Thursday, January 7, 2016

V 6 N. 1 January 1966


This issue is the Track and Field News version of War and Peace, a remarkable 64 pages devoted to annual awards, lists, rankings and a smattering of indoor news, definitely a track fan's reading choice for the smallest room in the house. On the cover is the smiling visage of Ron Clarke, the 1965 Track and Field News Athlete of the Year.

Awards are divided between track events and field events. Clarke is the overall and track winner. Randy Matson is the field event athlete of the year. He is also the US athlete of the year. Billy Mills is the US track winner.

The European AoY is mile record holder Michael Jazy of France. Ludvik Danek, the world record holder in the discus, is the winner in the field division.
The US open category winner is long jump WR holder Ralph Boston. The track division goes to Billy Mills. The collegiate winner is Randy Matson with UCLA's distance star Bob Day taking the track division award.
T&FN has ranked the following as the world's top performer in his event. 100 – George Anderson, US; 200 – Adolph Plummer, US; 400
– Andrzej Badenski, Poland; 800 – Bill Crothers, Canada; 1500/mile – Jurgen May, East Germany; 3 miles/5000 – Michel Jazy, France

Mikhail Storozhenko by Alamy
; 6 miles/10,000 – Ron Clarke, Australia; Gaston Roelants, Belgium; 110 high hurdles – Willie Davenport, US; 400 hurdles – Roberto Frinolli, Italy; pole vault – John Pennel; long jump – Ralph Boston, US; triple jump – Jozef Schmidt, Poland; shot put – Randy Matson, US; discus
 – Ludvik Danek, Czechoslovakia; hammer – Gyula Zsivotsky, Hungary; javelin – Janis Lusis, Russia; decathlon – Mikhail Storozhenko, Russia.
And now for the news of the embryonic 1966 indoor season which ironically begins outdoors in 1965. On Dec. 30, Jim Ryun clocks a good 3:42.7 1500 meters on a rain soaked track in New Orleans' Sugar Bowl Classic. Nine days later the Orange Bowl Invitational is held in Miami where hurdler Willie Davenport, now a freshman at Southern University, rides an aiding wind to a 13.4 clocking. Southern and Grambling exchange wins in the sprints. Southern's George Anderson takes the 100 yards in 9.3 but is then falla to Grambling's Richard Stebbins in the 220, 20.5 to 20.9. Both races are wind legal.
With that behind us, the real indoor season begins with the San Francisco Examiner Games held in the venerable Cow Palace on January 8. John Pennel has vaulted three times since summer, all in meets because there are no vaulting facilities in his hometown of Coral Gables, Florida. Practice, schmactice, he vaults 16-7¼ to raise Billy Pemelton's indoor national record by an inch and a quarter.
John Lawson had a terrific undefeated cross country season. Can he bring that magic indoors in a two mile against a pair of Tracys, specifically Lindgren and Smith? Yes, he can. He follows Lindgren until a quarter remains, then goes to the afterburners to win easily, 8:40.2 to Lindgren's 8:42.8.
Lawson's younger Kansas teammate, Jim Ryun, is in attendance as well. He may not be ready for varsity competition as measured by the wearing of the “Kansas Frosh” vest. On the other hand, apparently he is good enough to go against three guys who have bests of at least 3:57.7, visiting Englishmen Alan Simpson and John Whetton, and Bob Day of UCLA. The youngster is not psychologically damaged by the experience. He allows Day to lead through a 58.2 quarter, then takes charge, passing the next quarters in 1:59.9 and 3:01.8. Enough is left in the tank to hold off Whetton, 4:02.1 to 4:02.5. Simpson, 4:03.6, and Day, 4:05.9, trail.
Wait, who is that big, grandfatherly looking guy over by the shot put ring? It looks like Parry O'Brien. Can't be. He retired last year after competing in only one meet. He's a banker. The only vest he wears now is in a three piece suit, but that guy picking up that iron ball sure looks like him.
Yes, it is and as the saying goes, there is no strength like old man strength. He pops the shot 62-3 to beat AAU champ John McGrath by four inches and leave those other kids, Dave Maggard and Neil Steinhauser, well back. Good to see you again, old timer.
