Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Friday, February 23, 2018

V8 N. 14 August 1967


      In keeping with our chronological format we need to report on an obscure meet in Southern California before addressing the US team's whirlwind tour of Europe. The Southern Pacific Association of the Amateur Athletic Union decathlon, held on Aug. 11-12 in Culver City, has produced the country's newest young multi-event star.                  
Anaheim HS

    UCLA pole vaulter Rick Sloan decides to take a shot at the decathlon and hits the bullseye with 7869 points to rank #5 in the world, #2 in the US and #5 on the all time US list. His 16-5 vault ties the best ever in a decathlon. He also high jumps 6-9½. As good as these marks are, it is his poorest event that is the most encouraging, a javelin throw of only 115-9, the result of an elbow injury. He has thrown 175 in practice. On today's scoring table that would represent a difference of 250 points. We'll keep an eye on Rick.

Rick Sloan was runner-up in the 1969 AAU decathlon. He competed for UCLA and the Southern Cal Striders. Sloan was the first UCLA athlete to clear 7-0 in the high jump and was also an All-American in the pole vault. He captained the Bruin track team as a senior and was the fourth American to surpass 8,000 points in the decathlon. He was ranked second in the United States in 1968 and 1969 in the decathlon, and ranked 10th in the world in 1969.
After college Sloan became a track coach, starting at the California Institute of Technology and Pasadena City College in 1972. He later coached at Mt. San Antonio Junior College (Mt. SAC) before moving to Washington State University in 1973 as an assistant coach. He was made associate head coach at WSU in 1982 and head coach of the men's team in 1994. In 1995, Sloan was named head coach of the men's and women's teams for the Cougars, holding those positions for almost 20 years, before retiring in 2014.  
Personal Bests: 100  10.7 (1967); 400  48.6 (1967); 110H 15.2 (1967); HJ  2.14 (7-0½) (1968); LJ 6.93 (22-9) (1967); PV 5.08 (16-8) (1967); DT  47.34 (155-4) (1967); JT  63.50 (208-4) (1969); Dec  7951 (1969).
Sports Reference


    On the day that Sloan is finishing his first decathlon, the US vs. Great Britain meet is taking place in London's famed White City Stadium. The crowd of 35,000, the largest to attend a track meet in England since 1958, witnesses the US administer the worst defeat ever suffered by a British national team, 130-84.* The severity is better emphasized by the Americans winning 19 of 21 events.

US v Great Britain 1967 and Emsley Carr Mile  Clik Here

    The feature event is the Emsley Carr Invitational Mile matching Jim Ryun and Kip Keino. This pairing produced a world record last month in Los Angeles. This time however, a slow early pace dooms any hope of a repeat. Recent evidence would indicate that Keino has no chance of out-kicking Ryun in a tactical race, yet the Kenyan appears to think otherwise, allowing the first lap to be run in 60.7. The second lap passes in 62.3 (2:03.0) with Ryun taking the lead. The pace picks up to 59.2 and three laps go by in 3:02.2. Entering the final lap Ryun leads. Britian's John Whetton is second with Keino a couple yards back. Keino moves up on Ryun's elbow on the backstretch but that is only the signal for the Kansan to take off, essentially ending the race. His 53.8 final lap produces a ten yard victory in 3:56.0. Keino is second in 3:57.4.

    Keino demonstrates naivete in his post race comments. “I had no plan. I didn't want to go to the front and was hoping to come through very fast, but I was a bit too far behind at the start of the last lap.” Don't feel bad, Kip, there is no plan that will beat Ryun.

Keino obviously went back to the drawing board and came up with a different plan at the altitude influenced Olympic Games the following year.  ed.

    The long jump matches world-record holder and Olympic champion Ralph Boston against Olympic champion Lynn Davies and the man who beat them both three days ago, Bob Beamon. The wind produces erratic results. Beamon has trouble getting his step and has only one legal jump, a 26-0¼. Davies opens with 26-2 which Boston immediately tops by half an inch. There things stand until the fifth round in which Boston adds an inch.  (see video above)

    The crowd exhorts Davies as the Welshman prepares for his final jump. Showing the resolve that earned Olympic gold, Davies pops a 26-7¼ to end his day in first place. Unfortunately for him and the majority of the crowd, Boston has one jump remaining. It is not wasted. Ralph hits the board perfectly and lands with a measurement of 26-10¾. Not that it matters this day, but now the Olympic champions' rivalry stands Boston 7, Davies 3. We look forward to their next get together.

