Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vol. 4 No.77 Alan Turing War Hero and World Class Marthoner Film Subject

October 26, 2014

I was watching CBS  Sunday Morning this A.M. where there was a story about the cryptographers who broke the Nazi codes with a computer developed at Bletchley Park north of London duringWWII.   A new film, "The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch about those incredible days will  be released in November .  So now two WWII heroes/runners  will  be honored on film this year.  Louis Zamperini's  story, "Unbroken"  will be released on Christmas day.

Review of The Imitation Game by James Grime on his blog

Trailer only

 The person who receives most of the credit for that work Alan Turing was or became a world class marathoner after the War and placed fifth in the British Olympic trials in 1948 with a personal best time of 2hours 46 minutes.  In the Bletchley Park days he would occasionally run the thirty miles to London from Bletchley to attend meetings, and presumably to 'think' about his work. 
Bletchley Park

Unlike  Zamperini's story, Turing's could not be told for thirty years due to the Official Secrets Act that remained in place all that time. Turing,  continued to work outside the limelight for the brief remainder of his life,  while the historians now credit him with shortening the War by two years.

While  Zamperini was able to recover from his terrible ordeals at the hands of his captors and received the plaudits and thanks of his countrymen for the next fifty years, Turing  was kept off stage and ultimately condemned by the laws of the land he had worked so hard to save. He was gay and was caught and punished by his countrymen by having to submit to chemical castration  ie. doses of female hormones that would destroy his libido.  He lived until 1954 when he died under strange circumstances listed as suicide by potassium cyanide possibly on an apple which he habitually consumed each evening before turning in.  The cause of death may also have been the result  of poorly stored chemicals used in a gold refining process he was conducting in his home.  

Today there is a group of people working to restore his reputation.  They have also tried to put his name on a marathon in England.   The work Turing did developing the machine that broke the codes is nothing short of remarkable.  His reputation is slowly being restored including a pardon from PM Gordon Brown several years ago, and a recent declaration on his behalf from the Queen.  Again a small bit of irony is that the man with whom Turing was having an affair was let off lightly by the authorities.

Turing running in December 1946, coming second in a race on National Physical Laboratory Sports Day (Turing worked at NPL at the time).  NPL is based on the edge of  Bushy Park (Teddington), and the NPL Sports Club has had its own grounds there since 1912. So it seems very likely that this race took place there. In addition it is recorded in biographies that he sometimes ran to work meetings while based at Bushy Park, so it's almost certain that he ran in the park. Bushy Park today is of course very popular with runners as the place where parkrun started out in 2004 - and where up to 1,000 people still run every Saturday morning.  from the blog Go Run

Being a native of Dayton, Ohio I was intrigued to find reference to Alan Turing's visit to the National Cash Register Company in Dayton in 1942 to study and share information with research and development of a similar code breaking machine.  see below


You can explore his life in great detail including the technical cybertech side at this same site.


The New Yorker published an in depth story on Turing in 2006.


From Richard Mach

"Many credit him with the critical thinking that presaged the workings of the modern computer.  He used running --I once read -- to get away from the awful pressures that were man killing -- both around living covertly with his sexual identity and the fight the free world was in against the madman, Hitler, of which he played such a crucial part.  That a government would effectively then demonize a man whom less than a decade earlier had played such a large part in 'saving' the free world is a look inside the underpinning mentality of this then already diminishing Empire.  Saw the very brief rushes on Jolie's "Unbroken" and I was not particularly impressed -- too much 'feel good' and 'oh isn't it awful' and given Jolie's progressive orientation overly simplistic. My coach, George Dales, who I recently composed a tribute to that was given during our reunion/celebration back  in early October of  the 50th year anniversary of the 64-65 national X-C championships told me he saw Zamparini compete.  George is 93 years young, has slowed down maybe half a step and is still going strong.  Richard Pond, my All American teammate from the 1960 X-C team, who also ran 4:06 but some seven years after Sir Roger first broke 4 will be inducted posthumously on 14 Nov into the WMU Hall of Fame.  Dick lost his life to cancer when he was but 52 years old. The athletic department has hardly been partial to former track and field and cross country stars getting any press, however belatedly, once they axed both sports in 2004 despite the fact those two sports were WMU's most heavily represented ones in Div I championship play.  Borders on something akin to a bit of a miracle." 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 76 Tokyo Olympics 1964 Day 6


     Rain greets us once again. Today we have the semifinals of the 1500, the final of the 400 and the first day of the decathlon. Pull your jacket tight around your neck and keep your umbrella in place and let's get to it.

