Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Saturday, December 28, 2013

In the 1950's my hometown of Dayton, Ohio was blessed with hosting the national AAU track and field championships.   In 1950 a new stadium, funded by popular subscriptions from the citizenry, was built for the ten high schools in the city to use for football.   The head of public school athletics, Perc Welcome, believed that track and field might also be worth seeing at that venue and was able to negotiate the installation of an eight lane state of the art cinder track.  A few years after Mr. Welcome's retirement , the stadium was named after him and goes by that name today.  Today it is used as the home football stadium for the University of Dayton.   It seats only 8,000.   It has hosted the two national meets and a number of state AAU meets and for about  four years the Ohio State High School Meet was held there in the late 1990's while the Ohio State University removed its historic track in the football stadium and built the newer Jesse Owens stadium on the banks of the Olentangy River.

As a thirteen year old in 1957, I had almost no interest in seeing the 1957 meet, as I was more involved in being a caddy at a local golf course.   What I heard about the meets in later years was that they were poorly organized by the local committees, and as a result Dayton was never considered in later years to host again.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 82 Departed Members of 1960 US Olympic Team


A few weeks ago Earl Young, 400 and 4x400 meters member of the 1960 US Olympic team that went to Rome, contacted us and sent some of his photographs and asked if we might remember his teammates who have passed away.  The first who came to my mind were Glenn Davis, Wilma Rudolph, Cliff Cushman, and Dick Howard.  But in doing a bit of research (sportreference.com)  I found the list to be much longer,  twenty-three total.   This posting is dedicated to those men and women of 1960 the departed and the living.  Have a joyous holiday from Roy and George and thank you for following our work on Once Upon a Time in the Vest. We will follow with a second posting honoring the still living members of that team.

Here is Earl Young's letter:


My pleasure to share those pictures with you. Saw Jack (Yerman)  in 2010 when Abilene Christian University honored my 50 year anniversary of Rome. He was thoughtful enough to join me at ACU. Great day.

I was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia September 2011. Had bone marrow transplant January 2012. My body is finally coming back and I am looking forward to some more life. That said --- it would be nice to have a spot on your blog that mentions those that are not with us any longer from the Rome team. Just a thought. There were some truly great Americans on that team. They were all older than me, and I had followed them for years. It all happened rather fast for me. I ran 49.6 May of 1958 as a senior in high school and 2 years later was standing on the winners' stand in Rome. 

Thanks for the great memories George. I may be in Vancouver in the next few months and would love to visit.

My Best,

Here is the list (alphabetically).  There are a number of links to articles about various individuals and in some cases, bios written specifically for this entry.  Special thanks to Pete Brown who wrote the synopsis of Dick Howard's life and career. If we went into detail or opened all the links, this would become a small book.  We leave it to you to open the links to remember more about these great athletes. ed.

John Allen

 John Allen was 24th in the 50Km race walk at Rome 5 hrs. 3 min.
His obituary in the Buffalo News does not even mention his being an Olympian.

Ed Bagdonas

Bagdonas at West Point

Edward Bagdonas - Ed served as the Troop Commander in late 1966 until Jan 1967. He passed away on Mar 29, 1985. He played football at West Point on the undefeated 1958 team. He represented the United States in the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome in the hammer throw. He retired after 21 years as a LTC. His last assignment was related to the development of the M1 Tank.  He is buried in the Wildwood Cemetery in Gardner, Worcester Co, MA. (from website of A Troop 3rd squadron 4th CAV 25th Infantry Division)

This famous picture by George Silk was taken of Ed Bagdonas at the 1960 Olympic trials with a photo finish camera to give
the distorted effect but one still showing the tremendous forces at work in the hammer throw.

Earlene Brown
Rome Bronze Medal Shot Put
Earlene had a second career in Roller Derby after she retired from Track and Field.

Lee Calhoun
2 Times Olympic Champion in 110 HH
 The following youtube collection shows many of Lee Calhoun's biggest races
thanks to  Leif Bugge for his wonderful collection of track videos on youtube.  You can find them by putting Leif's name in the search box of youtube.  There are over 200 videos of many of our heroes to be seen.

Peter Close

 1500 Meters
9th in heat 3 round one at Rome  time: 3:50.96 automatic
Hal Connolly


Harold Connolly, Who Beat Odds in Olympics and Romance, Dies at 79

Harold Connolly, who overcame a withered left arm to win the hammer throw in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and then married the women’s discus champion, Olga Fikotova of Czechoslovakia, after a storybook cold war romance, died Wednesday in Catonsville, Md. He was 79.
Associated Press
This obituary was from The New York Times in 2010
Harold Connolly won a gold medal despite a withered left arm.

