Friday, November 1, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 67 More Timeless Photos from the Banks of the Seine and a Story about Franjo Mihalic and the Sao Sylvestre race in Brazil

Two more photos, rarely seen,  from Jerry McFadden

Here are more of the old photos I promised you last week

Photo 1. shows Gordon Pirie (1) leading in the March, 1953, "Cross Des Nations" (precursor to the modern International XC Champs) at Vincennes, France, in front of Thys (15) and Van Wattyene (16). The Englishman Pirie was the favorite but faded to 6th. Mihalic from Yugoslavia won. Pirie set 5 world records in his prime, including 5K in 13:36.8 and 3K in 7:52.7 in 1956. He also took a silver medal in the 5K in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.  Mihalic took the silver in the marathon at Melbourne and won Boston in 1958.

Photo 2. shows the XC hurdles in the middle of the same race. Mihalic (135) eventually won, Surprisingly, the final distance was not listed in newspaper article, although the winning time was 47:53.1. 


A clear view of Mihalic the winner is not evident in these pictures
but his head is partially seen behind Gordon Pirie's head.
Note the close distance between these barriers

Click to see enlarged copy of meet results
More about  Franjo Mihalic (Yougoslavia) the winner of Cross des Nations  1953
Who was Mihalic?  Probably you have forgotten that Franjo Mihalic won the Boston Marathon in 1958 and a silver medal in the marathon in 1956 behind Alain Mimoun in the Melbourne Olympics. 
A brief youtube clip can be seen at
Longer and rather bizarrely edited clips also show up on youtube if you type in Mihalic's name.  What is remarkable is that the man was such a good international runner for a long period of time.  Born in 1920, he would have spent his best years surviving Nazi occupation during WWII and probably not being able to do much training.  A twenty years old healthy male most likely spent a lot of time in the military.  If you speak Serb or Croatian,  you  may be able to learn more about him on the youtube clips, some of which are over 20 minutes long.   At 93 years of age he is still alive today.   An interesting thing that came up in googling his name is that he ran in the Sao Sylvestre New Year's Eve run with Zatopek in Brazil in the 1950's.   A picture of him on the podium with Zatopek can be seen at the following website, and more interestingly you will have a history of that famous race.  It has been computer translated from Portugese to English, so there are some glaring translation mistakes, but you can still get this gist of the story.

Mihalic in Europe

Mihalic and some of his hardware

Mihalic counseling  French singer and actor Charles Azanevour who played a Czech marathoner (Zatopek?)
in the film "The Games". 
With Veikko Karvonen, and Alain Mimoun in Melbourne after the Marathon

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