Alan Simpson ahead of Ricardo Romo and John Whetton
at a meet in Wales

Eugene Allonius, Billy Mills, Thor Hillend, Janus Sidlo

John Whetton

Kip Keino

Josef Odlozil

Tom O'Hara

Peter Snell

John Davies leading Burleson in NZ 4x1mile

Jim Ryun

Witold Baran, Poland

     After his dominating victory in the 800 there is no doubt that Peter Snell is the favorite here. The first four in each heat and the fastest fifth place finisher will qualify for the final the day after tomorrow. Snell follows the stiff pace of Frenchman Michel Bernard through splits of 55.6, 1:55.8 and 2:55.8 before coasting to victory in the first heat in 3:38.8. Poland's Witold Baran is on his shoulder just a tenth back. Josef Odlozil of Czechoslovakia is third in 3:39.3. The battle for fourth goes to Bernard who hangs on to edge Britain's John Whetton by two tenths in 3:39.7. Whetton will have to wait until the second heat is completed to know whether he has qualified for the final. American Jim Ryun is 1:58.2 at 800 but a cold has sapped his strength and he runs 65.7 on the next lap en route to a last place 3:55.0. Undoubtedly there will be better days ahead for the soon to be Kansas freshman.

     The remaining two Americans. Dyrol Burleson and Tom O'Hara, are in the second heat. Burleson is healthy but the cold virus has caught O'Hara and it shows. Burleson and Alan Simpson of Great Britain finish together in 3:41.5. The battle for third and fourth is intense as four men finish in a bunch in 3:41.9. New Zealand's John Davies and France's Jean Wadoux take the last two qualifying spots. Kipchoge Keino of Kenya, fifth in the 5000 yesterday, just misses making the final as he places fifth in a slower time than Whetton. Belgium's Eugene Allonsius also clocks 3:41.9 but today that is just a tenth of a second too slow. O'Hara is boxed on the last lap but when an opening appears in the straight, he comes up woefully lacking and finishes seventh in 3:43.4. The greatly disappointed O'Hara who had some extremely strong workouts before the cold took its toll vows never to run again. Wiser heads prevail. He will run again, but not the day after tomorrow.

     Now eight runners have a day to devise a strategy that will allow them to beat Peter Snell. Good luck with that, guys.


Mike Larrabee

Andrzej Badenski

Wendell Mottley
     The rain has let up as the runners are setting their blocks. From lane one out the field is Timothy Graham of Great Britain, Andrzej Badenski of Poland, Peter Vassella of Australia, Edwin Skinner of Trinidad-Tobago, Mike Larrabee of the US, Robbie Brightwell of Great Britain, Wendell Mottley of Trinidad-Tobago and Ulis Williams of the US. Brightwell and Larrabee won this morning's semifinals and, along with Mottley, have to be considered the favorites.

     Mottley has a history of getting out quickly and today is no different. At the 200 he leads in 21.6 with Badenski, Brightwell and Williams in close attendance ahead of Skinner and Larrabee. Around the turn Larrabee catches Skinner but he is only in fifth, four meters behind Mottley, as the field enters the home straight.
      This is where all the hard work Mike has been doing in training pays off. One by one he catches Williams, then Brightwell, then Badenski but time is running out. Mottley is holding on with 30 meters left, 25..., 20..., 15. Larrabee pulls even with 10 to go and passes the Yale captain just before the tape to win in 45.1. Mottley is second at 45.2. Badenski surprises by edging Brightwell, 45.6 to 45.7, for the bronze. Williams barely holds off Graham for fifth as they both clock 46.0.



