Saturday, October 1, 2016

V 6 N. 71 Gene Cole and Otto Peltzer

From Phil Scott:  Gene Cole is reported to be in a nursing home, in bad shape.  Cole was a member of the 1952 US 4x400 team that finished second to Jamaica in the London Olympics.

From Sports Reference
After he ran 48.0 for 440 y in 1948 while in high school, no more was heard of Gene Cole for the next four years. During the interim he attended Ohio State, leaving track, but he decided to give it another try in 1952. After placing fifth in the AAU, Cole took second place at the Final Trials and at the Helsinki Games he ran 46.8 for fourth place in the semi-finals to become the first man in Olympic history to run a sub-47.0 400 m and not make the final. Running the second stage of the relay he clocked a remarkable 45.5, which gave some indication of what he might have accomplished had he chosen to spend more than one season in top-class track.
Personal Best: 400 – 46.7y (1952).

Cole from Lancaster, Ohio  ran for Ohio State.   Set the US high school record for 440 at 48.0.  Also on that 4x400 were Ollie Matson, Charles Moore, and Mal Whitfield.  That would be two Ohio State lads on that team.

Thanks for Gene Cole tribute, Jeff Cole his son was my teamate at U.C. he ran 400m hurdles tj, he passed recently in California he worked for Disney .  Gene Cole bronzed shoe is a J.W. Foster out  of U.K. that turned into Reebok. I wonder why he did not run for OSU much. He told me he had to work. He also said his 45.5 was in vain when Charles Moore lost it all, and that J.W. Mashburn should have ran instead of Moore, but Mashburn got in some trouble with the coaches.   Phil Scott

John Cobley reports that:
The anxiously awaited book on Otto Peltzer is now available on Amazon.   Written by Tim Johnston, British Olympic (marathoner 8th in marathon,   2hr.28min. 4 sec. in Mexico City) and Donald Macgregor.

His Own Man is the story - the first in English - of an unjustly forgotten athlete, who ascended the heights, fell from grace under the Nazis, then achieved redemption coaching street children in India. Born with the twentieth century, Otto Peltzer overcame a lonely childhood, beset by illness, to gain a doctorate in sociology and multiple world records on the running track. In 1920s Germany he became an international celebrity, rival to Paavo Nurmi, the 'Flying Finn'. He competed in two Olympics, but his outspokenness made him persona non grata to the Nazis. His homosexuality was the pretext for a trial which resulted in his being sent for 're-education' in Mauthausen concentration camp. After the war, having survived four years of brutal treatment and lost his home and family to the Red Army, Peltzer was blocked from competing or coaching by his 'denazified' pre-war enemies. He found salvation in India, where, as national coach, he followed up a surprise victory over an all-conquering German team by training street urchins to Olympic level. Chronically ill as a result of his camp experiences, he died of heart failure in 1970.

At one point in his career Peltzer is reported to have competed against Eric Liddell  in China doing an overseas tour in the 1930s.  

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