Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Saturday, April 21, 2018

V8 N. 28 Dick Held, World Renowned Javelin Maker R.I.P.

Here is a fascinating story of brotherly love about a javelin maker and a javelin
thrower.  How many of you have picked up one their javelins just to admire the
design and wonder how the heck you are supposed to compete in this event without
destroying your elbow?  The intelligence and intellect of these two men is close to
the best nature or the creator could produce.  I wish there were more like them in
all sport and the world.   George Brose 

Note:  Please excuse the gaps in this post.  It is neigh impossible to close them where
once there was some advertising.

From the San Diego Times  March 21, 2018
By Ken Stone

 March 21, 2018

Dick and Bud Held

Dick Held, the javelin-maker whose name was synonymous with the track and field event, died Sunday after several years battling Alzheimer’s disease, his family said Tuesday.


Dick Held, in undated photo, designed and built javelins used by world-record holders and Olympic champions
Dick Held, in undated photo, designed and built javelins used by world-record holders and Olympic champions. Photo via Bud HeldHe was 91, and passed at a care center four miles from his only child — 66-year-old son Forrest in Lafayette, Indiana. Funeral plans weren’t immediately known.

Held was the world’s No. 1 javelin expert, said Juris Terauds,his friend of 50 years, declaring: “There’s no one else that comes close.”
In the early 1950s, Dick’s younger brother and lone sibling, Franklin “Bud” Held, engineered his own hollow javelins at Stanford and set world records in 1953 and 1955. He shared some of his wooden javelins with rivals such as Bill Miller and 1952 Olympic champion Cy Young.
But amateur rules at the time barred Bud, a 1952 Olympian, from selling his spears, so he asked Dick: Would you be interested in making javelins?
“And he said, ‘Well, yeah. Why not?'” Bud recalled Tuesday from his home in Del Mar. “At that time he was an electrician. … I honestly did not expect him to be that successful.”
But while Bud never thought Dick was that good mechanically, “it turns out he was. He produced the best javelins in the world for many years,” Bud said.
“Dick was always the best brother I could ever imagine. He always supported me. He admired me and my abilities. He complimented me and told people about me. He’d exaggerate. Just a wonderful brother.”
Held’s javelins spanned the era of wood, steel, aluminum, Fiberglass and carbon-fiber materials. Elite models were named after him, and many were used to set world records and win Olympic tiles — outdistancing rival implements made in Sweden and elsewhere.
“All of [the rival models] are based mainly on Dick’s javelin,” said Terauds, 80, a one-time Canadian record-holder in the event who became a biomechanics professor and consultant to Held — even building a javelin cannon called a Jav-A-Gun for testing.

Memoriam by Bud Held and Ron Johnson for Dick Held
Memoriam by Bud Held and Ron Johnson for Dick Held (PDF)

“They tried to copy Dick’s javelin,” Terauds said from his home in Olivenhain.
Tom Petranoff, whose javelin career began at Palomar College in San Marcos, recalls meeting Held at Cal State Northridge in the early 1980s, when he was training with the likes of the late Bob Roggy, the world’s top-ranked javelin thrower in 1982.
“Dick was the first one to give me javelins,” Petranoff, 59, said from Vista. Driving eight hours from his home in Carson City, Nevada, Held would sit on a hill and study throwers at Northridge — “take notes on our [throwing] angles and all the other types of stuff that he saw.”
The next week, he’d return with another set of javelins.
“He became like a father figure to me,” said Petranoff, whose parents divorced when he was 11 or 12. “Someone who believed in me and told me that I was going to throw far. He gave me that little bit of belief — that was important to me. Dick was an amazing guy.”
Held also made the best javelins in the world, said Petranoff, who now produces a safe youth javelin called the TurboJav (made of Polyethelene; 42,000 sold last year). [The current world record, set in 1996 by Jan Železný, also was a Dick Held javelin.]
Bud Held, 90, wrote a 1,000-word “memoriam” with Ron Johnson — who was 19 when he met Dick at an AMF Pacer factory in 1982 and went on to start his own company.
Bud recalled: “During a period of 25 years after Dick started making javelins, every world record javelin throw was made with a ‘Dick Held’ javelin.”