C.K. Yang
     The scoring tables have been revised but the new tables were not released until six weeks ago, creating difficulty in predicting a winner. The revision has crippled the hopes of world record holder C.K. Yang of Taiwan. His world record has been reduced by 1032 points and his world leading score this year has had 788 points lopped off, placing him third, 16 points behind German Willi Holdorf and one point less than Holdorf's teammate Horst Beyer. A case can be made for reducing the value of the pole vault as the improvements in poles had given Yang an incredible advantage. Still and all, changing the rules six weeks before the competition has to be questioned.
Besides Yang, the primary competition will be among three Germans (Holdorf, Beyer and Hans-Joachim Walde), three Russians (Mikhil Storozhenko, Rein Aun and the veteran Vasiliy Kuznetsov) and three Americans (Paul Herman, Russ Hodge and Richard Emberger).

     Holdorf runs the 100 in 10.7 and broad jumps 22-11½ to share the lead after two events with Venezuela's Hector Thomas who has matched those marks identically. Yang has started slowly with marks of 11.0 and 22-3¾ and is in 8th, 117 points behind the leaders.

     After a lunch break the competition resumes at 2:00 with the shot put. Storozhenko moves from fourth to first with a throw of 53-8½, but no one else can top 50'. Indeed Emberger effectively removes himself from medal competition with an effort of only 38-8.

     At 3:30 the high jump begins. The great Yang pretty much ends his medal hopes by jumping only 5-11¼. Storozhenko clears 6-0½ to hold his lead but Walde closes the gap to a mere 9 points by leaping 6-5¼, the best mark of the competition.

     At 5:15 the last event of the day, the 400, begins. Storozhenko shoots himself in the foot with a miserable 53.6 and plummets to fourth. Holdorf has been waiting in the shadows and now he strikes. His 48.2 propels him into the lead.
Richard Emberger

Paul Herman

Russ Hodge

Willi Holdorf

     At the end of the day it is Holdorf 4090, Walde 4074 and Aun 4067 in tight contention. Then comes a gap down to 3910 for Beyer, two points ahead of Storozhenko. Americans Herman (3876) and Hodge (3813) are sixth and eighth. Sadly, Yang is languishing in ninth at 3803.
Tomorrow we will see the second day of the decathlon, the high jump qualifying, the first and second rounds of the 4x100 and the first round of the 4x400. Hope to see you then.

Obituary on Hans Joachim Walde  from DECA April 13, 2013  http://decathlonusa.typepad.com/files/volumexxxviiinumber23april62013.pdf

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vol. 4 No.75 More on Drone Photography

In our ongoing quest to learn more about drone aerial videographics our colleague down the pike David Baskwill who is the guru of the Penn State Track and Field Alum and Golf Blog       http://psutafalumnigolf.blogspot.ca/    did boots on the ground research this weekend in the backwaters of the state of Maryland.   No, Ohio State Buckeyes, this is not where Rutgers is located.   Here is David's report:


Still More Drones, On My Birthday!! Even (With a Metaphysical Encounter Confirming My Convictions, Which You Don't Need To Read)

I attended the Hood College Open where I added Community College and Junior College to my Divisions of the World's Greatest Sport I have seen so far this year.  Daughter the Elder ran in her Penn State (Mont Alto) uniform and chopped a minute off her time last week in the 6K at The Blue/White Course.  Already a good start to my birthday.

Next up was the meeting of the drone operator that has me and George Brose in a tizzy with the ramifications of its use in our sport.  (Think how cool it would be to have drone video of the 1975 NCAA Finals at PSU or the Salazar/Rono duel a few years later.) An even better birthday.

Turns out that Bob P., the drone operator is from my hometown of York, PA and has just begun to dabble in aerial video with his son's xc race in September.  He relates the package he has costs in the vicinity of $1300 out of the box and runs on his iPhone.  Decent packages like it may run under $1000, which can do a very good job.  He may have some good shots of the start of my daughter's race.

This intrigues me immensely, and if I was State College based, I would have aerial footage of all the races at PSU.  Please send me lottery scratch tickets in my quest for the adequate funding for my adventure!  (Just kidding)  But what a birthday present that would be!

And here's where the metaphysical part begins.  Please stop reading this post if you are someone of no Faith or a person indifferent or antagonistic to me in any way.  This will just make you angry or worse. And I honestly don't want that.

