Joe Faust”. It was originally printed in the June issue of Sport magazine and reprinted in T&FN. Join us, if you will, for a stroll with Joe down memory lane.
We are greeted by a small photo of a smiling Joe wearing a checkered coat and a bow tie. There have been some changes since the article was compiled. In that time Joe has resigned from the Pan Am team, retired from track, unretired, suffered a back injury which will curtail his training and is engaged to be married next April to Joanne Radaich, the 1962 Mt. SAC Relays Queen.
He intended to enroll at USC, but was three credits short of his junior college degree. Now he has made up those credits, but is not enrolled because he has been registered in college for seven of the ten semesters the NCAA permits for athletic eligibility. By waiting until the spring semester he will have two years of track eligibility. Currently he is employed at Douglas Aircraft.
As the article has been published in Sport magazine, Joe has read it and supplied corrections as he sees fit. As you will see, Joe marches to the beat of a different drummer as he takes the road less traveled.
Joe is described by critics as “a confused, irresponsible exhibitionist”. Others say that he is simply “a young man groping physically and spiritually for a station in life”. There is a spiritual side to his personality that is expressed in his effort to support others. Examples given are two nights spent in a “hobo jungle” in Sacramento “sharing his food and money with the hobos” and the gathering of leftover food in the Rome Olympic village to give to the hungry in the streets.
Joe dresses in what he calls “the spirit of poverty” - a plain shirt, jeans and ragged tennis shoes. He doesn't carry a wallet, only a rosary and a small amount
of change. To keep his mindset “pure, healthy and harmonious” he takes jobs which offer “rude, manual labor under obedience”. When attending UCLA he worked as a janitor. At Occidental he was a maintenance man. His longest stint in college was at Mt. SAC where he mowed lawns for seventy-five cents and hour. During the periods when he wasn't in college he has been a short order cook, a junkman and an errand boy.
Joe was a straight A student and student body president at Culver City High, graduating at 16. He enrolled at UCLA in the fall of 1959, only to drop out four weeks later.
That summer he qualified for the Olympic team with a 7-0 jump, but a pulled ligament in his takeoff foot hindered him and he could do no better than 17th with a clearance of 6-4¾.
During his time in Rome his spiritual evolution led him do decide to enter a seminary, but he arrived home too late to register. He enrolled again at Occidental, but left after six weeks of the fall semester. That spring he was back at UCLA, only to leave after a week and a half.
On June 1, 1961, a year to the day after he had first cleared seven feet, Joe entered Our Lady of New Clairvaux Trappist Cistercian Abby in Vina, California, a monastery that required silence. He was named Brother Zachary. His head was shaved. He rose each morning at 2:30 and lifted heavy bales of hay all day long. Ten days later he was gone.
“I loved the life,” Faust said. “I dropped out because I didn't admit during my interview that I had fallen from grace within six months before I entered. You can't start a vocation on a foundation like that.” Last summer he requested readmission and was denied.
This is where the Buchanan family stepped in a provided guidance. His friend, pole vaulter Dallas Buchanan, invited Joe to live with his family. Dallas' father suggested Joe attend Mount San Antonio, the junior college near the family home in Claremont, and so began Joe's longest and most successful college experience. The stability of the Buchanan family provided much needed structure. Mrs. Buchanan saw him as having a “restless, troubled soul” and that “He needs anchoring, a family to report to.”
Living with the Buchanans' saw him stay in school all year. His Mt. SAC counselor, Bill Cunliffe, father of Joe's Olympic teammate, Ernie Cunliffe, said of Joe, “This is a zestful, eager, dedicated young man, full of the joy of living, who want to cram as much into his life as a 25 hour day will permit. He isn't suspect of life. He doesn't take the trouble to figure out intermediate goals – like finishing school first and then going into his vocation. He wants to test out things and he needs an institution which is flexible enough to understand him instead of one that tries to fit him into the mold.
At the time of the writing of this article, Joe was living with the Buchanans and taking odd jobs, but four times during the year and a half that he lived with them he left unannounced. Apparently the family would come home to find Joe gone. “I see nothing wrong with these excursions”, said Joe. The indiscretion is not forewarning the people I am responsible to. I am learning to do this.”