    The 800 is a much anticipated race. Wade Bell has been dominant this year but he is up against European 880 record holder John Boulter. The pace dawdles early, resulting in a 55.5 400. Bell's m.o. this season has been a long kick home started midpoint on the backstretch. Today is no different. Once the Oregon Duck shifts gears it is all over. Boulter has no chance. Bell wins by half a second in 1:49.6.

    Steeplechaser Pat Traynor has developed an affinity for international competition. His competition this day is Olympic silver medalist Maurice Herriott. No knee knocking for Pat. He moves courageously on the penultimate lap to open a 50 yard gap and win easily in a PR of 8:38.2.
Maurice Herriott
Pat Traynor

Herriott and Basil Heatley

Herriott , a motor cycle fitter who had to fit in his three training sessions a day while working a 45-hour week was technically superb in his clearance of hurdles and the water jump. Consistency personified, he came very close to his UK record in 1966  and 1967. One record that has remained intact, and may for eternity, is his collection of eight AAA steeplechase titles between 1959 and 1967. He retired following the 1968 Olympics and has for many years lived on the beautiful Isle of Man.

What?  Herriott was assembling motorcycles and in his spare time worked out three times a day to be world class in the steeplechase?  Definitely not the playing fields of Eton.
Van Nelson continues to impress. His 57.2 last go round gives him a six second 10.000 victory over England's Mike Freary in a collegiate record 28:48.2. He is now #2 on the all time US list, trailing only Billy Mills. Tom Laris also PRs with 28:59.8 in third.
  Last month in Los Angeles Hans Joachim Walde handled Bill Toomey easily in the decathlon. Today Lee Evans felt a muscle twinge and is opting out of the 4 x 4. Who wants to volunteer? We can picture an “Oooh, oooh, pick me, pick me” moment as Toomey raises his hand and jumps up and down. His 46.7 lead off leg gives indication that Bill is ready for Hans when they meet in Dusseldorf four days hence. Stay tuned.
Toomey with Kurt Bendlin?

* The opening paragraph of this T&FNews report, written by Brit Mel Watman contains the following sentence. “A superb US squad rolled up 130 points against the hosts' 84, a whopping 55 point margin.” 130 - 84 = 55? Hmmm. Once again our research department is on the job. After a week of intensive study, they've nailed it. It's a British thing. If the following apply, loo = bathroom, bonnet = hood, lift = elevator, lorry = truck, solicitor = lawyer, windscreen = windshield, chips = french fries, telly = TV, then certainly 55 = 46. The director of research earned a generous bonus for his department's work.

We are not going to get into debating the merits of a British 'public' school education vs. an American public school education.  One must remember that Roy was for many years a middle school teacher and stickler for punctuality, precision, and the importance of the three R's.  His uncanny knowledge of track stats is to be admired and provides an insight into his passion for this blog. ed.


    Pat Traynor and Tom Laris ran impressive, but short lived, PRs against Great Britain only five days ago. No one expects another breakthrough in Dusseldorf.

    Not only does Traynor win and drop his PR again, he takes George Young's national record in the doing. Traynor is unpressed in winning the steeplechase in 8:32.8.
Tom Laris

    A lot is asked of Laris. His third place PR earlier in the week, gives no indication of today's 10K performance. As he toes the starting line, he has not won a major race all year. Twenty-eight minutes, thirty-three and four tenths seconds later this has changed. His remarkable 26.4 second improvement is too much for Gerry Lindgren who has to settle for clipping 8 seconds off Van Nelson's five day old collegiate record with a 28.40.2 effort. Laris and Lindgren are now #3 and #7 on this season's world list.

Dartmouth College  Tom Laris ’62 was IC4A and Heptagonal champion in track and cross country. In 1967 he was second in the Boston marathon, ranked ninth in the world in the 10,000 meters with the fourth fastest time. He was an Olympian in the 10,000 meters in the 1968 games. He majored in history and lives in Los Altos Hills, Calif. He is currently an independent licensed security broker and trader.

    Bill Toomey does indeed gain revenge from West German rival Hans Joachim Walde, winning the decathlon with 7939 points.
Ryun Leading Tummler

    Highly regarded Bodo Tummler is no match for Jim Ryun. The Kansas star leaves the pack behind at 800 and coasts to an unpressed 3:38.2 1500 win over Tummler 3:42.3, Harold Norpoth 3:42.5 and Jim Grelle 3:42.8.

    Vince Matthews' 400 win over Lee Evans can no longer be classified as an upset. Both run 45.3, Matthews' third in a row over Evans.