I was one with little Faith for my first 36 years, until a very profound encounter which changed my life.  I'll not bore you here, but I'll gladly tell you about it when we next meet if you so desire.  Now, I have a good bit of Faith and try to live my life with that in mind.  I'm not very good at it yet, but I honestly try to become a little better every day with it. Some would say I have failed, but then again, I'm not nearly finished yet.

When I have praised others on these pages, it is often with this Faith in mind.  When Coach Groves guides me to those he feels are "good" people, I tend to listen.  When the person at the top of his list happens to be someone I idolized as a high school kid, I really tend to listen more.

When Coach fell and was injured significantly, while also being quite ill, there were 2 people who stepped up and provided him the help he needed.  They're still at it, in many more ways than most of you realize.  Without them, Coach would be in a world of hurt.  I can't emphasize how much they have done.

When my convictions are questioned on this praise of others, I certainly listen, analyze, and form an opinion on the matter according to the scientific background PSU taught me, flavored with the Spirit that new-found Faith has provided. And I still feel the same way.

When I went to my favorite fast-food establishment in the world (yeah,Roy Rogers in Thurmont MD!) after the XC meet today, who was standing next to me in line but Greg Fredericks.  It hit me like a revelation, and I take it as firm confirmation that I was correct all along.  Greg happened to be returning from Arlington National Cemetery where a friend in his church was laid to rest with full military honors.  He said it was really impressive.  I could have taken his pic just to confirm all of this with everyone, but I figure you all need to have Faith that this was something beyond ordinary.

I doubt that I'll ever catch up to Greg on his journey of Faith, I'm so far behind, just like on the track.  But I have seen his footprints and I will continue to follow them.  I could do a lot worse...
For more on drones and challenges of filming a cross country meet,  go to:


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vol 4. No. 74 Ernie Bullard, R.I.P.

Ernie Bullard


July 30, 1937 - August 21, 2014 Arthur Ernest (Ernie) Bullard, 77¿Born in Safford, Arizona to Mildred Posey and Benjamin Maynard Bullard. He was our beloved father, grandfather, brother, friend, coach and author. Ernie attended USC on a track scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1959. He also received a master's degree from Arizona State. He went on to become the track coach at Orange Coast College, Mesa CC (Ariz.), San Jose State and ultimately, his alma mater, USC, where he achieved NCAA All American status as a pole vaulter. Highlights of his Mesa CC coaching career include national JUCO track and field team champions and JUCO Coach of the Year (1968). In his fourteen years as San Jose State's head coach his teams won seven conference titles and were second five times. His Spartan athletes won seven NCAA titles and two held world records. In his six years at USC his athletes set nine varsity and freshman, individual or relay records. Internationally respected, Bullard held clinics in India in 1988 and 1994. In 1975 he was selected head coach for the USA Junior team that met Russia's Junior team. He authored/co-authored four internationally acclaimed track and field books including Triple Jump Encyclopedia - the first American book on the event and then the most extensive American field event text.He retired in 1992, which enabled him to enjoy his four grandchildren of whom he was immensely proud. He had the opportunity to live in Berlin and Paris. Ernie loved anything French: the language, history, philosophy, music, food and wine.Ernie is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Louise, and his young son Marc who is buried in Paris.
-  at:http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?pid=172285993#sthash.6iLtGClr.dpuf

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 73 Tokyo October 18, 1964 Fifty Years Ago Today