Connolly was at his gym doing his regular workout on an exercise bicycle when he passed out, said his second wife, the former Pat Daniels, a three-time American Olympic runner and pentathlete. He apparently hit his head on the concrete floor and died, she said.
Connolly’s left arm was injured during birth, and he fractured it 13 times as a child. His left arm grew to be four and a half inches shorter than his right and his left hand two-thirds the size of his right. As he wrote of his childhood in his unpublished memoirs:
“I began to consider myself a reject, chained to a small army of twisted bodies in the hospital waiting room, and responded by trying to ignore my crippled associates. I wanted to push myself into the ‘normal’ society. I was a handicapped person who knows the agony of all-out trying and not accomplishing. They didn’t treat the disabled with dignity then. I couldn’t stand to be treated differently.”
When he won his Olympic gold medal, photographers yelled at him to raise his arms in triumph. He lifted only his right arm.
In 1991, he told The New York Times: “The thought of being patronized made me sick. I wanted to play by the rules, not rules adapted for me because I was disabled.”
The hammer is a 16-pound metal ball attached to a handle by a chain almost four feet long. The thrower spins three or four times in a ring and flings it. What Connolly lacked in arm strength, he made up for with speed and leg power.
Connolly competed in four Olympics, finishing eighth in 1960 (“Too much pressure,” he said) and sixth in 1964 and not qualifying for the final in 1968. In 1972, he finished fifth in the United States trials and failed to make the team.
In an event in which Americans seldom do well, he broke the world record six times, starting with 218 feet 10 inches in 1956 and ending with 233 feet 9 inches in 1965. Now, with improved training, coaching and technique, the record is more than 284 feet.
Connolly won nine United States titles in the hammer throw and three in the indoor 35-pound weight throw. In 1984, he was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In the 1956 Olympics, wearing ballet shoes for better footing, he won with a throw of 207-3. Years later, he said: “I was emotionally removed from the scene. I knew my life would never be the same. So I was standing there when the other medalists turned toward the flags for the national anthems. They started playing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and I was stupidly still facing the stands, not the flags. I didn’t even hear the anthem.”
Mikhail Krivonosov of the Soviet Union, the world record holder and silver medalist, put his hand on Connolly’s hip, turned him and saved the day.
Earlier at those Olympics, Connolly met Fikotova. A romance ensued, and the next year he went to Prague and received permission from the Czech president to marry her. They were married in three ceremonies there, with a celebration before 40,000 well-wishers.
They were divorced in 1974. In 1975, he married Daniels, who became the coach of Evelyn Ashford and other outstanding runners.
Besides his wife, Connolly is survived by four children from his first marriage: two sons, Mark, of Las Vegas, and Jim, of Marina del Rey, Calif., and two daughters, Merja Connolly Freund of Corona del Mar, Calif., and Nina Southard of Costa Mesa, Calif.; two children from his second marriage: a son, Adam, of Silver Spring, Md., and a daughter, Shannon Podduturi, of Manhattan; a stepson, Bradley Winslow, of San Jose, Calif.; and five grandchildren.
Jim Connolly was the N.C.A.A. decathlon champion for U.C.L.A. in 1987, and Adam Connolly was America’s third-ranked hammer thrower in 1999.
Harold Vincent Connolly was born Aug. 1, 1931, in Somerville, Mass., and raised in Brighton, Mass. He paid his own way to Boston College, where he was a mediocre shot-putter. When he retrieved hammers in practice and threw them back farther than the hammer throwers had thrown them, he was switched.
He graduated in 1953 and later spent 30 years as a high school teacher and vice principal in Santa Monica, Calif., and 11 years as a Special Olympics executive. After retiring in 1999, he became a traveling coach and salesman for the hammer throw and ran the promotional Web site hammerthrow.org.
In 1983, he wrote in The New York Times that he had used anabolic steroids for many years, before they were illegal. He said he did not know if they had helped his performances. A year after he stopped using them, the 250 pounds on his 6-foot frame had dropped to 203. In later years, he opposed the use of steroids.
“I used to think that each athlete should decide for himself whether to use them,” he said. “Now the drugs are out of hand.”

Cliff Cushman
This first link appeared in our blog. Cliff  died in North Viet Nam. He was listed as
an MIA for many years.
Lots of good testamonials to Cliff on this following link

Glenn Davis

I asked Earl Young for his memories of Glenn Davis.  Here is his reply.
Hey George,

Like you, Glenn Davis was a hero of mine, and many athletes who appreciated his ability to take his talent to the greatest level of excellence. I have never known an athlete that could play harder and work harder than Glenn. He had a great zest for life and will always be remembered as a world class 400 hurdler and 400 meter runner. He held the World and Olympic record in those events and I had the good fortune to run with him on a World and Olympic record setting 1600 meter relay in Rome in 1960.

