Monday, September 28, 2015

V 5 N. 88 September, 1965

September, 1965
     Now is the time that Americans are pondering the match up of the Minnesota Twins and either the San Francisco Giants or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. On September 26, the day this issue of Track and Field News arrives in our mailboxes, the Twins hold a 7 ½ game lead over the Orioles in the American League. Don Drysdale has beaten the Cardinals 1-0 to move the Dodgers into a National League tie with the Giants who just dropped a 3-2 game to the Milwaukee Braves. Americans are passionate about baseball. Very few care what is happening in track and field. But we do. Likely you do as well. So let us put aside thoughts of Mudcat Grant, Maury Wills, Willie McCovey, Tony Oliva, Sandy Koufax, Gaylord Perry and Willie Mays and cast our eyes to the tracks of Europe where the season is coming to a dramatic close.

     As you remember from our last report, 1965 has been a landmark year in distance running. Every major record from one mile to 10,000 meters has been broken, a few smashed beyond recognition. The primary doers of these deeds have packed it up. Michel Jazy is vacationing with his family. Ron Clarke has returned to a hero's welcome in Australia. Of the big three who excited European fans with their racing in early August, only Kip Keino remains, but his name is enough to sell tickets. He had returned to Kenya for the African Games but is now back on the European circuit. 

     On the night of August 25th in Stockholm he faces steeplechase world record holder Gaston Roelants at 5000 meters. Roelants is ready, as measured by his 28:10.6 10,000, the fastest by anyone not named Ron Clarke. Rain has softened the track to the point that experienced observers give Keino no chance of breaking Clarke's 13:25.8 WR. But Keino is going to take a shot anyway. He and Roelants run together through 3000 meters, reached in 8:05.0, before the Belgian drops off the pace. Running by himself on a soggy track, Keino soldiers on to a 13:29.8 victory with Roelants 16 seconds back. Speculation abounds about how fast Keino might have run on a dry, fast track.

     Two days later, on a cool pleasant night in the southern Swedish town of Halsingborg, Keino takes aim at Seigfried Herrmann's recently established 3000 meter record of 7:46.0. After a first lap of 59.5, it is the Kenyan against the clock. Fifteen hundred meters is passed in 3:49.5, giving indication of what is about to happen. Three minutes fifty and one tenth of a second later the record is Keino's. His 7:39.6 gives him a 6.4 second margin over the old record.

     Once again the Portuguese Tables are consulted with the conclusion that this is the sport's fourth greatest performance, topped only by Randy Matson's 70-7 shot put, Clarke's 26:39.4 10,000 and Bob Hayes' collection of 9.1 100 yard dashes.
The very next night, Keino's tour of Sweden has its last stop, the town of Fagersta, 300 miles north. Once again running by himself, he breaks his own Kenyan and African 1500 meter record by a tenth of a second in 3:39.5. , No opponent seems to be able to stop Keino, but the IAAF, the controlling body of international track and field, can. Keino has used up the 28 day allowance of international competition permitted under IAAF rules. He requests special permission to compete two days later, August 30, in the Morley Mile held in London's iconic White City Stadium. Fortunately for all concerned, except his competitors, permission is granted.

     The promoters have invited the top milers on the continent. They are all there except for vacationing world record holder Michel Jazy. European 1500 record holder Jurgen May is there as are Alan Simpson, the British mile record holder, and Olympic 1500 meter silver medalist Josef Odlozil.
Josef Odlozil

    Derek Ibbotson and Wilson Kiprugut, the designated pace setters, take the field though laps of 56.4 and 1:58.3. Whether it is the slowing of the pace on the second lap or Keino's pre-race strategy is unknown, but the gallant Kenyan throws down the challenge at the start of the third lap. He runs 59.9 then finishes in 56.0 to win handily in 3:54.2, the third fastest time (Jazy 3:53.6, Snell 3:54.1) ever. Odlozil is second in 3:55.6, ahead of Simpson, 3:55.7, and May, 3:56.0.
Ibbotson and Keino

     On September 8 in Houstka, East Germany, Odlozil gets his own record, running 2000 meters in 5:01.2, shaving four tenths off Jazy's mark set three years earlier.