His most famous disappearance began on a Friday evening when school had closed for spring break. He had a date with a girl, but she was too tired to go out, so Joe talked with her father until 1:30 in the morning. Instead of going home, Joe went to Los Angeles and caught a bus for Arbuckle, a small farming town 450 miles north where he planned to work for a year and then reenter the monastery. There he visited a girl he had met on a previous trip and they went out that evening.
The following afternoon plans changed again and Joe began hitchhiking the 60 miles to Sacramento en route home. He walked twelve miles in the blazing sun before getting a ride.
In Sacramento he stayed with hobos, spending the $1.23 he had on food for them and himself. The hobos showed him how to hop a freight. He rode all night atop a load of plywood on a flatcar, arriving in Los Angeles in the morning, cold, hungry and tired. When he got back to the Buchanans' he slept for 16 hours. Likely he would have slept longer, but he was awakened in time to catch the team bus for a meet at Cerritos College.
Taking whatever positive he could from his experience, he reported that he felt rested, that the walk in the sun had helped drain fluids from his body and that the train ride had sensitized him. He then produced the best jump of his life, 7-1¾.
Since 1960 Joe has been bothered by injuries, a recurrence of the foot injury and a groin pull. This January he said that he hoped to jump 7-4 this season. But his goal is not a specific height. It is the “Ideal Climatic Jump” which he says “will come once in a lifetime when I have all my spring and my glandular energies are at a peak and I have a deep unifying purpose.”
Hilmer Lodge, Joe's coach at Mt. SAC calls Joe “a modern day Spartan” and says that he is the hardest working athlete he has ever seen. One has to believe that Joe plans his own workouts which are designed to teach him “aggression under fatigue.” It is not unusual for him to take 75-100 jumps in a session (see foot injury; recurrence). His goal is to clear 6-6 100 times without a miss.
Other than high jumping, Joe has no interest in sports nor does he associate with other athletes, preferring to keep to himself and study philosophy, theology and metaphysics. He pours himself into letter writing, once penning a 20 page letter to a girlfriend.
He has never played another sport. His high school coach, Bill Rourke, discovered the 11 year old Joe in a seventh grade PE class. He took Joe aside and told him he had world class potential and outlined a year by year progression. At the time Joe was often in trouble in school and out. High jumping gave him a purpose in life and he threw himself into it. He built a high jump pit in his backyard and jumped four or five hours a day. The combination of talent and drive produced world bests for ages 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17.
That Ideal Climatic Jump might be right around the corner or it may never come. If it doesn't it won't be for the lack of trying.
The article supplies more questions than answers. To more fully understand this complex individual we have to go outside the pages of T&FN and Sport magazine. An internet search produced an article written by David Maraniss in his book, Rome 1960...The Olympics That Changed the World. Maraniss provides the background that puts some sense to what caused Joe Faust to become Joe Faust.
Joe's father, Louis (Bob) Faust apparently was a less than ideal dad. He was an actor who played the villain in several John Wayne movies. When Joe was five, his father left Joe's pregnant mother and their seven children. Joe's mother was unable to care for the family by herself and Joe was placed with a foster family. During this period Joe became a devout Catholic.
Now we flash ahead to Joe in his 60's as Rick Weingarten picks up the story in a Culver City High School alumni periodical. “Over the years,, he married, had children, got divorced and struggled with a molecule 2000 feet underground. What part did that molecule play in the scheme of life? It was a hole in his theological construct that remained unfilled for years, until it came to him that a single molecule had its own graceful movement in the universe. 'That lonely molecule is not so lonely', he decided.
Nearly a half century after his moment in Rome, Faust, in his mid-60's, lived a monastic life alone in a cramped room in a cottage nestled on the side of a scrubby tan hill just off the 710 Freeway not far from Cal State LA. Inside his room he had a table, a filing cabinet (folders on new high jump landing pit designs, trash technology, mind and spirit notes), a shelf of books (The Joy of Mathematics, The Sistine Chapel, The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World), another shelf of food (cereal, bananas, 7-grain bread, grapes, oranges), a small refrigerator, a sofa bed and a computer. There were makeshift shelves and a grill outside the side door. It seemed all he needed. He was like a single molecule of Olympic history buried deep under ground, alone, but still moving and in his movement connected to everything else. Once he knew Rafer Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, Cassius Clay.
