Friday, March 16, 2018

V 8 N. 21 October, 1967


    The Pre-Olympic meet in Mexico City allowed those who participated to get a feel for competition at altitude. Combine 7349 feet with the end of season blahs and, while there were competitive races, only one significant mark was produced. That was a 27-4¾ long jump by Russia's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan which gave him a share of Ralph Boston's world-record. This wasn't entirely unexpected as he had a 27-6¾ practice jump on a previous day. He opened with a 27-4 before tying the record. Olympic champion Lynn Davies jumped 26-8, within two inches of his personal best. France's Jack Pani improved his career best by half an inch, taking third at 26-4¼ to edge US's Phil Shinnick, who tied his PR at 26-3½.
Igor Ter Ovanesyan
Lynn Davies and Ralph Boston

Jack Pani

Bob Beamon and Ter Ovanesyan

Phil Shinnick
    Does the altitude make a difference? Three PRs and an oh, so close, hmmm. Is a 28 footer possible next year? Okay, that is unlikely, but a high 27s could be in the books.
    Whereas jumpers were enthusiastic about competing at altitude, distance runners were in an experimental mode. The effect of the elevation had to be in the thoughts of every 10,000 entrant. The six non-altitude trained world class runners placing in the top seven were 1:52 to 2:31 slower than their bests. Tunisa's Mohamed Gammoudi held off East Germany's Jurgen Hasse by two tenths in 30:16.0.
Juergen Haase

Roelants in action

Mohammed Gammoudi

That race in Mexico City
Unidentified Mexican runner followed by
Haase and Gammoudi
For third place finisher Gaston Roelants of Belgium, this is the first of a challenging triple. The next day he returned to win the steeplechase in 8:57.8, the fastest ever at an altitude above 5000'.
    Here comes the part that may raise on eyebrow or two. What is supposed to be a 30K road race “reportedly” is a full marathon, yes, 26 miles 385 yards. Roelants wins in a surprising 2:19:37 to better the previous best at over 5000' by nearly 11 minutes. So far we are all buying this, right? Okay, here comes a tidal wave of doubt. Late in the race Gaston “claims” he walked for two kilometers. “Claims”? No one follows the runners throughout the race? He still wins by almost 2 ½ minutes.
Gaston Roelants
    No matter the distance, Gaston is one tough dude. Dick Drake writes, “He smashed out a front tooth when he slammed a bottle of soda water to his lips minutes before the race.” You are standing on the starting line holding a front tooth in your hand. What do you do with it? Being the tough guy that he is, we can only imagine he dropped it in his jock for safe keeping.
    One would think that the end of Randy Matson's season was met with rejoicing by the big guy. This was his 34th competition of the year so we can forgive him for a less than Matsonesque 65-2¼ considering that he won by 8 feet. Likely this meet wasn't high on his weekly to-do list. He flew down the night before the competition and left immediately after throwing, not waiting to pick up his medal. Something about attending classes.
Edmund Piatkowski
    The discus produced an interesting note. Poland's Emund Piatkowski won easily at 193-8, but it was second place finisher Namakoro Niare of Mali who set the record. His 186-4 was “the all time Negro record”.
Namakoro Niare
    How casual was this meet? In order to supply competition for the Polish 4x4 team, Ron Whitney and Bill Toomey teamed up with Canadian Brian McLaren and Italian HH winner Eddy Ottoz to form a feel good international bonding experience. The Poles won in 3:05.5 but Whitney and Toomey had splits of 45.5 and 45.3.
    As the rest of this issue is devoted to “HIGH SCHOOL WHERE ARE THEY GOING”, “JUNIOR COLLEGE WHERE ARE THEY GOING”, “PACING TRENDS IN THE 800”, “ELIGIBILITY CHANGES”, “ALL TIME DECATHLON LISTS”, “ATHLETES PREDICT U.S. TEAM” and “ALL TIME ALTITUDE RECORDS”, leaving us to fill the rest of this with tidbits and gossip.
    Hal Connolly, Perry O'Brien and Mike Larrabee are giving up the comfort of retirement for one last shot at the Olympics......Off the top of your head, who were the 5000 and 10,000 gold medal winners in the last Olympic Games (Tokyo)? That's right, Bob Schul and Billy Mills. Yep, they are back in training also.....Ever wonder how fast Kip Keino can run the 400? Fret no more.
Kip Keino cranking one
In the Zambian Championship last month, Kip won in 49.9 an hour before his 3:38.1 1500. No mention of why. Maybe just something to fill the time......
Five name athletes have competed for Verne Wolfe at North Phoenix HS. According to this issue of the magazine they are”Dallas Long, Tom Laris, Jim Brewer, Miles Lister and Miles Lister”. Okay, Miles Lister was good discus thrower, but one mention is enough. No idea who they left off. Here's an idea, let's check Wikipedia to see if Verne's page mentions them. I can only hope that you are sitting down. There is no Verne Wolfe page on Wikipedia. How can this be?
Vern Wolfe
Are we in a previously unknown alternative universe? Alert readers, the challenge is before you. Justice must be done. Who will wear the armor of knowledge to do battle with the forces of ignorance by writing Verne's page?.....There is a profile on Terry Thompson, Oregon State's half miler who placed second in this year's NCAA race. Terry takes three months off from training every summer to engage in a guilty pleasure, thereby missing prime opportunities to compete in major meets. He will skip training for next year's Olympic Games because of this indulgence. What is it? Drugs? Alcohol? Women? No, salmon. Terry is a commercial fisherman who owns his own boat.
Counselor Thompson

Terry Thompson
He is seldom on dry land during the summer. Terry grew up in Newport, Oregon where he attended Newport High his sophomore year before the family moved to Salem where he finished his last two years at South Salem. He attended the University of Missouri but the call of the sea was too much and he returned to complete his education at Oregon State. He has owned eight fishing boats and has been politically active on many boards, as a state representative and a Lincoln County supervisor.…....Don't know about the neighborhoods in which you have lived, dear reader, but your reporter has never run in areas where the following from the On Your Marks column was a significant problem. “Several British long distance runners who use a commons in southern London for training have complained about being approached by prostitutes. Says miler John Simpson 'I have been stopped several times and many of my friends have had their time trials completely ruined.'” Guess this depends on how you define “ruined”.

I just cannot visualize a working girl in high heels running as fast as a miler.  Ed.

1 comment:

Phil said...

I always wondered why Terry Thompson was up to something fishy in off season. Phil Scott the personable Ohioian

V 9 N. 20 A New Record in the Women's Mile and a Book Review

I hope you were able to watch Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands set a new World Record in the women's mile in Monaco this past Friday.  ...