Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Sunday, August 28, 2016

V 6 N. 64 Ted Banks R.I.P.

Ted Banks former coach at University of Texas El Paso died this week.  His 9 year tenure at UTEP was extra ordinary twice winning the triple crown of track and field  being national champion in cross country, indoor and outdoor track in the same year.

From the El Paso Times this excerpt

Banks then put together an almost mind-boggling run of success. It was an almost John Wooden-esque run of dominance over nearly a decade.
His Miner teams won the NCAA Outdoor championship in 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. His Miners won the NCAA Indoor Championship in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1981. And his Miners won the NCAA Cross Country Championship in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981.
Banks guided the Miners to the almost unheard of triple crown — national championships in outdoor, indoor and cross country in the same season — in 1979-80 and again in 1980-81.

Banks relied heavily at times on Kenyans and Tanzanians.  He must have made them feel very welcome in El Paso, because they really performed well there.   The geography of West Texas bears some similarity to the East African savannah, and that too may well have been a factor.
A number of his guys were world class runners when they arrived in El Paso, but just having a bunch of runners of that level is no guarantee of success.  To keep them all motivated to go on doing well could be a daunting task.

It would be interesting to find out how much he learned from those great runners and how much they learned from him.  It was said that the program played pretty loose with the NCAA rules, but again that was speculation that can't be corroborated.   Maybe some of our readers can bring those things to light.

I attended a track seminar somewhere back in those day and learned a valuable lesson from Banks who was one of the presenters.   He talked about training  frequency and doing what he called the "hard day , easy day' routine.  I took that to heart, and adapted my training and found that it really worked better than the hammering I was doing to myself on an almost daily basis, and a significant  reduction of injuries also came about from that advise.

After staying at UTEP only nine years Banks went on to work for Converse shoes in design and development.  Not sure how long he was there.  That phase was certainly less successful than his coaching days but probably much more lucrative.

Banks ran track at UCLA as an undergrad.  He had three children and two grandchildren and wife to mourn his passing.


Friday, August 26, 2016

V 6 N. 63 August , 1966

      In our last post we mentioned the importance of placing in the top two at our national meet in order to qualify to run against the Russians.
    Alas, we have no USSR – USA meet upon which to report. Two weeks before the scheduled meet in Los Angeles the Russians announce they are boycotting the competition because the US has recently escalated the military action in Viet Nam. Not surprisingly, Poland, scheduled for a dual meet the very next week in Berkeley, cancels the following day, leaving the US team all dressed up with no place to go. What to do?

    Instead of moping like a girl stood up on prom night, the US decides we don't need those godless Commies. We can do it ourselves. And so we do. In a burst of patriotic fervor, the meet with Poland in Berkeley becomes the All American Invitational. We already have our A team ready to compete, add those that just missed qualifying, mix in a large dose of nationalism and sprinkle lightly with passion. We are ready. This will be a better meet than the planned warm up with those Polish JVs.

     And, oh my, yes it is. In fact a magnificent world record is the result, one that wouldn't have happened in a meet with the Poles. The original meet was to be run at international distances, meaning that Jim Ryun would have run 1500 meters, not the mile. The change has been made at Ryun's request. This will be an attempt at Michel Jazy's 3:53.6 world record.

Even his competitors are up for it. Ryun needs pacesetters. National pride is at stake here. Pacesetters he shall have.

     Tom Von Ruden is out early but Richard Romo is the first lap leader at 57.3 and increases the pace in the next 220 with Ryun on his shoulder. By the half Wade Bell is leading the parade in 1:55.4. At this point a 1:58 half is all that is needed for the record. Given Ryun's unmatched last lap speed, the crowd of 15,000 senses this is the day the mile record returns to America.
    But the pace slows to a 30.3 in the next 220. Ryun has to make his break now and so he does. He looks over his shoulder and realizes he has already got all the help he is going to get. Now he is on his own. The frenzied crowd is standing, roaring its encouragement as he passes the ¾ mile mark in 2:55.5. Those in the stands know they are seeing history. This is an I-was-there moment, an achievement to be related to children not yet born.
Ryun WR Mile Berkeley , 1966

"There is a clock on the screen.  You can see the time when Ryun's foot touches the 220 to go mark and when he finished.  he ran 24.0 that last 220.
 I was standing on the curb at the finish line and saw the entire race close up.   You can see me as he goes by.  The 880 was  the race just before the mile."

 Jim Metcalf. 

 Wonders, wonders.  This is the video that I have been looking for over the past century.  While not mentioned,  this is the famous Berkeley race where Jim Ryun  first broke the World record.  I led the first half for him and eventually ended up 3rd.  

Go Roadrunners!
Ricardo Romo, Ph. D.

All those early morning runs in the frigid winters and the interval workouts in the stifling summers are paying off. Though he says later that he felt “heavy”, no one watching has that feeling. His last lap goes off in 55.8, giving him 3:51.3, breaking Jazy's record by a remarkable 2.3 seconds, 18 yards as estimated by Cordner Nelson. Cary Weisinger is second in 3:58.0 and Richard Romo is rewarded for his unselfish work with a 4:01.4 PR in third.

    Ryun is the first American to hold the mile world record record since fellow Kansan Glenn Cunningham 29 years ago. Those present have seen one of the great moments in the history of US track and field.