The greatest memory I have of him was at a track meet at Abilene Christian one day in April 1960. It was following his competing in an open 300 against Bobby Morrow and others in a race for those who were past college eligibility and readying themselves for the Olympic Trails in Palo Alto. He won the race. 

As a background to this story let me say I had been recruited by Oliver Jackson who was the coach of Bobby Morrow and  many successful sprint relay teams at Abilene Christian. Oliver and Bobby came out to the Coliseum Relays in 1958 and stopped by San Fernando to take Dad and I to lunch. Oliver had never seen me run but must have seen something in a picture of me finishing a 100 yard dash that caught his interest. I was 17 years old with more growth to come.  I had a best time in High School of 49.6 in the 440 and when Glenn showed up in Abilene for the meet I was a 19 year old sophomore with a best of 46.6. I had come a long way in two years but I admit the Games was still an unbelievable dream. 

Following the mile relay ( first time Glenn ever saw me run ) Glenn, Oliver and I were standing together and talking ( can you imagine what was going on in this 19 year old  mind -- I was talking to THE Glenn Davis). I remember that Coach said to Glenn, " We are getting Earl ready for the Trials and a berth on the Rome Team". Glenn said these unforgettable words. "You will make it". Some words never leave your memory. The great Glenn Davis telling me I would make the Team. He was right.

One of my proudest achievements is that my name is next to Glenn's name on a World and Olympic Record in the 1600 meter relay.

The above link is film of the 400 IH at Rome

Charles Dumas
Al Hall

Dick Howard
Dick Howard and Glenn Davis after the Rome 400IH
This memorial comes from Dick Howard's teammate, Pete Brown and Dennis Kavanaugh.

Dick Howard was born on August 22, 1935, in Oklahoma City. He came on the track scene running the 120 low hurdles in junior high in Pasadena, CA, in the early 1950s. He got married at age 18 and joined the US Army in 1954 for two years active duty. He boxed in 1955 while in the Army and posted a 200m low hurdle time of 23.6 on a tour competing in Europe. No marks appear for Howard in 1956.

In 1957 Howard ran for the Southern California Striders and posted a best of 23.0 in the 220 lows. In 1958 he placed 4th in the National AAU 440 hurdles in 51.9. He thus qualified for a US touring team that saw competition in Japan. There he met javelin thrower Buster Quist who steered him to New Mexico and a new life.

In the fall of 1958 he enrolled in the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In the spring of 1959, competing as a Lobo, his career exploded. He ran the 220 lows in a US best of 22.4 in the Skyline meet. He also posted marks of 9.6 and 47.4, but it was the 440 hurdles where he excelled, winning Kansas in a PR of 50.4, also winning Fresno and Compton meets and taking 1st in the NCAA in 50.6. In Boulder he won the AAU meet over world record holder Glen Davis in 50.7. He also placed 2nd in the USA vs. Russia meet. He made a successful AAU tour of Scandinavia and finished a long season with a 2nd in the Pan American Games in Chicago in early September. He ranked #2 in the world in 1959 in the 440 hurdles.

Howard’s final season of competition was 1960. He led off with boxing--by winning the regional Golden Gloves light heavyweight crown in Roswell, NM, on Feb. 5th. Running unattached he placed 2nd in the AAU at 50.3 and 2nd in the Olympic Trials in 49.8 at Stanford. At the age of 25 he took the Bronze Medal at the Olympic Games in Rome in a PR of 49.7. It was the apex of a short, but brilliant, career.

Married and the father of five young girls, his life gradually spun out of control over the next six years. He had a series of lost jobs and his marriage to wife Wrenetta came apart. In October 1967 he was sentenced to 7 ½  years in jail in a Tucson district court for smuggling a large quantity of marijuana over the border at Nogales. He became badly depressed while awaiting results of an appeal and died of a drug overdose on November 9, 1967. 
Stone Johnson

Died of injuries in an NFL exhibition game
Johnson (extreme left)  finishing 4th in 200m
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JH-K_zwS0A this youtube has a good close up head shot of Johnson for a few seconds after the race concluded.
Deacon Jones
Raised at Boys Town Nebraska
He was  a 135 pound running back for the Boys Town varsity football team.

Johnny Kelley

Winner of the Boston Marathon and Enduring Guru of the Sport

Willie May
Gordon McKenzie
Parry O'Brien

One of the great innovators in Track and Field

Al Oerter

 Olympic Champion in 4 games

Bo Roberson

Silver Medal Long Jump
The only person with an Ivy League degree (Cornell), a Phd., an Olympic Medal
and a career in the NFL


Wilma Rudolph
Wilma put women's track on the American public's mind.