Fifty years ago today, I was sitting in the TV room of Jefferson House on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.  We were impatiently waiting  the start of the 5000 meters in Tokyo during that splendid Olympics.  Athletes in the far Midwest were still living in a dream world after a local runner Billy Mills' unexpected win in the 10,000 meters four days earlier.   Now it was our turn again to hope for another gold, because the most dominating distance runner of 1964 was getting ready to go onto a cold, rain soaked track along with the other pretenders to the crown.   We were unaccustomed to expect much from American Olympic distance runners in those days.  Horace Ashenfelter's victory in the Steeplechase twelve years earlier was all but forgotten.  But this man,  Bob Schul from West Milton, Ohio, only 15 miles north of my hometown was getting ready to show the world what we could do.  At the time, I never even considered the pressure Bob must have been under to have expectations so high and heavy on his shoulders.  But he was in one of those rare zones where you can do pretty much whatever you think you can do on a field of human performance.   The best of the great distance running regimes were stepping on the track that afternoon.  Clarke from the Australian School,  Baillie from the Lydiard School, Norpoth from the Gerschler/Van Aaken  School, Jazy, from the French School, Keino, just opening the door to the Kenyan School, Dellinger from the Bowerman School, and Schul from the Igloi School.  Has there ever been a more representative race covering all the schools  of distance running theory?  It was final exam day and all the cards, textbooks, slide rules, and form charts were put aside, and we were about to watch the final act.

If you are reading this passage, I don't have to remind you of the outcome.  It is embedded in your aging brain, and it is not difficult to sort out through all the cobwebs of fifty years, the outcome of that race.

Congratulations Bob Schul.  Thank you for the determination and sacrifices you made to get to that podium, thanks to your Mom and Dad who showed you the way,  thank you to  George Rider who gave you a place on the Miami University track team , thank you Max Truex who directed you toward Mihaly Igloi and Lazlo Tabori,  and thank you Mihaly Igloi who inspired and ground the rough edges off and put you on that victory stand.  We all chased  higher goals after your victory.

George Brose
Oct. 18, 2014

Thanks George!

Bob was part of the greatest achviements by an American Olympic Track & Field Team in USA History
And is a special part of achcievement by American Olympians.

Gold Medals in:
110M H.
Shot Put
Pole Vault
and, more?  4x100    4x400

Bob Schul certainly earned his place in the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.

John Bork

Vol. 4 No. 72 Meet Tom Daymont, Aerialvideographer of the St. Olaf's Invitational Cross Country Meet

October 16, 2014
Interview with Tom Daymont Minneapolis , MN

Recently I became aware of two videos taken at cross country meets using drone technology to film the events. The first was from a high school meet in Utica Park , Maryland, and though filled with noticable editing flaws, it had sections that were truly inspiring and caused me to make several comments about it to the Penn State Track and Field Alum website that had linked it. http://psutafalumnigolf.blogspot.ca/    I put the link on our site and within a few hours someone wrote and said basically that if you think the Maryland meet was good, you ought to see this one.

 When I opened this link, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The video was from the 2014 St. Olaf College Invitational Meet in Minnesota. The photography was stunning, the mass of runners at the start funneling into a narrowing outlet to the course, the colors, the Fall leaves, the trail cut through prairie grass and then through a wooded area flanked by a giant wind turbine. The placement of the camera was such that the photographer/director obviously knew the course very well. I could have sworn somebody was filming from a giant water tower, the picture was so steady. Additionally a musical score was added to the film. I knew then I wanted to talk to the person who had put this together.
Tom Daymont and His Production Crew and Equipment at the
St. Olaf''s Invitational Cross Country Meet
Backtracking through the internet I found that Tom Daymont in Minneapolis had produced this film. I contacted him online, and he agreed to talk to me about the making of the video. When I investigated a little further, I learned that Tom’s mother, Chris Daymont is the longtime cross country coach at St. Olaf’s. Tom attended St. Olaf’s and competed on the soccer team. He referred to himself as the family black sheep who didn’t run cross country or track.

On our website, Gary Wilson, former coach at U. of Minnesota and meet director of the Roy Griak cross country meet wrote to us mentioning that he had wanted Tom to film this year’s Griak meet, but they couldn’t get clearance from campus security in time to set up the filming. Hopefully this will not happen next year.