    Triple jumper Art Walker had been preparing to meet Poland's world record holder and two time Olympic champion, Jozef Schmidt. Although disappointed that competition is off the table, he pops an American record 54-7¾ to move to number two on the year's world list.
Charlie Greene
    Charlie Greene's 10.3 100 tops the 10.4 of George Anderson, Jim Hines and Trinidad's Ed Roberts. High schooler Bill Gaines is just a tick back in fifth. Decathlete Russ Hodge runs 10.9.
Tommie Smith

    Tommie Smith takes the 200 in 20.7 leaving Hines, Roberts, Harold Busby and Adolph Plummer in his wake. Surprisingly, new decathlon world record holder, Bill Toomey, is right with the big boys, taking sixth in 21.2.

    Lee Evans cements his position as 400 meter stud duck, running 45.7 to leave Theron Lewis and Bob Frey six tenths back. Evan's comment: “I didn't get tired at all.”

    Tom Farrell wins the 800, holding off Ted Nelson by a tenth and Preston Davis by three tenths, in 1:47.6.

    Tracy Smith outruns Billy Mills in the 5000, 13:42.0 to 13:52.6.     After Ron Larrieu leads nearly the entire 10,000, St. Cloud State sophomore Van Nelson takes over with four laps to go but can't shake the determined Larrieu who kicks past to win by ten yards in 28:54.2, the fastest ever run in the Western Hemisphere.

    John Pennel's back is bothering him again, so it falls to USC freshman Paul Wilson to provide world record holder Bob Seagren's competition, a chore he handles admirably. Both clear 16-6 with Wilson ahead on misses. With the bar at 17-2, both clear only to have their poles go under bar thus negating the clearance. Wilson's loss of a PR is made bearable by his victory over the world record holder.

    Willie Davenport should have stood in bed all day. He oversleeps and has to run the half mile to the stadium, arriving 15 minutes before the start of the hurdles. Whether this unusual warm up routine effects his performance is hard to say but he finishes behind Don Shy and Tom White in 13.8.
Don Shy in his last year of pro football with the Southern California Sun in
1975, also was with the Steelers, Bears, Saints and Cardinals

    Adhering to the motto if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, Willie takes a shot at the intermediates. Ten hurdles, how hard can that be? The field of four veteran intermediate hurdlers is delighted to provide Willie an education. Geoff Vanderstock edges Ron Whitney 50.2 to 50.4 with Bob Steele 50.8 and Jim Miller 52.4 following. A wiser Willie Davenport finishes in 59.5. No specifics are provided. Our guess is that this was Willie's last attempt at this event.
Jim Miller

    Neil Steinhouer establishes an Edwards Field record on his first attempt in the shot with a put of 65-3¼. Before those in the press box can make a note of this, Randy Matson throws 67-2¼. Thanks for coming, Neil. Once again Russ Hodge appears in the results with a toss of 55-9.

    No matter how far Rink Babka throws the discus, Al Oerter will throw it farther. Today is no exception, Oerter 205-6, Babka 198-4. Placing sixth and seventh are those decathlon guys, Hodge 165-10, Toomey 153-3. They are getting ready for the decathlon being held in the Russian replacement meet next week.

    Ed Red, the guy with the shortest name in the sport, has the longest throw of the day in the javelin, 270-4, to move to number six on the US all time list and top Frank Covelli by exactly ten feet.

    Both relays come close to world records. The “A” team of George Anderson, Harold Busby, Tom Jones and Jim Hines runs 39.1 to miss the 400 record by a tenth. Cordner Nelson remarks that had not Tommie Smith and Charlie Greene been demoted for disciplinary reasons, the record might have fallen. No details are given. (Indeed Greene is on the B team and Smith doesn't run at all.)

    Like the mile, the 4 lap relay has been changed to yards. Arizona State's mile relay world record of 3:04.5 is sure to fall to Lee Evans, Tommie Smith, Bob Frey and Theron Lewis. The fatigue Evans didn't feel in the open 400 comes to roost on the lead off leg as the national 400 champ ties up badly and runs but 46.9 before handing off to Smith who does no better considering he has a running start. His 46.3 is matched by Frey. Lewis is the only one up to the task. His 45.2 brings them home in 3:04.7, good but no cigar.

    As good as this meet is, the biggie is the following week in the LA Coliseum where political allies Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand come to our aid and furnish more competition than the dual with the Soviet Union would have provided. Over $300,000 worth of tickets have been sold for the Russian meet creating an assurance that the replacement meet will definitely happen. In deference to the primary sponsor, the meet is dubbed the LA Times Invitational.

    The meet is a two day affair with 27,846 spectators on Saturday and 34,150 Sunday. To say that no one goes home disappointed may be hyperbole, but, what the hell, no one goes home disappointed.

    As you remember, Art Walker set the American record in the triple jump last week. It is short lived, as he betters it by over three inches with his new AR, 54-11 to open Saturday's competition.