Herman Stokes
We were not able to find any individual pictures of Herman Stokes , however John Bork was kind enough to provide this page of the 1960 Olympic team report that he copied at the LA84 Foundation Library this week on a visit  with his college coach George Dales.    Herman Stokes can be seen in the upper right corner of this picture next to Bob Soth.  

Mr. Stokes was born in Houston, Texas  October 16, 1932 and died in Los Angeles January 25, 1998. His Olympic career can be viewed at the link below.  He placed 28th in the Triple Jump at the Rome Games.   He was in the top five Triple Jumpers in the US from 1957-1963.  He was second at the Pan-Am games in 1959.  His club affiliation was the Southern California Striders.  If any reader is aware of more personal information, please contact the blog at the email address listed at the top of this page. 
John Thomas
Max Truex


This link covers Max's life in a series of clippings from his hometown paper in Warsaw, Indiana.
A lot of  readers from the West Coast probably didn't know of this  Socal Trojan and US Olympian, Max's Midwest origins. The few times I drove from Dayton to Chicago, I would pass through Ft. Wayne and head west and get off the main road to drive through Warsaw, Indiana just to absorb some of that small town atmosphere. The same can be said of nearby Fairmount, IN, home of James Dean another icon of the 1950's.  

Willye White
5 time Olympian
Willye would compete for the Mayor Daly Youth Foundation team at the Ohio AAU meets in Dayton, OH when I was in high school.  Where Willye stood is where it was happenin'.  She was one of those persons to whom all eyes turned when she entered a room or stepped on a track.

Ron Zinn


Ron Zinn                   27              US           Race Walker   Viet Nam     1965
Ron Zinn's sixth-place in the 1964 Olympic 20 km. walk was one of the top performances in walking for an American at the Olympics. Zinn also won a bronze medal in the event at the 1963 Pan American Games. From 1960-64 he won 12 AAU walk titles over various distances. Zinn was a graduate of the US Military Academy and was sent to Vietnam late in 1964. In July 1965 he was presumed killed in a firefight near Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), although for many years he was listed as MIA. The USATF annually awards the Captain Ron Zinn Memorial Award to the top racewalker of the year.
Personal Best: 20kmW – 1-32:43 (1964).

http://www.virtualwall.org/dz/ZinnRL01a.htm   This is the link to Ron's site on the Virtual Wall to honor soldiers who died in  Viet Nam.  There are testamonials and tributes from his comrades in arms and his family.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 81 June , 1964

June 1964
The Olympics are less than four months off. Will the US be ready? We better be because Trinidad sure is. On May 16 Yale's Wendell Mottley runs 46.1, the fastest 400 in the world this year. On the same day in Raleigh, NC, another Trinidadian, Edwin Roberts, lays down a 9.4, 20.1 (straightaway) double. The next week, May 22-23, Kent Bernard, running for Michigan in the Big Ten meet, relegates his countryman, Mottley, to number two with a 46.0 clocking then backs it up with a 45.4 relay leg. 
Kent Bernard
Edwin Roberts
Wendell Motteley

Also on the 23rd on the opposite side of the county, the AAWU meet is held in Los Angeles bringing together Cal, SC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. The feature race is the mile which Stanford's Paul Schlicke wins in 4:02.5. He is closely followed by SC's Bruce Bess and Washington's John Valient, both at 4:02.7.
Bruce Bess
 Prerace favorite Bob Day of UCLA finishes in 4:03.2. Cal's Dave Archibald and Forrest Beaty place 1-2 in the 440 at 46.3 and 46.6. Both collect gold medals on Cal's 3:11.0 mile relay team.
Cal's 4xx440 NCAA championship team
Forrest Beatty, Al Courchesne, Dave Fishback and Dave Archibald
Those same days the WAC meet, held in Salt Lake City, sees strong doubles by Henry Carr of Arizona State and Gayle Hopkins of Arizona. 
Gayle Hopkins
Carr is unpressed in the sprints, clocking 9.3 and 20.4 while Hopkins makes Friday's prelim marks hold up to take the horizontal jumps at 26-0 and 50-7, barely edging New Mexico's Clarence Robinson who leaps 25-5 and 50-4½. BYU's Bob Tobler takes up the challenge laid down by Kent Bernard the previous day matching his world leading 46.0.
Clarence Robinson and Coach Hugh Hackett
But the real excitement this weekend comes from the California Relays in Modesto where a seasoned veteran and rosy cheeked youngster steal the show. This is saying a lot when one considers there were also two record breaking performances in the relays.
Ralph Boston