    Yes, there were upsets along the way. Russ Rogers ends teammate Ron Whitney's 11 meet win streak in the 400 hurdles, edging the national champ 50.5 to 50.6. Wade Bell has been unbeatable this season, but today when he shifts gears on the backstretch, instead of overdrive he finds neutral and finishes fourth in 1:48.8 well behind Franz-Josef Kemper's 1:46.2.
Kemper at another meet running 1:44.9
    New world record holder Earl McCullough has step troubles and “abandons the chase at the seventh barrier”. Willie Davenport wins in 13.6.


    The bright lights in the background are those of Viareggio, Italy. Our lads are winding up the European tour with a two day double duel with Italy and Spain.

    There are ups and downs. John Carlos experiences both, winning the 100 in a personal best of 10.2 then finishing last in the 200 in 22.3. The latter is an “oh, shit” moment for big John. He thinks Livio Berruti will be called back for a false start. He isn't. Belatedly Carlos takes off after the field but can only get fourth. Jerry Bright wins in 20.7.

    Conrad Nightengale PRs with a 8:40.0 steeplechase win but Pat Traynor has gone to the well once too often. After consecutive PRs, he drags in last in 9:10.8.

    The top field event mark belongs to Dick Railsback who vaults 17-0¾, only a quarter inch shy of his third place ranking on the world list.

    Randy Matson is firmly ensconced in the “down” category. He throws only 65-5¾ and is topped by three inches by teammate Neil Steinhauer. Determined to end the trip on a positive note, the next day he competes in the discus but his 186-1 falls two feet short of that of Italy's Silvano Simeon. Considering that he started the year at 213-9, Randy isn't likely to be in a jovial mood on the plane trip home.

Joining Pat and Randy in the down in the dumps club are Charlie Craig who can only triple jump 48-4¾ for last and Wade Bell who produces a disappointing 1:50.4 for fourth in the 800.
Ron Whitney (L)

    Two streaks end in the 400 hurdles. Ron Whitney puts the misery of his one meet losing streak behind him, defeating European champ Roberto Frinolli 49.6 to 50.7, thus terminating the Italian's three year winning streak.

    Jim Ryun sticks his toe in the 5000 meter water with mixed results. Tracy Smith beats him 13:41.0 to 13:44.8. The sting of losing his first race of the year is lessened by the fact that he is now #15 on the world list. Only seven Americans have run faster. Not bad for an initial effort.

    Oh, yeah, our boys win both meets, Italy 130-90 and Spain 136-76. How big those margins are in British score keeping we're not sure.
Gary Gubner

    The following gems have been gleaned from the last couple pages of this issue....Gary Gubner, now retired from shot putting to concentrate on weight lifting, has just set the American lifting record of 444 pounds. The detail left out by Dick Drake is the event.…...When he isn't busy being the world record holder in six events, Ron Clarke is a party animal. He works out three times a day and has an exercycle with an odometer and speedometer at home for those days he needs just a touch more. You know the feeling. If you are invited to a party at Ron's home, come well trained. Ron's idea of fun is breaking out the bike to see which guests ride the fastest. A couple more scotch & sodas, Ron, I'll have a go........There is no doubt Ralph Boston is a great long jumper but he isn't exactly on the JV squad in the other jumps where his bests are 13-9, 6-8½ and 52-1½ which, combined with his 27-4¾ LJ, make him the world's best all around jumper. Throw in a 9.6 100 and 13.7 hurdles marks and he could pretty much win a dual meet by himself.....Hum along with John Denver's “Thank God I'm a Country Boy” as you read the following comment by New Zealand discus thrower Les Mills.
Les Mills
“Gary Carlsen has country-boy strength". Country-boy strength is possessed by athletes like Jay Silvester and Randy Matson who are strong without lifting weights. Gary is liable to throw 220 feet next year........Russ Hodge provides an example of the dedication needed to compete at the world class level. On July 8 he underwent surgery to repair a ripped tendon below his right patella. Despite wearing a full length leg cast, he is swimming by early August. He plans to change his take off leg in the long jump and high jump from right to left and expects to compete next year.......Ron Clarke and his new best friend, Jim Ryun, have agreed to meet at a distance between their specialties. They will race at two miles in next year's Kansas Relays.....Speaking of Ron, he is the poster boy for genetic advantage. Older brother Jack gave indication that there might be some athletic talent in the Clarke family when, without training, he won the Victorian junior 880 in 2:00.1 in 1948. Oh, he was 14. Third in that race was 18 year old John Landy.