    Later this afternoon another field event excites the crowd even more. John Pennel, injured last week, is ready to take back his world record from roommate Bob Seagren. Seagren clears 16-6, but is out at 17-0¼, a height cleared by Pennel and that pesky freshman, Paul Wilson, who can go no higher. Now the bar is set at 17-6¼, three quarters of an inch above Seagren's record. Pennel is not exploring unknown territory here. Ten days ago in an all comers meet he jumped half an inch higher. He clears easily on his first jump and embraces the ex-record holder, his supportive roommate. Happy as he may be, one has to wonder what thoughts are running through Seagren's mind. “You made broccoli-spinach casserole for dinner last night, constantly leave your underwear on the floor, never wipe down the shower and now this.” A world record is nothing new for Pennel. This is his eighth.

    Ron Clarke is always ready to run. Today he runs 5000 meters in 13:28.4, twelve seconds off his recent world record, but extemely fast considering the warm weather. Tracy Smith continues his progression towards the top rung of the US distance world, finishing second in 13:40.2.

    In addition to Seagren and Pennel, there is another pair of roommates in the spotlight. Bill Toomey and Russ Hodge broke the decathlon world record last month. Today they are at it again. They are pretty much equal in the 100 (10.5 both), long jump and high jump. The differences come in the shot, where Hodge piles up points with a 56-7½ to 44-4 advantage, and the 400 in which Toomey runs a decathlon best 46.8 to top Hodge's 48.9. The day ends with Hodge leading by 89 points.

    Willie Davenport is having a tough couple weeks. Last week he arrived too late to warm up properly and Don Shy and Tom White ran 13.7 and 13.8 to beat him. Those two run the same times this week but Willie false starts twice and can only watch. Note: Apparently there is no open lane in tomorrow's intermediates because Willie's name doesn't appear in the results.

     Randy Matson disposes of Neil Steinhauser by a couple feet in the shot, 66-8½ to 64-2, but the hammer throw is much tighter. Tom Gage whirls the iron ball 219-2 to edge Hal Connolly by two inches and Ed Burke by eight.

    The next day it is rumored that Jim Ryun is set on breaking his own 800-880 records of 1:44.2 and 1:44.9. While all other races are in meters, this will be in yards and timed at both distances. Why set one record when you can get two? The competition is certainly there: Ted Nelson, Tom Farrell, Preston Davis, Englishman John Boulter and Australian Ralph Doubell. A 27.3 second 220 dooms the record attempt as Ryun is 53.3 at the 400. He attempts to break away on the backstretch but this time he opens no ground. The 600 is passed in 1:19.0. Ryun says, “With about 200 yards to go my legs felt very heavy and I was quite tired”. Welcome to the world of everybody else, Jim.

    Doubell, Nelson, Boulter and Farrell are right there. Although Farrell is gaining in the final yards, Ryun hangs on to win in 1:46.2. Farrell 1:46.5, Nelson 1:46.9, Doubell 1:47.2 and Boulter 1:47.3 follow. Cordner Nelson calls this “the greatest competitive 880 ever”.

    After winning the 5000 yesterday, Ron Clarke finds himself with nothing to fill the lonely hours today so he runs the 10,000, easily outdistancing yesterday's runner up, Tracy Smith, 28:13.6 to 29:00.0.
     Consistency, thy name is Oerter-Babka. Not only do they place in that order in today's discus competition, but they come within four inches of replicating the exact marks they threw last week. Oerter's 205-7 is one inch beyond his Berkeley mark, Babka's 198-1 falls three inches short of last week's effort.

     Gayle Hopkins pops a 26-7 long jump but that isn't enough to beat
Ralph Boston who tops that mark twice with leaps 26-8¾ and 26-9.
    Otis Burrell's 7-2 clearance in the high jump equals his best and gives him the victory over Aussie Laurie Peckman.
    The 1500 is a tactical affair decided by Jim Grelle's 53.9 last lap to win in 3:44.5 over England's Walter Wilkinson at 3:45.5. Richard Romo impresses with a 54.2 final go round to take third in 3:45.6.
    Jim Hines runs a great curve and hangs on until the final strides before the powerful finish of Tommie Smith wins the day 20.5 to 20.6.

    The fact that the Australians aren't here to just fill out the fields is evident in the 400 intermediates where Aussies Gary Knoke and Ken Roche hurdle 50.8 and 50.9 to edge Geoff Vanderstock's 51.0.
     Let's return to Berkeley where our cream of the crop mile relay team ran 3:04.7, missing Arizona State's world record by two tenths of a second. Today they are running the international distance of 1600 meters. The record is 3:00.7 set by the US in the '64 Tokyo Olympics. The Berkeley four, significantly rearranged, are determined not to fail this time. UCLA's Bob Frey leads off in 46.3, passing to AAU champion Lee Evans who puts the record in their cross-hairs with a 44.5 carry. Then the crowd is treated to a demonstration of the special talent that is Tommie Smith. The San Jose State star wraps up the record and puts a bow on it with an stunning 43.8 lap. Unless an act of God intervenes, anchor Theron Lewis will come home with the record, but could there be something more, something never done before, a sub three minute clocking? In a word, yes siree, Bob.   Lewis splits 45.0 and is enveloped by his teammates. The clock reads 2:59.6.
     While all this is going on, the battle in the decathlon is playing out, event by event. Toomey gains 54 points by outhurdling Hodge, 14.7 to 15.2 to close the gap to 35 points. Hodge more than counters in the discus, 165-5 to 146-1 to stretch his advantage to 143 points. With three events remaining, time is running out for the recent world record holder. Both clear 13-5½ in the vault and the javelin is a virtual wash with Hodge throwing 211-7, a foot farther than Toomey, to gain another three points.