Defending Olympic broad jump champion Ralph Boston displays his readiness by breaking his own American record and coming within ¾ of an inch of Ter-Ovanesyan's WR with a leap of 27-2½. (note: Though the event has been officially renamed the long jump, Track and Field News continues to refer to it as the broad jump. So as long as they do, we shall also.) Perhaps more remarkable is his consistency. His series averages 26-8 1/8, only 1/8 of an inch less than Jesse Owen's world record that lasted 25 years.
As remarkable as this performance is, the crowd's heart is stolen by a third place finisher, high school junior Jim Ryun. Running with the big boys for the first time, the 17 year old proves that he belongs. The pace is slow – 62.7, 2:05.3 and 3:05.8 – and the crowd is anticipating fireworks on the last lap. They are not disappointed. Tom O'Hara makes a burst on the backstretch but Dyrol Burleson matches it. O'Hara leads into the straight as the pair opens ground on the field. But, wait a minute, what is that high school kid doing? Passing world class runners right and left, that's what. He has passed Bob Seaman in the backstretch, John Camien on the curve and now Cary Weisiger in the final straight.
O'Hara and Burleson hit the tape together. Many observers see O'Hara as the winner, but unfortunately none of them are finish judges. Burleson gets the nod by a tenth in 4:00.2. But it is Ryun who is the focus of the crowd. He hits the finish in 4:01.7, edging Weisiger who has the same time. Camien, 4:02.2, and Seaman, 4:04.2 take fifth and sixth. Ryun's last lap goes off in 55.7. Track and field has a budding new star. This is the time almost weekly Ryun's name began being mentioned over and over on ABC's Wide World of Sports when track and field got regular coverage on Saturday afternoons.
Grambling's 440 relay team ties the WR of 40.0 held by Oregon and Great Britain. This achievement is dimmed only slightly by their inability to beat the Striders' big name team of Adolph Plummer, Mike Larabee, Don Webster and Earl Young in the 880 relay. The Striders win easily 1:23.2 to 1:24.0 when, as Cordner Nelson writes, “Dick Stebbins showed a lack of enthusiasm on the third leg”.
Mike Larabee
The other record broken this evening is the collegiate sprint medley. Morgan Groth has already run 4:05.5 on OSU's winning distance medley.

Morgan Groth

Now he is off six yards behind Olympic veteran Jerry Siebert of the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village. He makes up the margin and stays on Siebert's heels before pulling away in the homestretch with a 1:46.9 split and a 3:17.5 record. As good as that is, Groth is just another guy in the Oregon State workouts he shares with world class half milers Norm Hoffman and Jan Underwood. The latter wins the open 880 this evening at 1:48.7.
Jim Beatty is coming back from an injury but there is no timidity in him. He leads the two mile through 2:07, 4:20 and 6:35 half mile splits before the wisdom of a less aggressive pace is made evident when Bruce Kidd and Bill Baillie go by on the final backstretch. Kidd runs the last lap in 57.9. We don't know what Baillie's finish is, but it is faster. Baillie wins 8:37.1 to 8:38.1. Beatty has to be content with the US lead at 8:41.0. There will be other days.

There are noteworthy performances in other field events beside the broad jump.  Fred Hansen vaults 16-4½ to tie the mark Don Meyers set the same day in Colorado for the world lead. Discus thrower Dave Weill has a day to remember. No, he doesn't beat “Automatic Al” Oerter.
Nobody does. But he does become the seventh member of the 200 foot club when he exceeds that mark by two inches in taking second place to Oerter's 203-6. Les Tipton throws 260-10½ to top Frank Covelli by 11 inches in the javelin.

Forrest Beatty

Frank Covelli

Ulis Williams
It is the next day and you get to choose a word: courageous, tough, strong, gutsy. They all apply to Buddy Edelen's performance in the Yonkers Marathon. He runs 2:24:25.6, a good, but not a great time. Well, not a great time until you realize the conditions. The temperature is 91. The humidity is 40%. The winner qualifies for the Olympic team. 128 start, but only 41 finish. Among the drop outs are Hal Higdon, Norm Higgins, Gordon McKenzie, Jim Green and Alex Breckenridge. Edelen's margins over runner ups Adolph Gruber and John J. Kelly are 19:45 and 20:20. These guys are no dogs. Gruber won five marathons last year. Kelly has won this race eight times. When Edelen breasts the tape they are an incredible three and a half miles behind.
Buddy Edelen center with handkerchief around his neck.
Ron Daws in the dark uniform to the right.
Picture is from the following blog link  Jack and Viv taken at the Jackrabbit 15 miler in South Dakota. Edelen ran this race after the marathon trials and before the 64 Olympis