The next year Jack won the Victorian junior triple jump championship then never competed in track again. This is not to say he hung 'em up. He just found Australian rules football more to his liking. He enjoyed long playing and coaching careers and in 1996 was voted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.........If Bill Toomey invites you to join him for breakfast or dinner, you might want to ask what's on the menu. It seems that Bill's every breakfast and many dinners are smoothies composed of liver tablets mixed up with eggs beaten up with skim milk, brewers yeast, bananas, salad oil and ice cream. Next time in Starbucks, ask for a Toomey.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

V 8 N. 13 Pan Am Trials and Games 1967


    “That cat has had my number.” That's high hurdler Earl McCullough talking about Willie Davenport. Indeed that seems to be the case. Willie holds a 6-0 advantage. The end of that streak comes on Sunday, July 16 in the Pan Am Trials.          
Earl McCullough
    There is a false start charged to McCullough. This doesn't seem to lessen his explosiveness the next time. Earl, as quick as starter as God has put on this earth, is out well, though he comments later, “It was not a good start”. The writer of this story reports that “Davenport was gaining at the end”.
    If those facts are true, McCullough was doing some real good hurdling in between, for Earl the Pearl* wins by four yards and ties the world-record of 13.2 in the doing. Davenport is second at 13.6 and Ron Copeland third in 13.9.
Willie Davenport
Ron Copeland

    Many of you are undoubtedly wondering whether this is a metric or yard record....or is it both? This leads to the question which is longer, 110 meters or 120 yards and by how much? Thoroughness is the watchword at Once Upon a Time in the Vest. The research department on floors eight and nine here at the OUTV Building have been investigating this question for several days now. I have been assured that the answer will appear at the conclusion of this report.
    Other results are less spectacular as many of the top level guys are skipping the Pan Am Games in favor of the European tour. Notable marks are Ron Whitney's 49.6 400IH, Ed Caruthers' 7-2 HJ and John Carlos' 20.4 200.

PAN AMERICAN GAMES Winnipeg, Canada July 29 – August 5

    When roll is called, the missing include Jim Hines, Charlie Greene, Jim Ryun, Art Walker, Tommie Smith, Gerry Lindgren and Ed Burke. Still, our boys sweep 200, 400, 1500, 5000, steeplechase, both hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin, discus and both relays. Of the 35 events in the men's and women's competition, the US takes 30 gold medals. Canada wins three and Cuba two. Spectators tire of hearing the Star Spangled Banner.  
Pan Am Medal

University of Manitoba stadium, home of the track meet
on the Plains

      Extra Credit:  Name the River flowing beside the Pan Am Games track.
      Answer at bottom of page.

Lee Evans
    Between 11,000 and 18,000 Winnipegians deserve medals for showing up each day and enduring weather which varies between heat and wind-blown rain with temps that vary 30 degrees.
Prince Philip, honorary Winnipegian , enduring the weather.
    The 400 is delayed 20 minutes by a flash storm, but wind and sun help dry the track and a pretty good race follows. Lee Evans and Vince Matthews are even coming into the straight where Evans pulls away for a 44.9 PR, two tenths up on Matthews. Canada's Don Domansky takes third in a PR equalling 45.1.
    Van Nelson is doing his St. Cloud State classmates proud. He spots Canada's Dave Ellis 25 yards in the last lap of the 10,000 but runs him down with a 59.8 finish to win in 29:17.4 in 85 degree weather. Four days later in the 5000 he is blessed with temps in the mid 50's. He follows Lou Scott's pace through two miles in 8:55 before moving away for an easy 13:47.4 win. Scott just edges Mexico's Juan Martinez for second, 13:54.0 for both. Scott arrived late for the meet and hasn't been training recently. Instead he has been staying inside, out of harm's way, specifically the riots in his hometown of Detroit. Okay, Lou, we'll let you slide this time.
    Bill Toomey wins the decathlon by 700 points with 8044, his third time over 8000.
Bill Toomey at Winnepeg
    The 400 relay has to present a moral dilemma for Earl McCullough. He is leading off a team composed of Jerry Bright, Ron Copeland and Willie Turner that had bettering the world record of 38.6 as its goal. Alright, go get 'em Earl. But wait a minute, that record was just set by McCullough's USC team of Fred Kuller, OJ Simpson and Lennox Miller. As Earl is settling into the blocks, he is facing the conundrum of erasing his buddies from the list of world record holders. These are the guys with whom he runs the Coliseum steps, has towel snapping exchanges in the locker room, trains with in the off season and jokes with on bus rides. The instant the gun is fired, Earl will be attempting to deprive his pals of their place at the top of the track and field world.
    Familial integrity be damned. Earl's start indicates that he hasn't been silently humming “Fight On” (for old SC) during the starter's commands. His pass to Bright is crisp but the second pass to Copeland is slow. Willie Turner holds off a surprising Cuban team 39.0 to 39.2. An awkward greeting when OJ picks Earl up at LAX has been averted.
Not the first time Jerome and Turner have met
    In the 100 Harry Jerome is out early but is caught at the tape by Willie Turner. The judges examine the Omega Phototimer for 20 minutes before declaring Jerome the winner by .001.