A two-part history of the hollow wooden javelin by Bud and Dick Held (PDF)
A two-part history of the hollow wooden javelin by Bud and Dick Held (PDF)

Speaking from his home in Winston, Oregon, Johnson (whose website is thejavelinman.com) said Dick Held designed and he [Johnson] built the javelin that Petranoff and Germany’s Uwe Hohn used to set world records in 1983 and 1984 (327 feet 2 inches and 343-9¾).
Partly out of fear that javelins were flying too far — and could impale fans in the stands — the IAAF changed specifications to shorten flight distances. The world governing body moved the 8-foot spears’ center of balance forward 4 centimeters, forcing the sticks to drop sooner (and land point-first into grass, rather than flat).
Held rolled with the changes, perfecting the “new spec” javelin and also introducing the “High Moment” discus, his brother said.
“It took a few years, but the heavy rim weight discus eventually became the discus of choice among world class discus throwers,” Bud wrote. “In the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the 2-kilogram OTE High Moment discus was thrown for the gold medal.”
Dick and Bud Held — who grew up in Los Angeles County and San Diego County’s Lakeside area — wrote a short history of their javelin collaboration.
At one point, during his production years, Dick recalled receiving a letter from an irate father.
“He had ordered a sixty-meter [rated] javelin for his daughter, but when she threw it, it only traveled forty meters,” Held wrote. “He threatened to sue me. I asked what his daughter’s best throw previous to receiving the Held javelin was, and he said, ‘About 38 meters, but this javelin says sixty meters on the shaft and it should fly sixty meters!'”
After working for several companies, and moving from place to place, Held retired in 1999 after a company called OTE was sold to Gill Athletics.
When Held’s wife, Betty, died about 2011, he fell into a serious funk.
“He came and stayed at my place many times,” Terauds told Times of San Diego, “especially after his wife died. He was down and really feeling lousy.”
So Terauds phoned his old partner and said: “Dick, what you really need to do is make a new javelin. So we did. … That was what pulled him out of the doldrums because he was working on something.”
Even so, “Betty was always there. He would always mention [her]. We’d be eating something and he would drift off to [think of] Betty. A huge part of his life.”
When Held was living in a Sun City care facility, losing his memory, Terauds called him every Sunday.
Any time they’d talk javelin, Held’s memory “would perk right up,” he said. “‘Remember, Dick, when we tried putting holes in the tail?’ Then everything starts clicking together [in his mind].”
The last time Petranoff saw Held was a little over a year ago, visiting for three or four hours and having lunch at his dementia center in the Phoenix area.
“He wanted to talk javelin, and him and Juris were involved in a carbon javelin that they were trying to build. Juris did it to keep his mind going,” Petranoff confirmed.
Richard Anthony Held was born June 17, 1926, in Los Angeles to Anthony Rutherford Held and Geneva Jane Held.
“Dick and I spent our early years in Agua Dulce, near Vasquez Rocks (a favorite scene of many old cowboy movies),” Bud said. “Our family moved to Lakeside in 1932 when Dad took over grandpa Dean’s (Mom’s father) lemon ranch.”
Held graduated from Grossmont Union High School in 1944.
“Dad was told by the principal that Dick had the highest entry IQ test of any student who had ever been tested at Grossmont High,” Bud said.
After two years in the military, the Held brothers drove together to Long Beach to take the Stanford entrance exam — two two-hour sessions.
“After 40 minutes of the first session, Dick got up, turned in his paper and left the building,” said Bud, who labored the full two hours. At lunch break, Bud found Dick outside and asked him: “Why did you leave?”
Dick replied: “I finished.”
The same happened at the afternoon testing. Stanford accepted him automatically, and “after that, I never doubted Dick’s academic ability.”
Bud graduated from Stanford cum laude with an engineering degree. Dick left Stanford during his first year largely because Stanford declared him ineligible for baseball as a result of some courses he had taken at San Diego State, Bud said.
Dick later earned a degree at San Diego State.
Dick and Betty were married in May 1948 — and their marriage lasted more than 60 years.
Terauds was asked what he enjoyed about Held.