Normally a local AAU meet wouldn't be covered in Track and Field News, but then the Southern Pacific Association is not an ordinary AAU chapter. It includes the majority of Southern California, the hotbed of US track. The shot put competition takes the spotlight when Dallas Long puts the iron ball 66-3½. Last month he threw 66-7¼, but the lack of a raised rim on the circle will likely keep that mark from being accepted as a world record. All the t's have been crossed and the i's dotted on this one. It will be submitted as the WR. Second place goes to two time Olympic champion Parry O'Brien.
O'Brien has become just another guy the last couple years, but today he exhibits his never say die attitude by throwing 63-10, his PR, and the first time he has improved in four years. Just to show that the shot is not the only weight event on the schedule, Hal Connolly spins the hammer 222-2½ to take the world lead.
New Zealand's Bill Baillie is on a tour of the US. Today he drops down to the mile where Jim Grelle awaits. Baillie used his fierce kick to win the California Relays two mile last week. Will his finishing prowess hold him in good stead today? Almost, but not quite. He and Grelle are shoulder to shoulder up the straight but Grelle holds on for a 4:00.0 to 4:00.1 victory.
Mike Larrabee wins the 440 in 47.0, but only after surviving a qualifying heat where Dick Edmunds edges him 46.7 to 46.8 with Rex Cawley at 47.2. Yes, the SPAAAU is a special meet.
Rex Cawley USC out of Farmington, MI
Saturday, June 5 is a memorable date in track history. In Houston at the Texas Federation meet, Fred Hansen vaults into the record book, literally. John Pennell had the record at 16-10 with a 17-0¾ pending. Fred's 17-1 clearance gives him the WR, but perhaps more significant for the future is his last jump at 17-3¾ of which his coach, Emmett Brunson, says, “Fred was over by at least four inches, but he just wasn't getting enough drive off his pole”.
With the Olympics only four months off, prospects look pretty good for the Rice University grad.
That evening a crowd of 7700 fills the stands at Compton Junior College for meet director Herschel Smith's always exciting Compton Invitational. They will go home with memories to last a lifetime.
Track and Field News co-editors, Bert and Cordner Nelson, are overwhelmed by the 5000. Bert says it is “the best race I have ever seen” and Cordner calls it “the most significant race by American distance runners in history”.
Bruce Kidd, the 20 year old American all comers record holder of 13:43.8 (set at age 18) is here. So is fast finishing Bill Baillie of New Zealand. Speaking of fast finishers, here is Jim Beatty. Rapidly improving Bob Schul is in the field as are Ron Larrieu, Danny Murphy and Julio Marin. Oh, and there is a high school kid who may be heard from, Gerry Lindgren from Spokane, Washington.
Lindgren between Schul and Dellinger
Lindgren shows a definite lack of respect for his elders. Instead of assuming his place as a follower, he takes the field out in 61.6. The crowd loves it. Bruce Kidd takes over on the second lap and leads for most of the next nine laps. It is to Kidd's advantage to keep the pace hot. Kidd is a strong finisher, but just two weeks ago Baille outkicked him. Beatty and Schul are also respected for their finishing prowess. It is obvious that the young Canadian's strategy is to negate those kicks with a fast pace. Another runner who must share that plan is Lindgren. Running with the moxie of a veteran, he sits on Kidd's shoulder as laps go by in 2:07.6 (66.0), 3:13.8 (66.2), 4:20.7 (66.9), 5:29.0 (68.3) and 6:36.3 (67.3). On the seventh lap the pace slows before Lindgren delights the crowd by taking the lead, passing the start of the eighth lap in 7:46.6 (70.3). But Kidd is not finished. He musters a 66.8 go round to take the lead at two miles in 8:53.4.
Kidd leads through one more lap (68.6 and 10:02.4), but the field is ready to strike. Larrieu, running the race of his life, moves to third. Ballie is fourth. Beatty sees Schul go by and finds Murphy on his heels. Behind Murphy a five yard gap opens. On the backstretch Larrieu, running aggressively, takes a four yard lead.
It is quickly covered by Schul who leads at the end of ten laps (65.1 – 11:07.5). That five yard separation in the field is now 40 yards. Beatty, coming back from a calf injury three weeks ago, drops out. “The tempo felt good, but I didn't want to take a chance on my leg.” Now the order is Schul, Larrieu, Kidd, Baillie, Lindgren and Murphy with two and a half laps left.
Bob Schul probably at Oxford, OH
courtesy of Jim Gerard estate
a lap and a half to go, Schul leads (66.9 – 12:14.4) with Baillie on his shoulder, Lindgren five yards back, three ahead of Larrieu and Murphy. Kidd is slipping away and is now 10 yards back. At the gun it is Schul and Ballie. Cordner Nelson writes, “Everyone there knew that Baillie would outkick Schul......except Schul”. The red clad Miami runner passes the three mile mark in 13:15.6, an American record, and then goes to the afterburners. He covers the last 188 yards in 22.4, “probably faster than any other man in a world class 5000”, says CN. His last lap is 55.4. Baillie can't match it and finishes 15 yards back. Schul's American record is 13:38.0, three seconds off the world record and the fourth fastest all time. Baillie has to be content with 13:40.0, a PR good for seventh all time. Schul's post race comment has to cause concern for prospective Olympic competitors, “I just ran to win. I didn't feet a bit tired. Honest, I didn't go all out.” Baillie says of Schul, “He has a royal chance to win at Tokyo”.
There is enough glory to go around for the rest of the field. Larrieu and Lindgren battle for third with the veteran finally pulling away in the straight, 13:43.0 to 13:44.0 as both bettered Beatty's American record of 13:45.0. They are now 11th and 13th on the all time world list. Apparently this was better than hanging around the malt shop in Spokane as Lindgren says, “That race was a lot of fun. I never had so much fun”. (editor's note: we are guessing that Gerry has yet to discover girls.)
Schul breaks the collegiate record by a whopping 21.2 seconds. Had he not been in the race, Danny Murphy would have that honor. His 13:49.2 clips ten seconds off the former mark. Not only is Murphy now the number two college runner, he is the number 5 American and number 23 on the world list. He has just clipped 23.5 seconds off his PR. Kidd pays the price for leading and limps in at 13:58.8. His only consolation is that Lindgren missed his age 18 record by two tenths.
How good was this race? Here is how good: Charlie Clark in eighth shaves two tenths off his PR yet falls from fifth to eighth on the all time US list.
Half an hour passes and now the field is lining up for the mile and what a field it is. Tom O'Hara, Dyrol Burleson, Cary Weisiger and Jim Grelle represent the old guard. The up and coming group is Bob Day, Morgan Groth, Archie San Romani and that high school kid, Jim Ryun.
Bob Delany who recently set the junior college mile record is the rabbit. The gap his 57.9 opens is soon closed as he tows them through a 2:00.2 half with Grelle, Weisiger and Day 2-3-4. Trailing after having been knocked into the infield is Ryun at 2:01.5. On the third lap Groth passes Grelle and leads at the bell in 3:01.6.
Cary Weisiger
Day is third and the favorites, Burleson and O'Hara, have moved into 4th and 5th. A five yard gap has opened in front of San Romani, Ryun and Weisiger who are tightly packed only a tenth apart. Grelle retakes the lead and holds it through the 1500 in 3:42.9 but the entire field is within striking distance. Onto the straight they come. Burleson and O'Hara go by Grelle, but no one is moving as fast as San Romani who passes Grelle and Groth. Burleson holds on to win in 3:57.4 over O'Hara who barely edges San Romani as they both run 3:57.6. Groth is next in 3:57.9. Then it is Grelle 3:58.5, Day and Weisinger both 3:58.9, and Ryun 3:59.0. San Romani finishes the fastest with a last lap of 54.9. Burleson and O'Hara come home in 55.4 and 55.5. Day is the slowest at 56.3. On the last lap everyone changed positions at least once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTf3bIudkTQ See the race at this link.
How significant is this race in the history of American middle distance running? Let us count the ways. Eight Americans break four minutes in the same race. Four - San Romani, Groth, Day and Ryun – do it for the first time. A high school kid, Ryun, runs 3:59.0.
Mike Larrabee wins the 400 in 46.2 over Rex Cawley and Bob Tobler.
Bob Tobler
Unfortunately this race marks the end of the career of 440 record holder Adolph Plummer who drops out at the 350 mark. “I have officially retired from competition. I have arthritis of the knee.”
Otis Davis, Ulis Williams, Adolph Plummer, Earl Young
Randall's Island 1963
Hayes Jones' status as the heavy Olympic favorite in the hurdles takes a hit. Blaine Lindgren tops him as both run 13.8..
Lindgren and Jones
Utah State freshman Jerry Cerulla is third, also in 13.8. Ed Carruthers clears seven feet for the first time to beat John Thomas also at 7-0.
Fishback and Danny Murphy on left Ben Tucker hand raised finishing XC meet on track against Cal Berkeley
Even in a meet as wonderful as tonight's, the officials manage to mess up one event. Jeff Fishback outruns George Young in the steeplechase, but his 8:33.2 is questionable even to Fishback who asks that the course be remeasured. That is done the next day. Yep, it is 70 yards short.