    John Carlos is out early in the 200 and breezes to a 20.5 win, four tenths ahead of Jerry Bright.

    Alert readers (we have no other kind) may be asking where the usual Caribbean sprint talent is. Wendell Motley and George Kerr have retired and Lennox Miller and Edwin Roberts have deemed summer school more important.  Oh really!  ed. 

    Now it is the high hurdles. McCullough false starts once, putting the first match with Willie Davenport since Earl's world record in doubt. The second time Earl is out early and leads by four feet at the fifth hurdle. Willie closes but Earl picks up the win 13.4 to 13.5.

    Ron Whitney is disappointed with his 50.7 in the intermediates. He thought he had broken 50 “but was misled by the springiness of the Tartan track” . Hey, we just report. We don't 'splain. Russ Rogers runs 51.3.

    The middle distances are tactical. Wade Bell holds off Bill Crothers in the 800 1:49.2 to 1:49.9. In the 1500, Canadian Dave Bailey, who ran a 3:57.7 mile just two weeks earlier, leads the field through two laps in 2:05.0. He picks up the pace to 3:04.7 but succumbs to the finish of Tom Von Ruden and Sam Bair who go 1-2 in 3:43.4 and 3:44.1 with Bailey eight tenths back.

    Big Eight rivals Chris McCubbins of Oklahoma State and Conrad Nightengale of Kansas State are the class of the steeplechase field. After a fast early pace, Nightengale succumbs to the heat and McCubbins pulls away to win in a PR and collegiate record of 8:38.2, a clocking that ranks him second in US history. Nightengale is 13 seconds behind.

Of note.   Chris McCubbins would meet the girl of his dreams, a Canadian by birth , and he too would become a Canadian and represent Canada at the next Pan Am meet and in Montreal in 1976. Today there is a cross country trail in Winnipeg bearing his name.  ed.

    Ed Caruthers outjumps Otis Burrell 7-2¼ to 7-1. Bob Seagren survives the hampering wind to vault 16-1. Ralph Boston scores his second 27 foot jump of the year by 2½ inches. Randy Matson and Neil Steinhauer place the expected first and second but their marks are sub-par (for them), 65-3¾ and 63-9¾. Charlie Craig rides an aiding wind to a 54-3¼ triple jump win. The wind also effects the discus but Gary Carlsen once again handles Rink Babka 188-7 to 187-7.

AMERICAS vs. EUROPE Montreal August 9-10
    As proved by the success of the USSR – USA series, if you want a crowd, you need a national rivalry enhanced by nuclear weapons. Americas versus Europe doesn't light the competitive fire in the Quebecois. Only 8000 attend the two days.

    Not to lessen Europe's 109-100 victory, but this is a meet best described as forgettable. Yes, there is some good competition but most of it is between teammates.

    Vince Matthews can finally hang Lee Evan's scalp from his belt. He is out well and leads by seven yards at the 200. Evans closes the margin to two yards as they enter the stretch. This time Matthews runs through the tape and wins by a tenth in 45.0.

    Earl McCullough's recent dominance of Willie Davenport ends at two meets. He doesn't get his usual rocket start and Davenport wins by a tenth in 13.6. Italy's Eddie Ottoz is third with 13.7 as well.

    US steeplechase duo of McCubbins and Nightengale faces a real test in Hungary's Istvan Joni and England's Maurice Harriott, both sub 8:33 guys. Not to worry as far as McCubbins is concerned. He leaves the Europeans 10 seconds in his wake in 8:44.8. Nightengale falls on a water jump and  finishes in 9:01.2 .
Roger Bambuck

    Roger Bambuck of France runs 10.2 to drop Willie Turner in the 100 but is handled easily in the 200 by John Carlos 20.5 to 20.8.