The backyard had the marking of a scavenger, a cluttered junkyard of collected planks of oak, sheets of plywood, scraps of iron, chunks of cement, bricks, stones, all arranged in a haphazard yet loving array. Down at the bottom third of the yard there was a clearing with an old mattress on the ground, and a further look showed twin poles rising at either end, a bamboo crossbar nearby, and a worn path in the dirt coming from the left toward the tattered mattress. With no one watching, Joe Faust was high jumping still, with a sore knee but bounce in his step, practicing his cycle of repair, rising with penance, cleaning the crucifix, absolving his sins, descending with gratitude.”
That might be a good place to end the story of Joe Faust, but were we to do that, we would be giving a false impression, that of a solitary troubled man, disconnected from the world, reliving the achievements of fifty years ago. That just ain't so.
In the early 70's Joe became enamored with the freedom provided by hang gliding. According to information published on his internet “wiki”, he has been heavily involved in hang gliding ever since.
To say that hang gliding has become his life would not be an overstatement. According to his wiki, he is the owner of Omega Hang Gliders (couldn't find OHG on the internet) and was a founding member of the Hang Glider Association of America in 1971. He has founded or co-founded numerous hang gliding magazines or e-zines and has been a mover and a shaker in many hang gliding organizations. Both his wife and son participated in the sport.
When downloaded, his wiki runs 15 somewhat disjointed pages with many random thoughts. Topics include My HG World; Pilot Ratings; Some Favorite Craft and Flying Dreams and Goals; Questions and Topics that Keep Surfacing in Me; HG Accidents, Injuries, Guards; Recent 2000-2011 HG Calendar Blog; My Flight Log is not complete yet, under construction and Current Flight Schedule.
He says that his best hang gliding weight is 180 pounds, but though he grew to slightly over 200, he continued to hang glide, overcoming a variety of injuries to log 89 flights in 2010, the year he became 68.
Never one to be without hopes, dreams and plans, in 2010 he wrote that five years ago he set a goal of living without a car while he designed, built and flew “pilot carryable” gliders that could be safely carried on a bus. “At every turn there is temptation to return to having a car, but I continue with my goal.”
Once that goal is achieved, the next project will be to “make a master map of urban flight spots in Los Angeles City reachable by bus using my monthly bus pass”.
Indicative of how Joe's thought process works is a notation in his calendar blog. Between technical notes on June 17, 2010 and June 20, 2010 is the entry, “L.A. Lakers won championship.”
He does not refer to high jumping, but rather “null wing flights” as in “baby at age 17 of USA Olympic Track and Field Team of Rome 1960 after becoming third amateur in contest in world history to fly null win over 7 feet AGL (absolute ground level) at Stanford University US Olympic Trials.”
He also states that his “best AGL with the null wing was 7 foot 4.75 inches at the moment when world absolute record was one-quarter inch lower.” Had Joe set the WR and no one knew?
Later he explains this reference. After stating from 1954 to the present that he has achieved over 10,000 null wing flights, he refers to that moment. “For about six seconds the bar stayed up and witnessed by many in a third similar competition within 24 hours at Mt. SAC Relays, one flight was over a square cross-sectioned wood bar set at 7 feet 4 and ¾ inches AGL; at that moment, the official world record was less than that. The launch was with longer and faster approach than normally used; my adrenaline naturally had been pumped; future wife was being crowned queen in the same stadium at the session. This was a peak experience of jumping-flying-gliding with self-soar body wing; I still see and feel that moment today; it carries me often through challenging HG matters.” Perhaps Joe did achieve his Ideal Climatic Jump after all.

The best place to leave the story of Joe Faust is the viewing of a commercial of the early 70's.  There you will see a youthful Joe in the way he would like to be remembered.

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...