Wednesday, March 1, 2017

V 7 N. 14 Track and the Recent Academy Awards Hoo Haa

Jack Keller , Ohio State U.

Pete Brown in Plano, TX sent us an article from today's Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2017 by Bob Greene.  Mr. Greene mentions that the recent Academy Award bungled presentation of Best Picture to La La Land  that had to be withdrawn and given to Moonlight  reminded him of a similar incident in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles when Ohio State athlete, Jack Keller, was announced to have finished in third place in the 110 meter HH and subsequently it was found by photo timing that he had really finished fourth.  Having already been presented his medal, Keller was told to go to the Olympic village and seek out the third place winner Donald Finlay of Great Britain and hand over the medal.   This may have been easier to do  last week as La La Land had already won five awards that night.
Finlay striking a hurdle pose on his Spitfire

For more on Finlay see wikipedia   Donald Finlay

 Greene remarked on the grace of Jordan Horowitz, producer of La La Land in turning over the Academy Award to the rightful winners of Best Picture.
Horowitz handing over the trophy to Barry Jenkins
For Jack Keller, this was his only time on the Olympic podium although he was not unaccustomed to winning awards having won the NCAA meet in the 220 yard lows and even setting a WR in the highs at one time.  But to send a man on a quest to find the true medal winner is indeed a task far beyond what people would be expected to do today.  Now the whole event would be recorded on media and broadcast all over the world, and Keller might even have become more famous than Finlay or the winner of the race George Saling of the University of Iowa.  Ironically Saling would die a year later in a car crash.  Jack Keller would go on into the world of journalism and become editor of the Columbus Citizen Journal.  He died in 1978, a quiet and modest man.

"Marquette sprinter Ralph Metcalfe poses with hurdlers Jack Keller (Ohio State) and George Saling (University of Iowa), and middle-distance runner Glenn Cunningham (University of Kansas) at the NCAA championship meet at the University of Chicago. The NCAA meet also served as the semi-finals for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, and each of these athletes earned a spot on the 1932 U.S. Olympic team. Each had just established a new NCAA record, or tied or set a new world record."   picture text from Marquette University Archives

Image courtesy Marquette University Archives. Image No.: MUA_RM_00018

What about number two in that Los Angeles hurdles race?   Percy Beard
Percy Beard
Later head track coach at U. of Florida
At the 1932 Olympics, Percy Beard was in the lead until he hit the sixth hurdle and ended up losing by a very narrow margin to [George Saling]. Beard had won the first of three AAU high hurdles titles in 1931, posting a new world record of 14.2 for 120 yards. Over the 110 meter distance, he equalled the world record of 14.4 in the 1932 Olympic Trials and during a European tour in 1934 he lowered the record to 14.3 and then to 14.2 After graduating from Auburn as a civil engineer, he ran four outdoor and five indoor seasons for the New York AC, losing only one race in all. He won the AAU indoor hurdles in 1931, 1932, 1933 and again in 1935. Beard went on to earn a master's degree from Auburn and taught engineering there from 1929 to 1935. He then moved to the University of Florida as track coach and became athletic director before his retirement in 1973. The University of Florida track is named for Percy Beard.  Wikipedia

Any coincidence?  Two major flubs, both in Los Angeles?  If you are wondering whether Steve Harvey's  2015 blunder in mispresenting the Miss Universe winner was in L.A.  it wasn't, it was in Las Vegas.

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