Speaking to Tom Daymont I learned the following. This was Tom’s first go at filming a cross country meet. He’s been flying drones and doing filming for about two years. He has shot a lot of stills and likes to photograph buildings and monuments as well. When asking him about restrictions in filming, I already knew a bit from some internet research. Obviously you cannot fly around an airport (not closer than 1.5 miles), definitely not over a military base, and surprisingly not over a national park. He also informed me that FAA regulations restrict hobbyist flying higher than 400 feet above ground level. Most of the film of the cross country meet was at 300-350 feet. There is software on the drone that lets the pilot know when he is approaching maximum allowable ceiling. Tom controls the drone with basic controls and monitors the view with a separate 7” screen that he can view while he is flying. Tom’s girlfriend worked with him during the meet watching what was going on from ground level in case Tom lost visual connection. From the video you can conclude that they obviously knew the course very well. A battery only lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, so to film even the shortest cross county event you will have to bring the aircraft down and refuel ie. change batteries. In terms of dollars Tom figures you would need to invest about $2,000.00 in drone, software, batteries, camera etc. to make a film of this caliber. He currently flies a DJI Phantom II drone, with a Go Pro camera mounted.

Asking him how the picture is kept so steady, he relayed that there is a device on the drone called a gimbal (more $$$) that levels the camera. What about wind? If the wind is under 15 mph, he can fly. The drone also has a GPS system to help keep it in the right place and even program a flight path.

Want to go cheaper, like the drone that costs $79.95 online, you probably won’t even be able to take it outside, and it won’t be powerful carry a high quality camera.

About other events or things he would like to film, Tom’s answer was events where people don’t generally get the aerial point of view. Getting that view from a whole new perspective is so interesting. He’d like to film a marathon someday. He also would like to film some golf courses, perhaps to promote themselves on a website. Sounds easy, yes? No. For a golf course you have to work in the daytime when there is light to film. Unfortunately golfers want to play in the daytime from the crack of dawn. The drones are somewhat noisy, and you don’t want to upset the golfers, so finding adequate time to make film is always a challenge for filming golf courses.

When I asked Tom about gatecrashers to big events that are open air, he mentioned that there are usually fly over restrictions to those kind of events. I’m also reminded of a recent international soccer match between Serbia and Albania that got stopped and then canceled when someone flew a drone carrying some kind of inflammatory message on a flag over the game and down onto the playing field.

Despite the downsides to the technology, the upsides seem to more than outweigh the them.

At this point in time, there are a lot of commercial enterprises offering to film sites on the ground. I don’t know the quality of their work. I only know that what I’ve seen of Tom Daymont’s work, I find it extraordinary . Good luck with the Griak meet in 2015. We’ll be watching for it.

Here is a link to a clip of some of Tom Daymont's  other work.  vimeo.com/109205657  

For more info on challenges of filming cross country with a drone go to :


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vol 4 No. 71 Drone Coverage of Cross Country- The Future is Here

If you think you have seen it all with drone technology, go to the youtube address  which I found on the Penn State Track Alum site.


It is a very amateur video of a cross country meet filmed from a drone.   It has a lot of upgrading to do , but the possibilities are something to think about.   Drones are admittedly in the pre-FAA stage now, so all the barnstormers can do just about anything they want with their high tech toys.   There are a lot of positive things that can come from this technology along with all the nightmare scenarios I'm sure that Homeland Security is thinking about.  What if a hundred guys decided they wanted to see the Indy 500 or the Olympics for free using their drone and Go Pro camera?  The venue could be inundated with drones.   In some ways cool, in other ways yikes.   They could crash into crowds and cause injury, they could interfere with outcomes of events.   How might you use a drone to enhance coaching, recruiting, etc. etc.?

Your comments are appreciated.

George Brose

Talk about fast work and improved quality with music.   This site was suggested to us by an anonymous reader.   St. Olaf Invitational.


from Gary Wilson
We wanted to do this for the Griak but our safety dept put a Chi bosh on it. Too bad. 
The guy that did the St Olaf video was all set. 
Hopefully next year.  

For those of you wondering where you cannot fly a drone, here is a link I just found  GB


Monday, October 6, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 70 Mack Robinson's Shoes

This article by Cameron Turner  appeared in Pasadena News Now  Aug. 27, 2014
Thanks to Phil Scott for bringing it to our attention.