A week later and we are in San Diego for the appropriately named San Diego Invitational. In addition to many of the competitors from the Compton meet, Fred Hansen who set the pole vault WR of 17-1 last week in Houston is in attendance. He and former WR holder John Pennel clear 16-8½ and the bar is raised to 17-2. They each miss the first attempt, but Hansen clears on his second try. Now it is Pennel's turn. The worst that can happen is that he misses and takes a third try, right? To use an old line, if Pennel didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. Not only does he miss, he is injured (not specified), begins spitting blood and is hospitalized for the night.
Hayes Jones is anxious to avenge last week's upset loss to Blaine Lindgren, but this evening's race makes one think last week wasn't an upset as Lindgren wins easily 13.6 to 13.9. New Mexico's Bernie Rivers takes the 100 into the wind in 9.3. He returns to add the 220 to his list of accomplishments, clocking 20.7 and leaving Paul Drayton and the recently unretired Adolph Plummer in his dust, 21.1 for both.
Here is Bob Schul again, this time lining up for the mile where he will test his kick against established miler Cary Weisiger. Weisiger tries to run the sprint out of the US 5000 record holder, but a 3:02.6 1320 isn't enough. Schul blows by in the homestretch to win by nine tenths in 3:59.1.
The last time we saw Olympic veteran Jerry Siebert was three weeks ago when Morgan Groth outran him on the anchor leg of the sprint medley. Apparently he has made good use of that time. His 1:47.5 880 is the fastest in the world and provides him with a wide margin over a good field. Ted Nelson and Greg Pelster take the runner up spots both in 1:49.1. Wait a minute, who is that high school kid in fourth? Even though Jim Ryun is in the race, he isn't that kid. It is Bob Hose of San Diego Madison who is right on the veterans' heels in 1:49.2, a national HS record bettering the 1:50.4 set only last month by Larry Kelley of Maine East High in Illinois. Versatile Ron Whitney holds off Ryun, 1:49.6 to 1:50.3.
Last year Ulis Williams was the pre-Olympic 400 favorite. That designation is up for grabs now as Ulis has been injured and hasn't had a serious race since mid April. That is until tonight's 440. He can't match Hiram Carroll's 46.7, but a 46.9 tosses his hat in the ring. Trailing Ulis by a tenth are the rejuvenated Adolph Plummer and high schooler Freddie Banks.
We will close with notes on a couple high school kids. Leon Forman, the coach at Long Beach Poly, has had some good athletes over the years, but says Earl McCullough is the best. Given the following facts, it is hard to argue otherwise. McCullough was entered in 47 individual races and won them all. He tied the national records of 13.7 and 18.1 in the high and low hurdles and was state champ in both. His average times in these events are 14.2 and 18.7. He seldom ran the sprints, but had bests of 9.7, 21.7 and 50.2. He also ran on 21 relay teams. The other kid to watch is Bobby Bonds, a pretty good baseball player at Riverside High, who found time to win the California state broad jump championship with a leap of 25-3. Wonder what the future holds for these kids.