    As they start the 1500, Toomey needs to beat Hodge by 21 seconds. Toomey is much the better 1500 runner, but this may be asking too much. In addition, the world record is on the line for both of them. Toomey needs to run 4:18.2, Hodge 4:39.6. It is possible for Toomey to break his own record but lose it seconds later. This is as dramatic as a decathlon can be. There may be some late dinners, but no one is going home until this is settled.

    As expected, Toomey goes out hard. With a lap to go he is up 22 seconds on his buddy, but the bear jumps on his back in the home straight and he misses his record. Hodge has more in the tank and is coming hard before that same home straight becomes uphill. He gives it his all only to miss the record by......are you ready?.......eight tenths of a second. But his 4:40.4 is enough to hold off Toomey's 4:20.3. Though Russ is four (count 'em, four) points short of Bill's WR with 8230, he wins by 11 points.

    If this isn't dramatic enough for you, there are rumors that there may have been a wind aided mark in the Salina competition which would negate Toomey's record and make Hodge the world record holder on today's performance. Why a wind reading has not been determined in seven weeks is not explained.

    When Bill and Russ go out for their post meet beer the world record holder should buy but neither is sure who should be reaching for his wallet.

    While these were the foremost meets in the US, two weeks later the British Empire and Commonwealth Games (later British Commonweath Games and now the Commonwealth Games) were taking place in Kingston, Jamaica. The significance of this particular meet is the emergence of Kenyan distance runners on the world scene. Kip Keino is well known but this meet is the coming out party for the nation that is to rule distance running for the next fifty years.

    Ron Clarke has set 17 world records. His match with Keino in the three mile is much anticipated but first he must complete the formality of winning the six mile. Clarke is the WR holder at 26:47. No one else has broken 27 minutes. All he has to do is run his race and no one will stay with him. Apparently Naftali Temu of Kenya hasn't gotten the word.
Clarke and Temu in another race on another day
He stays on Clarke's heels until, on the 19th lap, Clarke breaks and his pace falls to 74.9. That is all Temu needs. He clips off a 62.7 and the race is over. His last mile is covered in 4:17.3, Clarke's is 4:39.5. Temu's 27:14.6 is the fourth fastest ever.

    Two evenings later Clarke is up against the superbly fit Keino at three miles. In past meetings Keino has followed and outkicked Clarke. Surprisingly Clarke doesn't lead.
McCaffrey, Keino, and Ian Stewart in a 1970 race
He and Keino run in a group with Scotland's Ian McCaffrey and Australia's Kerry O'Brien and Ian Blackwood. With five laps to go Keino leads with Clarke and McCaffrey following closely. Blackwood and O'Brien have fallen away, but Temu is 20 yards back and closing. The two mile mark is reached in 8:37.8. Clarke takes over on the tenth lap but can't shake Keino. The inevitable happens at the start of the backstretch on the last lap. Keino goes by and Clarke has no response. Keino's final 56.4 gives him the win in 12:57.4, a PR. Clarke has to settle for 58.4 and 12:59.2. Surprising Allan Rushmer of Great Britain finishes brilliantly to snatch the bronze medal from Temu 13:08.6 to 13:10.4.

     Five days later Keino displays his dominance in the mile. After a sizzling 3:57.4 heat, he returns two days later to destroy a strong field with an amazingly consistent race, splitting 59.3, 59.4, 58.0 and 58.4 en route to a dominant 3:55.3. Britain's Alan Simpson runs 3:57.1 for silver leading four others under 4:00.

    Other Kenyans in the dawning of a new era are Wilson Kiprugut, second in the 880 at 1:47.2 and Benjamin Kogo, third in the steeplechase at 8:33.2.

    Other items we have learned: The purity of the NCAA has been upheld. Although Paul Wilson vaulted 17-1 and Jim Ryun ran 1:44.9, 3:51.3 and 8:25.2, those marks are not collegiate records. The reason? Those youngsters are only freshmen and, as such, not eligible to hold NCAA records. The nerve of those young whippersnappers.....Coach Mihaly Igloi is no longer with the LATC. He has taken most of the members of that team and formed a new club, the Santa Monica Track Club. Not to worry, the LATC is still in business with a new coach, Lazlo Tabori. One wonders how this came about as Tabori ran for Igloi in Hungary and again in the US.....San Diego State's Houston Ridge has some creditable weight marks. He has put the shot 60-10½ and thrown the discus 174-9½. The oddity is that he puts the shot right handed and throws the discus left handed. Try that some morning before breakfast....Apparently the admissions office staff at San Jose State is very efficient. Lee Evans' application has been processed and accepted in record time......Remember the question about the wind reading in the Salina decathlon? Maybe there should be some concerns based on the following information. The AAU announced that Dave Thoreson's high jump was actually 6-10¼, not 6-9 7/8 as previously announced, thus his score should be 7484, not 7520. We will join you in a moment of head scratching. If I were Bill Toomey, I would be real worried about that retroactive wind reading.....We will end with a feel good moment. At the banquet following the LA Times International Games a silver pitcher is awarded to the outstanding athlete. The choice came down to Russ Hodge, John Pennel and Tommie Smith. The winner is Hodge. But wait, Russ has another plan. Upon accepting the award, he turns and presents it to Ron Clarke, saying “You are the one who deserves this”. Clarke is overcome. Nearly in tears, he says, “In all my years as a competitor, nothing like this has ever happened to me”. See, we told you you'd feel good.