June 1962 story in The San Diego Union about Held family javelin business in Lakeside.
June 1962 story in The San Diego Union about Held family javelin business in Lakeside. (PDF)

“The main thing is Dick is a really good person,” said Terauds, who went on to invent the stair-stepper machine used in gyms worldwide. “He was a real friend of mine … because he was always honest. I could rely on him 100 percent.”
For Held, “it was never a case of this is good enough. It had to be perfect,” Terauds said in a phone interview. “The last project we were doing was before his memory started slipping away. … The javelin would fly approximately 4 meters further than anything out there right now. I still have those javelins.”
Said Petranoff: “Dick was the real deal. He was a man’s man. Didn’t have a big personality or anything. Kind of a quiet guy. But get a couple beers in him and he’ll loosen up a little bit.”
The world silver medalist — who paid Betty and Dick Held’s way to attend the 1983 IAAF championships in Helsinki — said “we really met at the right time at the right place. … It’s a sad day, but I’m relieved because I know it was not pretty where he was. … He deserves a lot more credit than he’s ever got.”
For Johnson, who angled his way into Held’s javelin department after working in the pole-vault section of the factory, Held “was a great man, really. … He was a fantastic engineer. He was a mentor. He was a man of integrity. He loved his wife. He was a perfect example of what a man should be.”
Forrest Held notified Johnson via email.
“We had a great summer together,” said the son. “He didn’t know who I was, but he knew when I showed up we were headed for his favorite ice cream place. I got to see more of him in the past few months than I did in the last four years.”
In his memoriam, Bud Held said: “Dick was a brilliant, fiercely independent, intensely honest, highly competitive and stubbornly self-confident man. He never took advantage of a friend, a worker or a competitor. He never cheated on his taxes or on his customers.”
Held, said his brother, was not afraid of death.
“After a stroke in his early 80s, Dick said ‘I faced death and I was not afraid. It was actually a pleasant and comfortable experience,’” Bud wrote.
“Dick never made a lot of money. It was not in his life plan. He followed his heart and desires and adjusted to wherever that took him. He had a satisfying life.”
Bud concluded: “I am proud of my brother. He is now gone, but am still here and proud of who he was, what he did and what he stood for.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

V 8 N. 27 Patrick Warburton Track Man? Not So!!!!

Yesterday as editor of the now infamous track blog  Once Upon a Time in the Vest  I got pranked by one of my partners, Roy Mason,  a man who over the years I've come to trust like I trust like the crack dealer at the end of my block.  Roy sent me the information below about the athletic prowess of Patrick Warburton seen below.  I published it without verification and the most important bits of the story turned out to be untrue.  Roy knew this and I suppose was testing me for bigger and better things.  I failed the test.  Below is his tell tale lie and the follow up from friends who read the article. Roy can rest assured that there will be middle of the night visits to his domocile with what cast upon his roof I yet do not know.  George

This note came in from my co-conspirator Roy Mason who is a close friend of Eric Tweit longtime coach at Newport Harbor HS.    Surely you all know Patrick Warburton.  He's the easily recognizable face of National Car Rental Commercials. 