Bobby Bonds

Earl McCullough

Some of those Kiwi
kids in later years from hitsystem.com.au

L-R: Bill Baillie, Barry Magee, Jeff Julian
L-R: Bill Baillie, Barry Magee, Jeff Julian
Bill Baillie was one of the all-time greats of New Zealand athletics, winning 15 national titles from 880 yards through to the 6 miles on the track, as well as cross-country and road titles. He placed a close 6th in the Tokyo Olympic 5000m, and also pipped Ron Clarke on the post in an international 2-mile race. Bill set world records over 20000m and 1 hour on the track in 1963; these were broken by Ron Clarke, but they still stand as New zealand records. After 40 laps of 72s, going through 10000m in 29:48, he switched down to 70s a lap for the next 10 or so laps to make sure he set the New Zealand 10-mile track record on the way through. In later years, Bill established himself as a world force in age-group triathlon.
Barry won bronze in the Rome Olympic marathon in 1960, and later that year won the inaugural Fukuoka marathon. Barry won many national titles over 6 miles track, cross country, and road. A career highlight apart from his Olympic medal would be ranking first in the world over 10000m in 1961. Barry won the World Cup 10,000m in Helsinki in 28:51, with a very hard last 800m, and ranked 3rd world-wide over 5000m in 13:39.
Jeff Julian was one of the icons of New Zealand distance running, winning 11 national titles: 4 marathons, 2 cross-country titles, and 5 road race titles. He was famous for his prodigious fast mileage training. Jeff had an amazing year in 1963, when he set world 30-mile (2 hr:47.34) and 40-mile (3hr:53.36) track records in the one race. He also clocked 47:36 for 10 miles, and won Fukuoka in 2hr 14mins, beating a world-class lineup. Unfortunately he couldn’t reproduce this form the next year in the Tokyo Olympics, but his place in the pantheon of all-time greats was cemented by his victory in Fukuoka, often described as “harder to win than the Olympics”.
Other New Zealanders to have won Fukuoka include 1968 Olympic bronze medalist Mike Ryan,(1967, 2hr 13m), and Paul Ballinger (2hr 10min).
Bill Baillie is married to Jeff’s sister Val, who took the photo for coach Randy Smith, who runs the Arthur Lydiard Classic, a high school track meet in Ohio.



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...