Particularly good story telling on this one, George.


To SVM:   Roy wrote this one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

V 6 N. 62 Nina Ponomaryova R.I.P.

Nina Ponomaryova, the Soviet Union's first Olympic gold medalist died on August 16, 2016 at the age of 87.  She won the discus in Helsinki and repeated at Rome in 1960.  Probably almost as famously remembered for shoplifting five hats out of a store in London.

Nina Ponomaryova 1929-2016

This is her obituary from The Telegraph.

V 6 N. 61 Still More Olympic Wrapping Up

I'm trying to adjust my life back to normal after two weeks of binge watching  Olympic programming and wondering where my mind was going.
I think I watched this O Games more than any other previous, though there are ones in the past that I might have wanted to watch more than this one.  Most of you have been to O s, I have not.   The most possible one for me was 1976 in Montreal when we were living in Quebec, but I was in the process of moving from there down to Muncie, IN to attend grad school at the same time, so couldn't justify doing both things.  Lots of events to talk about in retrospect, but not enough time here.  I guess to me, a middle distance guy, the 1500 was the most anticipated, even more than Clayton Murphy in the 800, which is one of the few races I missed.   In the 1500, a USA win was pleasing in many ways, but I was also disappointed that a 4:08 equivalent in the mile would do the  job.  However I think that the option to make a lot of money through endorsements for a gold, silver or bronze, not to mention national monetary handouts greatly affected the way the race was run.  Remember Camacho got $1,000,000.00 from the Spanish government for winning the 1500 in Barcelona? Every guy in that race in Rio knew or felt he had a chance for at least a bronze and some financial security, so no one was willing to go for it from the get go or run some reasonable opening laps. Really are 66 and 70 reasonable in the Olympics?    Jeez,  2:16 at the 800 would shame most high school milers.   Instead it turned into an great 800 meter race.    I found the 50 Km race walk more interesting, and more guys really pushed each other from the get go, and there were only maybe 30 seconds difference between 1st and 5th which mathematically over that distance is a closer race than the 1500.

The Grace Butcher article on the blog was a long time in the making.  Got the idea three years ago when Steve and Bill and I visited a friend of hers, Les Hegedus in Cleveland.  I've been corresponding with Grace since January to put this together.    Lots of procrastinating, and then I was nervous about what she would have to say about it.  She helped me with some corrections of fact and some punctuation.  Think I may have gotten a B+ from her, the former English professor.  Now I have time to start a similar one on Diane Palmason, who is in our club up here on Vancouver Island.

The Ryan Lockte mess.   I think everyone reading this is guilty of some youthful indiscrection and truth fabrication when under the influence except maybe my colleague Roy Mason.   And that's a big maybe.   OK, Lockte has been on the international stage a long time, but Rio was also his last international stage and no doubt he had made tremendous sacrifices to be where he was, so  maybe his acts are more understandable and even excusable.  No one got hurt, a door was broken.    How many doctors, lawyers, salesmen representing corporations,  company  VPs, CEOs, oh and yes, politicians and sportscasters have done much worse and gotten back into their respecteive games.   OK, Roger Ailes of Fox got booted, for sexual harassement, but how much money did he get to leave with?  The only thing he lost was power, which in his social world was terrible, but he hasn't got a long life expectancy anymore like Lockte has.

On the lighter side if you were a corporate sponsor, how could you use Lockte to sell your product now?    As hypocritcal beer companies produce their sales pitches, surely they could find a way to 'use' Lockte. Coors or Annhueser Busch usually follow their ads with something about drinking responsibly, but always show a bunch of attractive young people having a good time.  How  about showing beautiful young people having a bad time as a result of alcohol abuse?  What about drivers' insurance companies?  Condom ads?,  Mouthwash?, Gun safety?   Lockte might be good for one gig on Saturday Night Live, and if he's really good, maybe a whole new career.  Lord knows plenty of entertainment industry people have made come backs after acting stupid, except Mel Gibson.

Pete Brown

Clayton Murphy may well turn out to be the best 800 man in American history. Too bad you missed his wonderful performance George. He got shoved around in the first round, but in the semis and final he was doing the shoving. He’s composed, smart and has the best kick I’ve seen among any US runner dating back to Mal Whitfield. I see 1:41.0 for him if he does not get hurt.

This was the best OG for me ever on TV. I went to LA, but was really into this one and there was a thrill a minute. Crouser and Carter among my favorites. Neikerk WR thrilling. Simpson and Coburn super. Tim Hutchings the best announcer by a wide margin in my book. Ashton Eaton a pleasure to watch.

Chelimo blew me away getting second in 5k with a 13.03.90 right behind Farah. Christian Taylor and Will Claye both excellent as were the women 100 hurdlers. Tori Bowie and Allison Felix both exceeded expectations, especially Felix in overcoming injury.

I don’t knock Centro at all. He took full advantage of what was handed to him. I hate to see that kind of race, but he ran one hell of last 800. I was really happy for Rupp and Jaeger.

Keep up the good work George and Roy. Tokyo will have to go some to top this.

