Wednesday, December 21, 2016

V 6 N. 88 Betty Robinson and some Football Coaches

Knute Rockne

     Football coaches are remembered for a long time,  think  Pop Warner, Knute Rockne, Red Blaik or Paul Brown. Whereas world class  track athletes have a much shorter time for instant name recognition. But it should not be forgotten that Rockne hired on at Notre Dame as a track coach and was there several years before becoming the football coach.  He is also credited with elevating the Drake Relays by bringing his track teams there made up of many of the well known football players thus helping attract major crowds to the meet.     Most of our readers hear the name  Wilma Rudolph and their minds quickly go back to Rome, 1960 and see Wilma outclassing everyone in the 100, 200, and 4x100.  But if you ask your children or grandchildren if they ever heard of Wilma, you get the 1000 yard stare.  Or, "Wilma? Was she in the Flintstones?"

     Well, here's one for you old timers.    Betty Robinson.   No she wasn't Mrs. Robinson  in "The Graduate"  Football coach John Robinson's wife?  Guess again, lads.    It's Betty Robinson, 1928 Olympic 100 meters champion.  If you got that one right you get an extra deduction on your income tax this year.
Betty Robinson
     An old Peace Corps  friend Bill Gingrich of Philadelphia sent along a piece from the Philadelphia Enquirer November 27, 2016 issue by Frank Fitzpatrick titled "A Track Heroine Lost to History".    

     Betty Robinson was born in 1911 in Riverdale, IL about 14 miles south of Chicago.   A high school track coach recognized her ability running to catch a train.  And four months later he had the 16 year old running in the 1928 Olympics.

Robinson Winning the 100 meters Amsterdam 1928

Cook Winning Anchoring the 4x100 in Front of Robinson
     Robinson won the 100 in 12.2 defeating Fanny Rosenfeld of Canada and breaking the World Record.  The favorite, Myrtle Cook of Canada DQ'd at the starting line.    Cook would later hold off Robinson on the anchor of the 4x100 to give Canada the gold over the US.   I knew this only because we mentioned this race in a recent posting about the Canadian runner Diane Palmason who was coached by Cook.

     The remarkable part of Robinson's story is the comeback she made after being severely injured in an airplane accident.  She and her cousin, a pilot , went up in a biplane to cool off on a hot summer day and crashed into a farm field.  A witness to the crash pulled two bodies out of the wreckage and thinking they were both dead, threw them into the trunk of his car and hauled them to the local undertaker.  This guy obviously had not been to medical school, because it turned out that they were both stlll alive and breathing though unconscious.

    Robinson recovered from her injuries, but with a pin put into one of her legs, she was unable to get into a starting crouch to run the sprints.  Nevertheless she resumed training after four  months but failed to make the team for the 1932 games is Los Angeles.
Berlin 4x100
Annette Rogers, Helen Stephens, Harriet Bland, and Betty Robinson
Stephens set the WR in the 100 at 11.6 which held up until Wilma Rudolph broke it at Rome

     Robinson didn't give up, and in a legendary comeback qualified to run the relay in the 1936 Olympics.  She ran the third leg and handed off to Helen Stephens.   The favored Germans bungled their last exchange, and the Americans won.  So almost 8 years after surviving that plane crash, she came home a winner once more.  However Jesse Owens' four golds overshadowed everyone else on the team,  and she was soon just a statistic in track and field.  Fame is fleeting and Betty Robinson was  prima facie evidence of that belief.  She died in 1999.  There was a 2014 biography  written about her by Joe Gergen, The First Lady of Olympic Track.  

     Recently the following comment came in from Joe Faust.  We're posting it here,  because it would only appear on four year old posting.  Joe mentions what he is up to these days.

Age 74: Designing busable short pack apparatus for standards, bars, and a landing apparatus. Still jumping in back yard. Watch-and-see Stage Zero CLL, City of Hope. Aiming for some masters HJ efforts in spring of 2017. Some email contact recently with Gene Zubrinsky 

     Okay, I know you are asking , why did they even mention football on this track blog?  Ans.  It was just to put these following utterances from the football world on here for some levity.  This may or may not be our last posting of the year.  If it is, it has been another fun year, and we plan to keep chugging along for another twelve months.  Best to all of you for 2017.
George Roy and Steve

"Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football "
  - John Heisman

"I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter,I want him to quit in practice, not in a game."
- Bear Bryant / Alabama

"It isn't necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!"
- Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money, and we don't have any."
  - Erik Russell / Georgia Southern

     There is a misspelling of Erk Russell's name. He was famous for banging his bald head against a players helmet to celebrate a good play, then having blood drip down his forehead. Erk died of a stroke while driving his pickup truck.
Florida State Crimenoles. Think Spurrier came up with that one.
Bruce Kritzler

Merry Christmas to all.

"The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it."
  -  Lou Holtz / Arkansas - Notre Dame

"When you win, nothing hurts."
  -  Joe Namath / Alabama

"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall."
  -  Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."
  -  Woody Hayes / Ohio State

"I don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation.  I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation."
-  Bob Devaney / Nebraska

"In Alabama , an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant."
-  Wally Butts / Georgia

"I never graduated from Iowa.  But I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's."
-  Alex Karras / Iowa

"My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor."
  -  Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

"I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades."
- Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

"Always remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David."
-  Shug Jordan / Auburn

"I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit me ."  He said, "Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren't any good."
  -  Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

"Son, you've got a good engine, but your hands aren't on the steering wheel."
-  Bobby Bowden / Florida State

"Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport.  Dancing IS a contact sport."
-  Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his post-game message to his team was, "All those who need showers, take them."
-  John McKay / USC

"If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education."
  -  Murray Warmath / Minnesota

"The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb.  To be a back, you only have to be dumb."   -  Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches."
  -  Darrell Royal / Texas

"We didn't tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking."
  -  John McKay / USC

"I've found that prayers work best when you have big players."
  -  Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

Ohio State 's Urban Meyer on one of his players:  "He doesn't know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just
saw his grades and he doesn't know the meaning of a lot of words."

Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting
on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.

What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? Drool.

How many Purdue freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb?
None.  That's a sophomore course.

How did the Auburn football player die from drinking milk?
The cow fell on him.

Two Texas A&M football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, "Look, a dead bird." The other looked up in the sky and said,  "Where?"

What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit?
"Will the defendant please rise."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No, your grandchildren have no frigging idea who Wilma or Fred Flintstone were. We have a wilderness park across the street from the school. This park has marvelous trails and hills. Last year I incorporated them in workouts. I named one Fred and the other Wilma. Thought that was pretty clever, until I learned that none of my seventeen runners, ages 15-18, knew who the Flintstones were. Not a one. Fred and Wilma were just names as far as they were concerned. The Flintstones, along with Ted Williams, Norm Van Brocklin, Bill Russell, Early Wynn and Bob Mathias are last week's news.

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