Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 74 Two Letters from Orville Atkins and John Bork


Our mention of Franz Stampfl in the previous post elicited several nice letters from readers
The first letter is from Orville Atkins, giving us the Canadian perspective of the early days of 4 minute miling.    The second is from John Bork on the Mexico Olympics. We've added a few photos and some research on Dr. David Bailey.
From Orville Atkins:

Hi George, Thanks for keeping the good info from those olden days coming. 
I remember when Bannister broke 4 minutes.  It was 1954, the same year that the new magazine "Sports Illustrated" was published.  Their first athlete of the year was Bannister.
Then on August 7, 1954 Bannister defeated John Landy in the British Empire Games.

You can see that Vancouver mile in its entirety at the following link.  Please forgive in advance the commentator who obviously knows little of the event, and badly miscalls this race from the start.
Nothing new to track and field TV announcers of our modern era. ed.

Canadian Rich Ferguson was 3rd in that race with a new Canadian Record4.04.6.               

                  Rich Ferguson

 In the early 1960s several other Canadians aimed at that 4 minute barrier.----

Ergas Leps ran 4.01.1,
                                                   Lepps (59)   in a 1500 heat  at Tokyo 1964

Bruce Kidd 4.01.4, Jim Irons 4.01.9,

                                                                     Jim Irons

Bill Crothers 4.02.4, John Valiant 4.02.7, Vic Reeve 4.03.4, and Allan Birtles 4.03.9.  Also 17 year David Bailey ran what I think was a World age Group record of 4.07.7 in 1962.
In 1972, I was at at a Track and Field News banquet with many of the most knowledgeable Track and Field experts of the era when a tall, thin man and without warning stepped out on the stage.  The whole audience stood and gave him a 5 min+ standing ovation.  It was Sir Roger.

             Dr. David Bailey

 Several East York Track Club team mates of David Bailey were to run in a meet in San Diego on June 11, 1966 but the meet officials would not provide David with a plane ticked so Coach Fred Foot gave him his own ticket and did not go.  David went on to run Canada's first mile under 4 minutes by running 3.59.1.
On July 22, 1967, David Bailey and Bill Crothers ran in a mile race at Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto.  Bill stepped of the track at the three quarter point and David Bailey went on to run 3.57.7 becoming the first Canadian to run under four minutes on Canadian soil.

 Several years ago, David Bailey, PhD was in London England.  He called Dr. Bannister and asked to meet with him.  Sir Roger drove up at ten on the dot and they walked around Iffley Field.  David then said:
"Thank you for leading the way."'  "Thank you for changing my Life."

Dr. David Bailey is today a renowned pharmacology researcher who has elaborated  the adverse effects of grapefruit on uptake of many common drugs we take daily.  If you use any statin drugs for controlling cholesterol levels in your blood,  and your doctor has warned you not to consume grapefruit, you can thank David Bailey for making that discovery.  Grapefruit can have the effect of augmenting the uptake to cause an overdose.   Over 85 different drugs are affected in this way by grapefruit. ed

You did a great job of adding pictures to my short history of Canada's first sub four minute mile. 
I still have all of my programmes from the 1964 Olympics with the times written in as they were run.
Leps was 4th in his heat in 3:46.4..  W. Baran of Poland was first in  3:45.3.  J.L. Davies of New Zealand was second in 3:45.5 and Dyrol Burleson was third in 3.45.6.
You can see Burleson in lane 2 over Leps right shoulder in the picture.
"The first four in each heat together with the two fastest losers will quqlify for the semi-final".  I never liked that phrase.  If they go on to the next round they are far from losers.
#416 in the picture was R. Subramaniam  (Mal) was not in the top six.
Leps was 8th in the first semi-final and Burleson won the second in 3.41.5 and was 5th in 3.40.0 according to what I wrote.
Did you know the there was at least one United States citizen 
in every men's running event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics?
I consider it the best Olympic Games of the 7 that I have seen I have seen.


When I went to the 1968 Mexico Olympics, I met Ralph Doubell, Tony Sneazwell and others.
                         Ralph Doubell Today

    Ralph Doubell Taking the 800 at Mexico City 1968
It was my first Olympic Promotion for Onituska Tiger.
I traded a Strider T-Shirt with Tony Sneazwell for one of his Olympic Singlets, which I still have.
I also traded with Arndt Krueger (UCLA) who ran the 1,500M for Germany.and traded a Strider shirt for an German olympic singlet.as well. That's how prestigious the Striders were in those days!

If Wade Bell had not been incapacitated by Montezuma's revenge, I think that the home stretch run with Bell an Doubell would have made "Special History".

PS, My former charge, Jack Bacheler from Miami of Ohio, was also stricken with Dysentery and could not make the start of the 5,000M.  He would have been my only "Tiger Shoe" performer. Conrad  Nightingale had been lured away from me by Adidas with $$.
Conrad Nightingale
in Halstead Kansas HS photo
He ran in the Steeplechase in 1968

I just finished reading "Something in the Air" by Richard Hoffer, last night.
I think that it is well researched and a fairly accurate account of the Mexico Games.
However, I think that his view of "officialdom and authority, while accurate is still somewhat overblown.
Yet, It is hard to overstate the disdain most us had for Avery Brundage.

I was sitting on the stadium's front rail directly in front of the long jump pit with Art Walker, our Strider Triple Jumper when Bob Beamon made his gigantic leap of 29'2"  When Beamon passed by us he was literally 2-4" higher in the air than the previous jumpers.
Then when they rolled out the surveyors measuring devise which was on a track and, it fell of the track at the end. (which was at 28' for good measure.)
I had my Track & Field News Metric Conversion tables in hand so, when they finally got a tape measure and then listed
8.9 Meters on the score board I quickly flipped thru my tables and said, "Art, this is 29 feet 2" inches. Can that be correct.?"
Then, as I looked over to the bench were Ralph Boston, Ter-Ovaneysan, Charlie May and others were seated, the looks on the faces said "It's all over" Never in my life have I seen world record holders and former world record holders so defeated. Not before, nor after.
 John Bork


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