Thursday, July 6, 2017

V 7 N. 42 Some old photos, musings, and maybe even a rant

I mentioned in the last post that I would put some older photos up from back in the day.  These are from a T&FN Newsletter from 1963.  You can expect more of the same in the next postings.
Ron Whitney's name appeared frequently at the top of 440 IH results in '63

Must confess I never heard of Bill Harvey or Idaho State track, but
can't knock a sub 21 on a straightaway.

Paul Warfield, soon to be a force on the Cleveland Browns  in the NFL.
What an unimaginative photo.  How did it get across the SID's desk?
Oh yeah, Woody Hayes was AD and didn't give a crap about track.

Craig attended California State University, Fresno, eventually gaining a master's degree there. As a student-athlete, he competed for the Fresno State Bulldogs track team and was among their leading men in jumps and sprints. He was a key part of the Bulldog's 1964 team that won the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships (Fresno's first). He broke the American collegiate record for the triple jump and won that title at the NCAA Championships. His jump of 15.77 m (51 ft 8 3⁄4 in) defeated all comers, although due to wind-assistance it was not ratified as a collegiate record (being an improvement of more than 15 inches on any previous mark).[2][3][4]

He competed at the United States Olympic Trials in the year of his NCAA victory and placed fifth overall. Moving on from the college circuit, he placed third nationally at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1965 and 1966 before finally taking his first American title at the 1967 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.[5] This brought him selection for that season's Pan American Games held in Winnipeg and his best jump of 16.54 m (54 ft 3 in) (wind assisted, but only two centimetres short of Adhemar da Silva's games record) was enough hold off Brazil's Nelson Prudencio and win the gold medal. This made him the second American to win that title, following in the footsteps of the previous champion, Bill Sharpe.[6] In his last year of competition, he won at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships with a meet record of 16.50 m (54 ft 1 1⁄2 in) (a personal record) and then placed third at the USA Outdoors.[5][7]   Wikipedia source
Cross Country on a Track?  Probably because there were riots happening on the
Berkeley campus that day.  San Jose were National Champions, probably why
The Golden Bears  are not looking too good here.
If you cannot name at least half these guys, you should not be reading this blog.
By the way, who is the rabbit on the left?
Danny was a force to be reckoned with in the the American Southwest but
would soon  be forgotten in the wake of Randy Matson.

Today I just learned that one of the last legit 440 yard cinder tracks in Ohio went by the wayside to progress.   The old Fairmont East High School track in Kettering now a middle school prison, was recently paved with asphalt.  The track was once the home base of the Kettering Striders Track Club, a modern day finishing school for young women and boys.  It was one place I could go to run a nostalgic workout when I was visiting family and friends in the Kettering area.

  I'm certain there is no intention of covering the relic with a rubberized surface.   What purpose it will now serve is very questionable.  The infield is only used for peewee football.  Maybe the little girl cheerleader moms didn't want to dirty their shoes in the Fall.    Not sure if this was a musing or a rant, probably a rant.  That's what people my age (74) seem to do way too much of.

Well, while on that note, what about the Diamond League events and the upcoming World Championships?  Will you be watching?  It seems we are back to junk sports upstaging real sports these days on the tube.  American Ninja, and The Bachelorette seem to have usurped the attention of the American sporting public to the detriment of Track and Field.  One small bit of trivia:  Peter Snell appeared on the trash sport program Superstars in the 70's and won enough money to pay his way to grad school and eventually got a doctorate in Exercise Physiology.  He was able to quit his job with a cigarette company.     

I sometimes find today's track and field quite boring compared to 40 years ago.  It's doing everything for the elite athletes in terms of financial rewards that we felt they deserved so long ago, but they don't seem any happier about it.  In reality only a few are making a decent living and compared to average wages of the NFL or NBA or PGA it's peanuts except for Usain Bolt. They've become contracted  chattel to Adidas, Nike, Brooks and Reebok.   There is a lot more pressure on an athlete to perform, because his/her financial future is on the line.  To stay competitive and remunerative the temptation to cheat with PED's is also on everyone's screen.   It's also sad to see the guys who once had a bright future but succumbed to injury or mediocrity now serving as rabbits in the 800 and longer.  I can generally tell an Ethiopian from a Kenyan, having worked in that part of the world.  But still  there are so many good Kenyans and Ugandans in the distances, I  frankly I can't tell them apart on the track, with a few exceptions.  Guys like  Rudisha, Miritus Yifter, Kip Keino, John Aki-Bua were stand out guys easy to identify.   Not their fault, but many Kenyans have  names quite similar, and I quickly forget who is who.   If their uniforms were at least of different colors it might be easier.  Most run for a corporate team, but they don't have big logos, so it's hard to identify them.   OK,  I confess.  I fast forward the distance races after two laps until the last two laps.  And I know I am not the only old track nut who does this.  There is still way too much time wasted in the programming of track meets. Thank goodness an Evan Jaeger finds his way into steeplechase.  He's easy to pick out amongst the Kenyans.   Too much yap yap between events, thus leaving some good events out of the picture.    If you see more than 4 vaults in a televised track meet, it's something to write home about.  Christian Taylor one of the most articlulate track atheltes of all time.  Aries Merritt the same.    Why do so many people sit down on the track after their race these days?  That should be a D.Q.    And the flower girls and their flowers.  Boring Boring.  Nobody takes them home.  They throw them in the stands maybe hoping to score a groupie.

By the way, did you ever wonder where the Kenyan women learned to hurdle?  This picture from Nebraska archives may be a clue.

Ok, here's one no one seems to want to address directly.  The women of androgenous genetic make up have an unfair advantage.  It's nothing new, if you look back to Stella Walsh, the 1932 Olympic 100 meters champion from Poland.  It's not those ladies' fault that they inherited a genetic imbalance, but Semenya, Nyonsaba, and Wangui look like, are built like, and run like dudes.  The question is how to level the playing field.  They have been tested and Semenya has been found to have abnormally high testosterone levels, and there is scientific data indicating that this higher level will produce a significant advantage of from 1-4% enhanced performance.  My question is why with a testosterone advantage are they still not running faster than a mediocre high school male?  Are they sandbagging?  Are they just running enough to win and not draw too much attention to themselves?  I know that having this problem and living in Africa is an enormous social and psychological burden to bear for these ladies.  The IAAF is again considering requiring women to undergo a hormone reduction treatment to bring down their testosterone levels to within a range considered normal for women.  Question is how long will it take for the reduction to have an effect..  The moral question is this a violation of human rights.  It hints of Nazi philosophy.  I think this was also a rant.  Let's lighten up and enjoy some more pictures.  Sorry, no ladies pictures as T&FN didn't do women's track back in 1963.

Jim Farrell was my college teammate at U. of Oklahoma

I'm leaving soon to go out for an easy run on this warm summer day.  I bear one of the great fortunes in life of having a neighbor who brews excellent beer in his garage living across the street.  When I come in from a run, it is just a matter of knocking on the door and saying, "I NEED A COLD ONE".
God is Great.

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