Now it is Friday night, January 14 and we are in Detroit's Cobo Arena for the Motor City Games. Standing at the top of the runway, Norm Tate is a 25-9 (24-7¾ indoors) long jumper. By the time he hits the sand, he has moved to number eight on the all time indoor list with a leap of 26-3¾.
John Pennel clears 16-9¼, two inches better than his American record. That's the good news. The bad news is that his pole goes under the bar, negating the effort. Oh, well, maybe next week.
Southern University has a pretty good mile relay team. This night they combine splits between 49.7 and 48.4 to score a 3:16.0 win. If that time doesn't seem like much by today's standards, remember that they are running on a tight 160 yard track. Get three friends and try that before breakfast some time. Of course you would have to find a 160 yard track.
Now a day has passed and we are in Boston for the Knights of Columbus meet. John Whetton benefits from a slow pace to run 57.6 on his final quarter and win the mile in 4:06.6. Countryman Allan Simpson moves to the two mile where he follows Tom Laris before kicking to an 8:41.6 PR with Laris 1.6 seconds back. The crowd favorite though is the fifth place finisher, Art Dulong, who becomes the second high school kid to dip under nine minutes in 8:59.6.
January 22 finds us at the Los Angeles Invitational where two indoor records are broken and another one tied. One record is a surprise. Triple jumper Art Walker is eight days out of the army where there was no pit to train in. His first three jumps, two fouls and a mediocre 47-1¾, are testament to his lack of technique. But then, as if moved by the hand of God, he puts everything together on the fourth jump, an astonishing 53-8½ bettering the world record of Olyeg Fyedoseyev of the Soviet Union by 2¾ inches. A foul and a pass and he is done. Get some training in, Art, and you might be pretty good at this.
The breaking of the other record is as predictable as Walker's was shocking. John Pennel gets the pole vault record. His 16-9½ betters Pentti Nikula's 16-8¾. For this achievement Pennel is voted the outstanding performer award and takes home a portable TV.
The third record isn't much of a surprise either. Nebraska's Charlie Greene catches Darryl Newman in the 60 and pulls away for a yard victory in 5.9. Can 5.8 be far behind?
The crowd of 13,419 has seen three world records, yet what most of them will be talking about the next day is the performance of Kip Keino. The personable Kenyan is determined to give the fans their money's worth. A rabbit leads the first quarter in 59.8 at which point Keino takes over, splitting 1:58.5 and 2:59.8 with Jim Grelle ten yards back. Grelle closes to Keino's shoulder as the gun sounds for the last lap. Off the final turn Grelle's speed is too much for Keino and the former Oregon star wins easily, 4:00.9 to 4:01.8.
So why is the crowd buzzing about the great Kenyan when they leave the Sports Arena? Apparently Kip's momma preached the adage, “If at first you don't succeed, try and try again”, because 90 minutes later, a smiling Keino, wearing his orange cap, is standing at the starting line of the two mile, ready to take on John Lawson, Tracy Smith and Gaston Roelants.

A brief clip of this meet including the mile and two mile as well as the 60 yards won by Charlie Greene followed by the elusive Darrel Newman can be seen on Getty Images at the following site.
L. A. Invitatio


Also a link to May, 1965   Ebony magazine article on Keino and pictures from the L. A. Invitational and his first visit to the States
Keino, Ebony May, 1965

Keino leads for the first eight laps before Lawson, Smith and Roelants take turns at the front. With Roelants leading with a 440 to go, Lawson takes the lead. Two weeks ago he had used similar tactics to leave Gerry Lindgren in the dust. Worked then, should work now. Maybe not. Roelants drops away but the only dropping Keino is doing is that of his cap, his classic indication of a big finish. Lawson's five yard margin disappears. On the backstretch Keino goes by and Lawson has no answer. Keino 8:42.6, Lawson 8:43.0, Roelants 8:47.6 and Smith 8:50.0. Keino has run the fastest indoor mile – two mile double in history. No mention of who picked up the cap.

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