As he is currently on TV in National Car Rental Commercials, I thought it proper to bring you up to speed on Patrick Warburton's connection to our email group.  Patrick is better known as David Puddy, Elaine's boyfriend in Seinfeld.  Though born in New Jersey, he grew up in Orange County where he attended Servite HS in Anaheim before transferring to Newport Harbor High where he ran 1:54.8 for Eric.  You can check this out on Wikipedia.  It is a small world and we are all connected.  You will never view a National Car Rental commercial the same way again.  Roy

Patrick Wharbuton  National Car Rental Commercial

Early this morning my former friend and co-conspirator sent this missive to deconsecrate what is printed above.   My apologies if you have lost money and face by passing on this false information. Lesson learned:

The claim of "fake news" is everywhere but we have finally created news of indisputable fakery.  The email I sent re Patrick Warburton had only a drop of truth in the whole cup.  Patrick W. did attend Newport Harbor and likely did run for Eric.....but it would have been in a PE class.  I was hoping for an "Oh, my God, really" response to which I would have fessed up.  Everyone would have slapped their knee and said, "That Roy, he's such a joker".  Not even Eric replied.  (I'd asked Eric this a couple years ago.  He didn't remember the guy.)  

Instead, as it was a slow news day at OUTV, you ran with it.  As editor, you are now faced with the conundrum of admitting our error or allowing it to ride.  If you take the second course, there is a chance that our slight deviation from the truth will go unnoticed thereby reflecting the size and/or interest of our readership but also creating a cloud of guilt that will hang over your head the rest of your life.

Here are some of the comments that poured in after the cat was let out of the bag.

   Don't worry about that Patrick Warburton misinformation.  Just tweet it out again and half the US will willingly accept it as gospel.  Put your fears aside, the plan has proven to work thousands of times this past year.     Bill

Dear Roy & George:
I ran a 2:02.2 in H.S.! - And, that's a fact!
Can I get in a rental car commerical? 
Maybe they have a new Senior Discount Program?
John Bork

PS: Roy, Are You running for President now?
John neglects to mention that he also won the NCAA 880 in 1:48 for Western Michigan in 1961  with that 2:02.2 as a base in high school.   Ed.

It is not generally known that Miley Cyrus threw the discus 193' 7" in middle school.  Ned Price

Years ago there was a newsletter I subscribed to about college FB recruiting. The guy who did all the leg work was a mailman, but he knew recruiting down pat. So much so that competing services began to copy his picks. So he created a phony left tackle who 6’8”/310 and ran the 40 in 4.7. He was a straight A student and had a 36” vertical jump. They all fell for it and copied his fictional HS kid, and one of them even made this guy HS AA. After that the problem was solved.  Pete Brown

HAHAHA! He fooled me as well! Lol. Too funny.  Jeff Allen

Tch  Tch     Richard Trace

Monday, April 16, 2018

V 8 N. 26 Two Hot Photos from Today's Boston Marathon

Taken at 7.8 miles just before West Natick train station.     39 degrees.   Linden and Kawauchi.

with permission from Ned Price, former UCTC runner and occasional contributor to this blog. Great job, Ned.

Desiree Linden  Black Shoes (Brooks?) and green sleeves  third from right.

Yuki Kawauchi in his 4th marathon this year.  Went out hard from get go, came back, went out again, and destroyed leader with four Km to go.

When she took the lead today, Linden seemed so focused almost in a trance.  Never looked around or smiled until her last three strides.  Afterward interviewed in the cold she seemed very fragile almost uncelebratory. She has taken the big names off the leaderboard.  Hail the new queen of American distance running.  

Kawauchi was just the opposite in post race.  Even said he loved today's weather conditions.  What is not to like about 39 degrees, rain, and gale force headwinds for 26 miles.  He's run 76 marathons under 2hr 20 min., this is his fourth one this year. Yuki was carrying some cajones the others left on the kitchen table.  He's broken many of the rules and yet maxed his effort right on schedule.  

Once again the networks teamed a knowledgeable commentator with a novice and the result was something synchronous to  me commenting on the Ballet Russe alongside Misty Copeland.  

George Brose

Sunday, April 15, 2018

V 8 N. 25 Jon Hendershott, A Friend and Colleague, R.I.P.