    This meet is one Ralph Boston won't forget for a long time. For the first time since 1961 he finishes worse than second. His 26-0 is bettered by Bob Beamon's 26-4½ and Lynn Davies' 26-3½ . Former world record holder Bob Seagren doesn't fair even that well. He misses three times at the opening height of 16-0¾. France's Herve D'Encausse wins at 17-0¾.
Herve D'Encausse
    Intense investigation by our crack team of researchers reveals the following: Jim Ryun's mom works at the Sears and Roebuck store in Wichita where she is often asked for her autograph........As long as we are on the subject, the world record holder whose name Ryun erased from the record book is doing quite well without track. Herb Elliot is only 29 but he has been busy since retiring. He is married with five children, is an oil company executive and confines his athletic endeavors to golf where he shoots in the low 90s.....At an all comers meet July 19 one entrant in the novice 880 drew good natured cat calls. Derision turned to amazement in two minutes and half a second, the time it took Bob Seagren to complete two laps. When asked if he had run before, Seagren replied, “Yes, I ran four miles this morning.” Is 2:00.5 the record for a pole vaulter? No. Jim Eshelman holds the PV/880 record of 1:59.8. The mentally acute among us are probably wondering whether Bob could have bettered Jim's time if he had skipped the morning run...…..We always try to have a tidbit for our technically inclined readers. This one is in the form of a question. The NCAA requires a two second interval between “set” and the firing of the gun. What is the prescribed interval in AAU and IAAF meets? You don't know? Don't feel bad. No one else does either. All either organization requires is that all athletes must be motionless before the gun is fired. Now you are armed in case this comes up at the dinner table tonight.

    Now to our question of the relative length of the 120 yard and 110 meter hurdles. Which is longer and by how much?.....Yes, you in the blue bathrobe sitting in the recliner with a cup of coffee......That's right, 110 meters is longer by 10¾ inches. Therefore McCullough's metric record also counts for yards.

Answer:  110 meters  = 120.297 yards      or 120 yards 10.7 inches

    Don't want to give anything away, but those tidbits just mentioned about the relative length of the hurdle races and the interval after “set” just might come up Friday in our meeting at the Dew Drop Inn. Six o'clock. Come prepared.

* And now re the McCullouch reference early in our report.
    Q: Has there ever been an Earl who wasn't referenced as Earl the Pearl?
    (Even the fat kid in the fourth grade was Earl the Pearl).

Geography Question:   River flowing through Winnipeg?        The Red River

Monday, February 12, 2018

V8 N. 11 Dave Clark, 1960 Olympian R.I.P.

Earl Young contacted me today to inform me of the passing of Dave Clark, his friend and former Olympic teammate and roommate.  I talked to Dave briefly and published this following paragraph. Our sympathies go out to Dave's family in the Dallas area and to Earl.

No other information is available at this date.   February 12, 2018  George Brose

Dave Clark

Dave Clark was the number three vaulter behind Bragg and Morriss on the US team.  He jumped for North Texas State University.   His personal best was 15' 3".  At Rome he tied for 18th place at 4.20 meters  13' 9".   I talked to Dave this morning about Rome and why he didn't hit his normal height which would have been good for a medal at 15'3".    During the event he had made the opening height when a sudden storm struck the event.   When the storm ceased he took a warm up jump on a runway that was parallel to the actual vaulting runway.  Part way through that jump he bailed out and instead of dropping into the pit, he was projected horizontally through the pit and slid across the grass and hit the concrete curbing of the track injuring his shoulder.  That pretty much ended his day.  He said he made friends with one of the Russian vaulters, Petrinka, but the KGB lads quashed their contacting each other in Rome.  Another interesting story includes the Russian who broke his ankle warming up.   When their poles were being inspected before the competition, Dave noticed that the Russian had put more layers of tape on his pole than were allowed and he called him on it.  The officials made him take the tape off and re-wrap it.  The Russian was infuriated about this and was raising a lot of hell with everybody.  Ufortunately for him his day was over quickly when he broke his ankle landing in the vault box.  Dave came home, got his masters , and was a teacher for 38 years in the Dallas area.  He still participates at clinics, and he has run five marathons.

Friday, February 9, 2018

V 8 N. 9 A Mystery Solved or Why I Love This Blog!!

Two days ago, my good friend and fellow blogger, John Cobley,  see   (RACING PAST)
sent me the picture just below with these words.

George: Did I ever send you this amazing photo?  Who? Where? When?  I know; can you deduce?  John

PS  It’s not the Tour de France!!!!!!!

How much drama can you find in one picture?  This one sure has a truckload.  Bicycles crashing.  A lone runner.
Is that the Arc de Triomphe? Look at the cinematographer standing on top of an old Peugeot!    John gives us his only clue, "It's not the Tour de France".  But he's telling us it is France. It possibly is the Arc de Triomphe in the background, the runner may be on the Champs Elysee.  What is the occasion?  It could be another bike race,  the Paris Roubaix  or the Paris Brest Paris.   Unless you absolutely recognize the runner from the get go, you can only speculate.  