Here's the Jim Fixx question of the day for Superintelligent People

The Splintered Circle

What is the maximum number of parts into which a circle may be divided by drawing 4 straight lines?   Answer below.

   Good observations, George.  What I got out of the Rio Games was that the Americans are now willing and able to run with the East Africans, occasionally beating them.  Although the Africans get the most medals in the distances, they no longer get all of them.  I am very impressed with the US competitive spirit which so often rises to that of the competition.  I believe that was started by Bob Kennedy and now others.  Training groups with good coaches, financed by shoe companies, have paved the way.  That is the current trend although in many ways that was an older model as well.
   Of course, Kenyans were entered about 15-20 times in each distance race, wearing different uniforms including the red, white, and blue of the USA,  Yet they still did not get all of the medals as they did at one time.  My one disappointment was that the people representing the countries are often not from that country.  I liked it when African countries were represented by Africans and European countries were represented by Europeans.  With that in mind, in what continent can we expect to find France or Quatar.  Steve, what about Bahrain?  Are they still in the Middle East or have they moved closer to Tanzania?
   It was interesting to compare swimming and track.  If you take Africans and Carribean athletes out of the T&F events, our results would be much like swimming with plenty of victories as well as 1-2 or 1-3 finishes.  As Stan Huntsman said to Sam Bell at a pre-Montreal banquet in 1976 when the swimmers were really living it up, "they wouldn't be so cocky if the Kenyans had a pool."
   It was interesting to see China beat the US in the men's 4x1.  Has that ever happened before?  How about the US beating China in diving?  The world is changing with no more "sure things" anymore.  I guess that's a good thing.  Any interesting question posed on Mike and Mike yesterday was this:  Which will come first?  The US winning a World Cup in men's soccer or another country being equal to the US in basketball.
   Bill Schnier

Wasn't it Japan that beat us in the 4 x 100 Relay?
Correct me if I'm wrong.   John Bork

We stand corrected and will have a word with Mr. Schnier at the next board meeting.  George

Bill and everyone,
Remember there was an incident of the US upsetting England in the World Cup way back in 1950 and doing it with import players.   Admittedly they didn't import with the intent of performing well in soccer, but there were at least three non US citizens on that team.  There was a movie about it a few years ago as well.  So giving up your nationality and representing your new country is nothing new.
The World Cup Game was 1950
This game and the U.S. team were profiled by author Geoffrey Douglas in his book The Game of Their Lives, which was made into a film of the same name (later renamed The Miracle Match).

Also Keiti Son a Korean national won the Olympic Marathon running for Japan in 1936.

Here is how Sports Reference describes it.

"Son Gi-Jeong, who was forced to compete at the 1936 Olympics under the Japanese name Kitei Son because Korea had been annexed by the Japanese, became the first Korean to win an Olympic gold when he finished first in the Berlin Olympic marathon. Son started as a track runner in the 1,500 and 5K, but a win in an 8-mile race in October 1933 turned him to longer distances. Between 1933 and 1936, Son ran 12 marathons, winning 9 of them, never finishing worse than third. On 3 November 1935 in Tokyo, Son set a world best in the marathon with a time of 2-26:42 and this record remained unbroken until Son's own trainee [Seo Yun-Bok] won the 1947 Boston marathon with a time of 2-25:39. After finishing his sporting career Son worked as an athletics coach in Korea, training the national marathon squad. He also became the chairman of the Korean Sporting Association. In 1988 Son was chosen to light the torch at the Opening Ceremony of the Seoul Olympics.
Personal Best: Mar – 2-26:42 (1935).

Sohn was a proud Korean. When the Japanese anthem was played at his victory ceremony, he bowed his head and refused to acknowledge it. He told reporters that he was ashamed that he had to run for Japan. The next day, a leading Korean newspaper showed a photo of the victory ceremony, but covered the Japanese rising sun from his uniform singlet. For that, the Japanese jailed several of its employees and closed down the newspaper. Korea did not forget its first Olympic champion. In 1988, when Seoul hosted the Olympic Games, the Olympic torch was brought into the stadium by Sohn Kee-Chung, now running proudly under the Korean flag.

Answer: The Splintered Circle

Eleven segments may be formed with the 4 lines.  The key of course is that each successive line must divide as many segments as possible.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

V 6 N. 60 Not All Kenyans Run for the Money

We picked up this piece from  Shreveport, LA ABC affiliate KTBS Channel 3 on reccomendation   of Mike Solomon.  It's a story about William Songock from Moiben in the West Rift Valley area of Kenya where the majority of Kenyan distance runners were born.  William too is good but not great. While running for Middle Tennessee State, he was newcomer of the year in cross country in the Sunbelt conference and set school records in the 5000 indoors and 10,000 outdoors, and that was about it.   But he has continued his education now working on a doctorate in Microbiology doing cancer research at the LSU med school in Shreveport.   Good luck to him in the future.  Go Kenya.

Kenyan Runner in Shreveport

Sunday, August 21, 2016

V. 6 N. 59 Rio 2016 More from our round the track observers

Well,  the games are all  but wrapped up and we can finally go back to the past and live the dreams that life is made of.  Here are some  final comments on the last two days.  Perhaps more will follow, and if they do, I'll add them to this post.