Jon Hendershott  1946-2018  R.I.P.
A Friend to Track and Field,
A Friend and Mentor to Me
by George Brose
Harry Marra and Jon Hendershott

April 11, 2018

Yesterday, I was informed of the passing of Jon Hendershott in Salem, Oregon.  Most of you reading this obituary have read Jon's work for the past 50 years in the pages of Track & Field News   You  read his poignant interviews with the greats of the sport, you are aware of  his incredible observation and analysis of all track and field events, his steadfastness, and his wit when the time was right.  I will miss this man whom I never met, but who I was privileged to get to know in a brief and memorable  passing.

When Jon 'retired' in 2015, he still needed an outlet for his craft.  He continued to do work for T&FN and the IAAF as well.  But somehow he also managed to find this blog on the recommendations of a another track writer and historian  Paul O'Shea.  Paul mentioned that we might have a place to put some of Jon's post retirement work where the public might see it.  And so a relationship was born.

Despite our working together via email, I had so much wanted to meet Jon and just hear some of his stories face to face and share a few of mine. If there had only  been time....   I was hoping that meeting would happen in Eugene next month at the Prefontaine Classic.  

Jon shared with me that one  of his first big indoor meets was  in Seattle or  Portland in 1963.   I can't remember if he was hurdling or spectating with his dad.  C.K Yang had broken the PV record when it was going up every weekend.   C.K. competed in the meet Jon attended.   The next weekend I was on my first college indoor road trip  in Lubbock, TX where Yang was vaulting and didn't break the record again but still held it when he went to bed that night.  The next morning I saw C.K. at the coffee shop and also picked up the paper noticing that John Uelses or someone had broken his world record Saturday night somewhere.  So I handed C.K.  the sports page.   He was a little disappointed but didn't throw anything at me for being the bearer of bad tidings.

Jon and I had some wonderful email correspondence.  I was really honored to put the first pieces of his post retirement work on our blog.  He was a stickler with form and format and I learned a lot about writing for the public in the short time last year that we worked together.

His knowledge was much, much greater than mine will ever be.  His recall was phenomenal.  He caught me when I made mistakes and gently reminded me when those transgressions occurred. He once noted a spelling error on a lesser known German name Lutz Philipp (I used to 'l's)  that I had posted.  Though he was a few years younger, he was definitely a mentor to me.

When Jon asked us about the possibility of placing some of his work on our site, we were stunned that he would even consider us.  Of course we accepted.  The following links are to those pieces he sent  us covering his favorite races at all distances and field events plus a piece about Harry Marra, Ashton Eaton's coach.    Here are the links to those articles.  We are also selecting a beautiful story that Paul O'Shea wrote about Jon at the time of his retirement

Harry Marra and Ashton Eaton

Hommage from Paul O'Shea

Here is the list of Jon's most memorable events by gender and event

Womens' Relays

Men's Relays

Women's Throws and Heptathlon

Men's Throws and Decathlon

Women's Jumps

Men's Jumps

Women's Distance and Marathon

Men's Distance and Marathon

Women's Middle Distance

Men's Middle Distance

Women's Sprints and Hurdles

Men's Sprints and Hurdles

George: I was saddened by the news of Jon's passing. This type of news is hard to take, and the knowledge in his brain is left without a response. We who love this sport will miss him. To replace such a individual as Jon probably not possible. Us track enthusiasts may never touch the surface of Jon's passion for the sport.  
Phil Scott

That's really sad news about Jon Hendershott, one of the great T&F writers of all time.  Although ours is a small community of avid but underpaid workers, Jon was at the top of a group of people devoted to the sport and dripping with accuracy.  His articles always got to the heart of the subject, were beautifully written, and told us all things we never would have known had it not been for him.  This is truly a loss for his immediate family and his T&F family as well.
   Bill Schnier

Please note that ownership of these pieces is not ours, but I would assume belong to Jon's estate unless he had made other arrangements.  ed.

V 11 N. 3 "Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil Zatopek" by Pat Butcher, a Book Review by Paul O'Shea

When we come across books to review, we know that there is a particular skill set needed to be fair and honest and at the same time literary...