I sent the photo out to a few friends who might have a clue.  Phil Scott, an avid track nut and cyclist looked right away and noted the absence of brakes on he bikes putting it into the 1920s or 30s.  The head lamp on the car to the left could go back to the early 20s.  I looked up the 1925 Bentley roadster, and it had big lights like the one on the left.  But the car holdihng the cinematographer looked much more modern, so I began checking out  pictues of Peugeots from the mid 1920s onward.  Only in the early 1930s did the windscreens start having a curved upper frame.  Before 1930 they were 90 degree corners on the top of the windscreens.  So we're into the 1930s.  Some of the cyclists are clearly in racing uniforms, but others are dressed more in civilian outfits.  But some of the early Tour de France cyclists did dress rather civilian.  But then there is at least one motorcyle in the peleton.  Are they chasing the runner, has he cut in front of them?  It's still not clear to me, and it won't become clear until I know more about the man and can identify the occasion.   It seems that this event is important enough that cinematography is being used to record it.  Therefore this guy is of great importance.  He sure as hell looks like a trained runner.  It is almost remeniscent of a chase scene in a Buster Keaton film.

I'm wondering if this is truly the Arc de Triomphe or some other lesser Arc in Paris or elsewhere in France.  Did Paris Roubaix start in Paris?  Today it starts out in the suburbs as did the 1924 Olympic marathon in Paris.  But checking back on the history of Paris Roubaix, from 1925 - 1937  the race started at Porte de Maillot which had an Arc.  Could this be the case?  I was beginning to run out of ideas.  I checked out some of the French runners of the 1930s but did not find this chap, although I should have.  It just didn't click.  How could an American know about all the French middle distance runners of the early 20th century?  I should have checked further and looked for French world record holders.

Among the folks I sent the picture to were Jerry McFadden and Jose Sant.

 Jerry wrote back:

I do not have a clue on who the runner is, or the date or event, but I would bet even money the monument in the background is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Under my magnifying glass the sculpture looks like the "Le Départ of 1792" and the "Le Triomphe 1810."  The roof of the arc has been cut off. They could not do this now-a-days as through traffic through the circle has been cut off.

But the event is big enough to be followed by cars & photographers & motorcyclists (on the right). with a large crowd of spectators. 

Would love to hear the final conclusion.


Jose  sent this

Salut George , j’ai trouvé le nom du coureur Jules Ladoumègue dit " Julot  «  Année 1935  Il a couru suivi du peuple de Paris de la Porte Maillot à la place de la Concorde pour fêter une victoire en Russie . J'espère que cela répond à ta question.
"Hey, George, I found the name of the runner,  Jules Ladoumegue, called  "Julot".  The year 1935.  He ran followed by the people of Paris from la Porte Maillot to the Place de la Concorde to celebrate a victory in Russia.   I hope that answers your question.

The clip is over 8 minutes long.  Published by INA. France.  You can look at it but your time is limited to about 30 days on the site without paying a subscription.  If you browse on the site you'll find a lot of other rtrack films.
On the link above there are several sections
0:00-2;30  film of Ladoumegue running in the Bois de Boulogne in 1963
2:30-3:49  Ladoumegue in action in the 1920s or 30s.  Races look like they were paced.  
3:49-4:30  film of Ladoumegue running at the age of 56.  Still looking very fit.  Place is his home stadium Jean Bouin.
4:30-5:39  The run in the steets of Paris from the original photo that  started this quest.
5:29-8:30  Ladomegue at his job broadcasting and also working with street kids giving encouragement.

John Cobley has translated from Ladoumegue's biography Dans Ma Foulee

"In 1935, Ladoumègue ran what he called “the most beautiful race of my life.” (DMF, p. 173) The newspaper Paris-Soir arranged for him to make a ceremonial run down the Champs Elysee. “The citizens of Paris were invited to come and demonstrate against the bias of the [athletic] Federation and to show sympathy for my situation,” he wrote. (173) According to Ladoumègue there were 300,000 people lining the famous avenue; later reports all say there were 400,000. Ladoumègue himself found it a frightening experience as people swarmed around him and wanted to touch him."
The bias John refers to is the banning of Ladoumegue from amateur competion for having accepted fnancial support.  He was not even allowed to run on his club track during that banning, and he could not run in the 1932 Olympics where he would have been the favorite in the 1500 meters.
Compare this today with the outpouring by the citizens of Philadelphia for their Super Bowl Champions.  Ladoumegue was only one man.

Jerry then replied.

History: Jules Ladoumegue 
  • Silver Medal in 1500 in 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. 
  • 1930 - World record 1500 in 3:39.15 (1st to break 3:50 in 1500) + WR 1,000M in 2:23.06. 
  • World Record mile in 1931 in 4:09.2 + 2K WR in 5:21.8
  • The film: The French Sports Federation banned him for life for accepting payments for racing & the run was set in 1933 to honor him on a running tour through Paris. He was the only runner with a massive crowd lining & following the run.