Opinion: Back To School Inspiration: Mack Robinson’s Track Shoes
Published : Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | 11:10 AM

Mack Robinson memorabilia
Until the reception last July at Pasadena City College, I had never seen an Olympic medal. Let alone one so steeped in history and legend. So, peering into the glass case at the silver medal Mack Robinson won at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin was a breathtaking experience. After all, this was the actual medal that our late hometown hero, Mr. Robinson, earned in the 200 meter sprint, finishing less than half a second behind quadruple gold medalist Jesse Owens and helping to shame Adolf Hitler’s boasts of Aryan supremacy in the process.
The silver medal was the centerpiece of a collection of treasures on exhibit at PCC’s Creveling Lounge, during a celebration of Mack Robinson’s 100th birthday. The VIP event drew hundreds of Robinson family members, community leaders, local government officials and friends who paused to admire Mr. Robinson’s Olympic artifacts. Taking my turn at the display, I found my gaze drawn away from the historic medal toward the antique, leather track shoes that Mr. Robinson had worn at the ’36 games. I was awed by the sight, for I had read the story behind those shoes.
While Jesse Owens entered Berlin’s Olympic stadium in brand new, state of the art kicks (a gift from German shoe designer Adi Dassler, who went on to found Adidas), Robinson (who was short on cash and connections) ran in the same, well worn shoes that he had competed in throughout his career at PCC.
Reflecting on his silver medal run, many have wondered how Robinson might have fared with newer, better shoes. Might he have beaten Owens and captured the gold? Perhaps. But such speculation risks minimizing Robinson’s accomplishment, which was extraordinary. He captured an Olympic silver medal, finishing a mere four-tenths of a second behind the world’s fastest man, while wearing an old pair of shoes that he had been running in for years. Mack Robinson achieved greatness despite not having the advanced tools used by his rival.
Inspiring thoughts of Mack Robinson’s track shoes came to mind as I considered the millions of kids who are starting another year at our nation’s cash-strapped public schools. Budget shortfalls have forced schools across the country to contend with crowded classrooms, lack of textbooks and supplies, staff reductions, the scaling back or elimination of counseling, academic intervention and enrichment services, etc. These realities put monumental and unfair burdens on public schools. But the commitment and creativity of educators and the diligence and dedication of students continue to fire my optimism.
As a parent, a former elementary school PTA president and current staffer with a male student mentoring program at John Muir High School I have been inspired by students who achieve despite major obstacles in front of them. Generally speaking, students who are the most successful recognize the value of education and take advantage of opportunities to learn. They are serious about their studies, they focus in class and work hard on assignments. They seek and accept help with difficult subjects.
In contrast, some of the students who perform poorly in school are handicapped by a lack of personal commitment. It’s heartbreaking to listen to some kids offer excuses for not doing their school work, blowing off tutoring and study hall, ditching school, disrupting class, or placing a higher priority on sports than academics. Such students fail to realize that they are falling short of their potential and are setting themselves up for major difficulties in the adult world.
But once they make a commitment to education, students of all skill levels can and do improve, achieve and excel. And they usually find a lot of dedicated adults – teachers, counselors, volunteers, mentors, etc. – who are eager to give them the support and assistance they need.
So, despite the impediments of shrinking school budgets, socio-economic pressures, misguided peer values, difficulties in the home and so on, I remain confident of the potential for all students to succeed. Like Mack Robinson dashing down the track in his old shoes, school kids from coast to coast can and will excel!
Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.

Here is a youtube view of that 200 meters posted by Leif Bugge.

Mack Robinson’s son was on the John Muir HS track team with me in 1956-57. Mack used to come to practice at times and raise hell with us for resting on the grass. Jackie Robinson also went to Muir; both were way before my time of course.

Pete Brown

Track Trivia:    Jesse Owens worked as an athletic trainer while attending Ohio State University.

Phil Scott informed us that the spikes in the Pasadena display appear to be baseball spikes.
The spikes pictured below are from 1930s Era when Mack Robinson was in competition, according to Phil.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Vol 4 No. 69 Oklahoma State 2 Mile Relay Team Honored Recently

Oklahoma State University recently honored the OSU Two Mile Relay World Record Setters
at the OSU-Texas Tech football game.

Below is a picture of that great group of runners.   (see earlier postings about this team).
Congratulations , gentlemen.
Current Cross Country Director of Operations Sean Mcabe with
Jim Metcalf, Dave Perry, John Perry, and Tom Von Ruden
Here they are in 1965

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...