Here too is the next Jim Fixx question for the superintelligent.
Actually it is several questions.

1. What eight-letter word has only one vowel?
2. What word contains all five vowels in alphabetical order?
3. What word contains three sets of double letters in a row?
4. Punctuate the following so it makes sense:  John while James had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.
5. What do the following words have in common?  deft, first, calmness, canopy, laughing, stupid, crabcake, hijack

Semenya Post Race
From a Sydney, Australia newspaper.   I found this a very interesting interview post race with Semenya and a pretty unbiased assessment of what everyone has been talking about regarding hyperandrogeny.
Fourth place Canadian  in 800 Melissa Bishop had a hard time holding in her frustrations on CBC interview last night but managed.

 I think the conclusion that you be allowed to play under the conditions that nature provided you is the fairest way to go.  If you're 7 feet tall you think basketball or volleyball,.  If you're a 5'4" male you wrestle.  If you're a failed gymnast , you polevault, and on and on.    If you're a genius you write a track blog  But excluding someone because of a DNA anomaly is not ethical.  In a completely different way the East Germans tried to chemically turn young girls into men with winning results and disastrous long term physiological consequences.  So making a hyperandrogenous person take drugs to diminish their testosterone levels would put us into the same boat as the East Germans.

The CBC interview with Mohammed Ahmed the Canadian Somali runner who got 4th in the 5000 was one of the most emotional of the games.  He bombed in the 10,000 but got himself back together during the week to run well in the 5000 heats and final, he but was seriously disappointed in not getting a medal.  At one point he was event temporarily DQ'd, but reinstated.

Matt Centrowitz was no suprise winning with a 50.9 last lap after a 66 sec. opening lap, followed by a 70,  the suprise was that Kiprop didn't win or even place.   Overall I'd say this was one of the better track meets in history for spectacle and performance.  

If you can believe this,  the CBC pre-empted the evening's events (women's 800, men's 1500 and 5000, the relays, men's javelin and women's high jump) last night for a farewell concert by the band  Tragically Hip.  The band lead singer has a terminal illness, and this performance was nationally more important than the last night of track and field.  The C BC broadcast crew seemed to think this was perfectly normal.   Oh well, each nation has its priorities.  I'll be interested in Bruce's comments on that one.  I must admit I've only heard the name of the band, never one of their songs or the names of the band members.  Crap I'm old.   By the way, the Spanish lady who won the High Jump, 37 years old Ruth Beitia, was a little spooky flicking her fingers from an extended hand before each jump.  I thought she might be putting a curse on the other jumpers.  She had that look about her.  Excuse my prejudice, but she scared me.

 Then this morning during the critical phase of the men's marathon, at about 30Km, CBC went to a press conference with a bunch of long winded delegation officials to announce who would carry the Maple Leaf at the closing ceremonies.  I don't care.  Only redeeming feature was that they had a split screen with half covering the marathon, so I could turn off the sound and cover the right side of the screen with my shirt and socks and focus on the race.  Multi-tasking is not my strong suit.   Jared Ward's sixth place was a bigger achievement even than Rupp's third.  We expected a medal from Galen, but not this high of a finish from Ward.  Nice work.

Other interesting thing this AM was a contested ruling in a bronze medal wrestling match between a Mongolian and an Kyrgestani.  The   Mongolian started leaping around celebrating with about 5 seconds to go and was penalized two points for not trying to wrestle, which cost him the match.  Mongolian coaches protested and stripped down to their skivvies on the mat while throwing their clothes at the judges.  I could see our friend Steve doing this on a dq protest for 9 and under 50 meters race in suburban Kettering, OH and being mobbed by Kettering matrons.  So much for this.


Richard Trace

to me
I also was flabbergasted by the rock concert preemption.  Fortunately, living on the shores of Lake Erie, I could bounce back and forth between Canadian and U.S. TV.  Worked amazingly well for ads too.  I don't know what to do with myself now that I can no longer stomp about the house screaming, "Shut the f--- up!" at the 'color' people, but at least the neighbors are talking less about having me exiled now.

George Brose 

to Richard
Hey,  you've still got besebol, Canadian Football League,  NFL preseason,
and the Tour of Spain started yesterday.

Bruce Kritzler

to me
Have only seen Tragically Hip once (on tv) and didn't understand the Canadian fascination with them. They appear to be a good (not great) band that always  were anti-(mainstream, popular, publicity seeking, radio, financially motivated) so endeared themselves to a segment of the Canadian populous. Believe they had a large number of rotating members to the group.
Just don't think women with two balls (even one) should be racing with women with none.
Kiprop did everything possible to lose that 1500, and suceeded. When you've jogged 3 laps, then run 50.2 or .9, not many people are going to be able to pass you. Reminded me of 1988, with unknown Rono winning 1500 from the front.
Rupp gets bronze in second marathon. Kipchoge with a brilliant win.Kipchoge shows he can win paced/big city or Championship type race!

From: George Brose 

George Brose irathermediate@gmail.com

to Bruce
A 2;16   800 takes the joy out of watching a 1500.   Maybe they should just qualifiy for the final and then run a 400 in lanes to see who is the winner.   It was sort of like watching NASCAR, the last lap, except NASCAR allows you to knock the crap out of each other when passing.   