Personal Anecdote  (Jerry's)

I actually trained  with Jules a coach in Paris for a few months in 1971. He was coaching at the sports club Stade Francais. He was in his early 50's at the time. His was still pencil thin but did not look like the young guy in the photo or film. I knew about his world records but knew nothing of the film or solo run way back when. He was a hard coach, fixated on fast intervals. He got pissed at me one time when I jumped over two hurdles in the second lane while running 300 repeats with the group - Told me that if I had the energy to hurdle while doing intervals I should be out front in the 1st lane pulling the group along.

Jules died in 1973.

Now that I had a name, I googled 'Jules Ledoumeque'.   This led me to a picture of Jules, and I immediately noticed that the picture was from an artcle on John Cobley's blog  Racing Past

Jules Ladoumegue  clik here to read John's story about Ladoumegue.

So that's how the puzzle was solved.

Back Story

So how did these relationships between Jerry, Jose, John, and myself come to be?

1963  Jerry and I raced against each other several times when he was at U. of Missouri and I was at U. of Oklahoma.  He won both races easily.  He placed second at the Big 8 Conference in the mile in 4:05 that year.

1964  Jerry went on to the Peace Corps and served as a coach in Morocco.   It was there that he met Jose who was one of his students.

1965 Not knowing anything about Jerry's Peace Corps service, I too went in the Peace Corps in Tanzania.
We both met and married women with French backgrounds, his wife from France, my wife from Quebec.

1964-1974  We had both moved to our wives' countries and remained in the sport.    Jose had emigrated to Quebec where I was living and we met each other while coaching Quebec athletes.  When Jose learned I had been in the Peace Corps he immediately asked if I knew Jerry McFadden.  By chance I did know of Jerry, but not his connection to the Peace Corps.   For the next 35 years or so, whenever we met, Jose would always pester me about where  Jerry might be.

2009  when we started this blog, I began learning of the power of the internet to connect people and did a search for Jerry and found a phone number  in Bethlehem, PA.  I called the number, and it was the Jerry I was looking for.  Right away I told him about Jose being in Montreal.  By that time Jose had risen through the ranks of coaching in Canada and was working with several of the top Canadian sprinters including Bruny Surin.
I was able to  connect the coach and his former runner, himself now a coach.

Jerry and I have had a great relationship ever since.  He's visited my family in Ohio.  He's always gone to the bookstalls on the banks of the Seine when he returns to France.  There he has found magazines and photos and supplied this blog.   Back in the 70s Jerry wrote several articles for Runners World in its early days. 

Jerry and some of his young athletes

Jerry leading a mile race in Morocco

Jerry at the line, with Jose behind the flag
encouraging their friend Medhi Jaouhar who would
go to U. of Houston and then to Canada.

Recently this video of Jose and one of his current athletes Annie Leblanc was promoted in Canada by Petro Canada.  Annie is a former U. of Oregon runner, multi-time All American and member of the Canadian Olympic team.  Her mother Chantal Derosiers was also a Canadian Olympian in 1980.

Annie Leblanc and Jose Sant

George, John Cobley, and Geoff Williams in Vicotoria, BC

John Cobley comes into the picture, since I moved back to Canada in 2013.  We both live on Vancouver Island and have met and exchanged stories and books several times over the past five years.  Only two weeks ago we had dinner in Victoria with mutual friend Geoff Williams who has seen many of the great races in London back in the 1950s.  John is from Brighton in England and came to the US on a running scholarship at BYU.  While John was  there, Lasse Viren spent a semester, but quickly returned to Finnland.   John found his way to British Columbia and for many years was chief chronicler for British Columbia Track and Field.  He was also a university English instructor.  The Russian language also another of John's many interests , and he still translates Russian poetry.  Besides his incredible track blog on distance running, John is also doing a blog on jazz and the arts.  That blog can be seen at     coppice-gate.com 

   That's really fascinating as to how the group could figure out more about that picture.  I never heard of Jules Ladoumegue but he was quite a character, one who deserves recognition in your blog.  Hats off to those sleuths who got to the bottom of this picture.  With that group still walking the earth I will try extra hard not to commit a crime.  I loved the film clip about Jules.     Bill Schnier

I find your blog stories quite fascinating. Today’s French mystery was great. Thank you for doing these. I believe I told you how much I enjoyed the 1967 stories. That was a veritable summer of track for me:
Pan American Games
USA vs Europe 

Your friend.

Bob Roncker

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