Gyula Zsivotzky

Ah, but what about the field part of track and field? Well, we do have a record for you, an absolutely amazing mark set September 4. The next day the world's newspapers report the death of Albert Schweitzer. But that wasn't the big news in Hungary. The headline in the Budapest Bugle on that Sunday morning announced that Hungary's Gyula Zsivotzky had smashed the oldest record in a standard track event when he used a revolutionary four turn style to throw the hammer 242-11 (73.74 meters in European talk), besting Hal Connolly's pending 233-9 ½ by an astounding 8 feet 1 ½ inches. This mark is 3.6% better than the previous record, ranking it close to Matson's 3.9% improvement in the shot put. Oddly, there is no mention of its value in the Portuguese Tables. 
See video below.  Especially if you speak Hungarian.  
Zsivotzky video

     What follows are bits and pieces found from columns in this issue.

Although Richmond Flowers won both hurdles and the 100 at the Jaycee Junior Championship, the fans went away talking about a high jumper from Oregon. “He used a standard approach but went over the bar head first and landed on his back.” He cleared 6-7 to win. His name is Dick Fosbury.....The favorite sport of Americans according to a Louis Harris survey: baseball 38%, football 25%, basketball 9%, bowling 7%, golf 4%, skiing 2%, tennis 1%, none 1%, all others (including track and field) 12%. That's it folks, track is less popular than “none”......The careers of Peter Snell and Herb Elliot overlapped briefly, pitting them against each other three times in 1960. None of the races was close. On March 14 (before the Rome Olympics) Snell won an 800 in Melbourne in 1:51.3 with Elliot sixth in 1:53.5. They met on successive days, September 22 & 23 in Dublin when both were Olympic champions. Fittingly, Snell won the 880 in 1:47.9 with Elliot fourth in 1:48.4. Elliot won the mile the following day in 3:57.0 with Snell fifth in 4:01.5......The times they are a-changin'. The NCAA just announced that the cross country national championship will be held at the University of Kansas on November 22. Why is this significant? Because ever since the first national championship in 1938, all of the meets have been held on the Michigan State course. The other significant change is the lengthening of the distance from four to six miles......Our last gleaned tidbit might earn you a free pitcher of beer at the Dew Drop Inn next Fridaynight if you play your cards right. Jesse Owens didn't have a first name, just initials. He was christened J.C. As the story goes, a teacher misunderstood his pronunciation of Jesse and he was too shy to correct her.

Jesse Owens Birthplace  Road Side Plaque
in Lawrence Co. Alabama

Jesse Owens birthplace in far northern Alabama, near the town of Oakville. 

Brief Bio on Josef Odlozil from from  Odlozil Memorial Track Meet page

Born on November 11th, 1938 in Zlin, Czechoslovakia, He attended the Military Academy of Jan Žižka in Bratislava. And there he started to really devote himself to athletics in earnest.
After graduating he was posted to the town of Olomouc, where he started to run in the local athletics club Slovan. Further studies brought him to Košice in eastern Slovakia where he spent three years under the guidance of his coach Jan Liška. Josef‘s rising prowess secured him a place on the national team, and since from he firmly belonged to the Army Athletic Club Dukla.
His dream was a bold one: to make it to the Olympics. Thanks to his hard work, unrelenting dedication, and above all a gigantically strong will, he managed in 1964 to secure a spot on the Tokio Olympics team. He brought home a silver medal in the 1500m run, having been beaten only by the phenomenal Peter Snell of New Zealand.
In 1965 Josef broke the 2000m world record with his time 5:01.2, which remains to this day the Czech (and Czechoslovak) national record. During a 1966 international match with France he set a new Czechoslovak 1500m record at 3:37.6. (Today the record is held by Josef‘s later protégée Jan Kubista.) On the next Olympics in Mexico, Josef made it once more to the final of the 1500m run, finishing 8th.
Over the period of his running career he was 7 times the Czechoslovak champion. In addition to his Olympic successes he also brought silver from the 1967 Indoor European championships. He held (or co-held) 11 Czechoslovak records and 5 best times on Czechoslovak soil.
Josef Odlozil graduated summa cum laude from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports of Charles University (double major Czech literature – Physical education). In 1977 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis „Training top 800m runners“. Despite these academic successes, for political reasons he was forced to leave the Army after the end of his active running career.

John Davies , Josef Odlozil, Peter Snell

Later he worked as a coach in Sparta Prague, 1979 – 1981 saw him coaching at the Institutio National del Deporte in Mexico.
After 1989 he was exonerated and Josef thus returned to the Army where he worked until his death. In 1992 – 1993 he was a UN Peace Corps commander in Iraq.
He tragically died after his return home on September 10, 1993. His life journey was captured by the director Vit Olmer in a documentary feature called Josef Odlozil – An Athlete of Olympic Ideals.

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