Bruce Kritzler

to me
And what was the deal with the Officials dq'ing so many people. It was like the Ohio HS State meet, where the officials think they have to dq anyone touching someone else. (or touching a line).

At first there  were three DQ's in 5000 then only one.

From: George Brose 

Phil Scott

George: You're killing me man, just finished watching USA destroy Serbia....looked like a repeat of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Rupp is tough cat, what a last 5k.

I found out Ryan Lochte actually has a patent on starting pistols, they are not on the market yet, and patent pending cause his mind went BLANK!

Phil in sweet Downtown Clayton,Ohio ......I just saw a dude come out the corn field behind my house looking like Glenn Cunningham saying BUILD A TRACK AND WE WILL RUN. ........got to go got work to do.......

Phil ,
Was Serbia in the Ottoman Empire or the Austro Hungarian Empire?

Here is a conversation between Jim Metcalf, John 
Perryand Preston Davis regarding the 1500 and 
Metcalf has broken down and analyzed the last 400
meters of the 1500, with that blazing 50+ lap.  He 
to put out a disclaimer on this data, because he measured distances and times from his viewing 
He feels they are pretty accurate, but you shouldn't 
betting your second mortgage on them.

This is something I made for my group...John, Dave, Preston..we had  a thread going on the olympic's 1500 and 5000
OK....here is the story of the 1500m.  You know how 
several people at a crime scene give different stories.  And what I remembered was not exactly what happened.
I recorded the 1500 and just spent 20 minutes in frame by frame analysis of the last 400m  using the clock on the 
screen that measures .1 instead of .10.  And i measured 
each runner on the various 100m lines. There are lines at 
the 100m points and these are taken from the time when 
each runner's foot touched the line and his body was 
straight up.
This is what happened.
At the bell Centro was side by side by a guy, I think from Morroco.
The algerian (Makhloufi)was right there and in the next 20 meters was
 on the shoulder of the guy who was on Centro's shoulder 
so he was no more than .05 back. they were almost all 3 touching shoulders.
Then, inexplicably Makhloufi slowed, and when they came
 off the turn he was .3 back at the 100m.  Centro ran the 
turn in 11.4 seconds, so an accelerated sprint had started.
Down the back stretch Kiprop came by the Makhloufi and 
he went with Kiproc but Kiprop did not keep going.  He slowed when he got to Centro and stayed a stride behind him. 
 I think the Algerian was racing Kiprop because he stayed
 on his shoulder. (If Kiprop and the Algerian had gone right on by Centro, the race might have ended differently)
The 2nd 100m was run in 12.5.  So they were floating to
the max. at 200m the Algerian was about .2 behind Centro and .1 behind Kiproc
On the turn, it tightened but the Algerian stayed on Kiprop's shoulder.  I think he was racing Kiproc and had discounted Centro.
They coasted the turn in 15.3.  at the end of the turn the Algerian moved by Kiprop.
With 100m to go  Centro had a 0.1 lead on the Algerian. I 
Centro may have pulled a little in the straight but the  
Algerian came back and was closing at the finish.   They ran the last 100m in 11.5. (That's 46.0 for 400) ed.
Those are close,  as the four 100m times add up to 50.7
But that is a clock count .1 by .1  of how the last 400m was run.
 From John

I think Centrowitz's coach knows how to give speed work. Maybe Rupp needs to borrow him for a month.


 Jim replies:

That is really great...but it is obvious he has not had much speed work, given his performances in recent 5K and 10K.  That is why he has gotten badly outkicked.
I don't know how much in endorsements he can get in marathon vs 5K and 10K but you cannot compete in diamond league in marathon and can only run one ever 4 -6 months and can run a 5K or 10K once a week.  So It might cost him a lot of endorsement money to become a marathoner.... 
I would like to see what he could do at 5K or 10K if he had a month of Perry-Metcalf speed work to go with that tremendous base...

I think it is obvious now that Rupp's marathon training hurt his 5K and 10K performances.
He ran an incredible race today and showed incredible courage.
Between miles 22 and 23 Kipchoge ran a 9:11 2 mile and before that a 4:46 mile..
They had 4:46, 4:41, 4:35, from 21 thru 23 miles,   so Rupp , at 21 miles ran 9:27 2 mile and then weathered part of the 9:35  before breaking.
Kipchoge ran 29:10 or some such seconds, I can't remember exactly, but the last 10K was incredible.  and they ran in 94% humidity...

George Brose irathermediate@gmail.com

7:07 PM (17 minutes ago)
to Jim
Do you mind if I use this thread on the blog?  I think the technical people will enjoy it.  Nice work on the analysis.  
11.5 last hundred is pretty good.  That 2:16 half made all 
that speed possible.    I think if they had all run 50-51
opening 400 and then gutted it out the next 1100, they
would have ended up with about the same time.  3:50.

Be my guest....just put in the disclaimer that they are just 
my calculations and could be wrong but I spent a long time and ran it by over and over again...forward and backward.  and the 110 splits seemed to fit with how they looked...
enjoy the blog..keep up the good work


Answers to Jim Fixx questions for the superintelligent

1. Strength   Geoff Williams has also given us 'rhythmic' as an answer.
2. Facetious
3. Bookkeeper
4. John, while James had had "had," had had  "had had."  "Had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.
5. All of them contain three consecutive letters of the alphabet.

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...