Friday, June 1, 2018

V8 N. 36 November - December, 1967

Hey we're catching back up to 50 years ago.  Just have to push a little harder to get up to June, 1968.  

This as you all know is a summary of what Track and Field News was putting on their pages.   

    The year has ended not with a bang, but a whimper. More pages in these two issues are devoted to the possible negro boycott of next year's Olympics than reporting of competition.
    Saturday, Nov. 25 is a busy day in the cross country world. The NAIA meet is held in Omaha. The USTFF meet is contested in Fort Collins, Colorado and the AAU meet takes place in ChIcago. Two days later collegiate runners test the 7300 foot elevation of Laramie, Wyoming in the NCAA meet.
    John Mason of Fort Hayes State hauls in Canadian Dave Ellis on a steep half mile incline and holds on to win the NAIA meet by two seconds. Van Nelson is third, five seconds back. Defending champion, Irishman Pat McMahon, finishes fourth 20 seconds behind Nelson. If you remember what school he attended, give yourself a pat on the back. That's right, Oklahoma Baptist. Ellis' Eastern Michigan crew edges Nelson's St. Cloud State squad 85-88.
    Arjan Gelling of North Dakota and Holland overcomes miserable conditions to take the USTFF championship by 70 yards over BYU's Ray Barris. International vet Oscar Moore leads for 4 ½ miles before fading to 6th.

Arjan Gelling Biography   (For the piece we published three years ago on Arjan Gelling.)

 Mike Ryan of the Air Force kicks hard to finish third. Another pretty good runner, Doug Brown, can manage only 14th. How miserable were those conditions? The course, described as “more than six miles” is a trail scrapped from the snow. 108 runners brave the windy 20 degree weather at the 4300 foot altitude. Hot chocolate for everyone.

    The AAU meet in Washington Park is in Kenny Moore's hip pocket from the get go. The former Oregon Duck, now competing for the Oregon TC, knows his capabilities. He stays with Andy Boychuk and Kerry Pearce until the finish is in sight and kicks past for 30 yard victory. “If any big kickers were up with the leaders, I would have run the last two miles very hard. But they weren't, so I waited until the end”. Joe Lynch must be a big kicker because he caught Pearce and Boychuk to take second, seconds behind Moore.
    There are certain axioms that must be accepted; the law of gravity, the rotation of the earth, the danger of running with scissors and ain't no NCAA runner beating Gerry Lindgren. In eight NCAA championships – indoors, outdoors, cross country –, no one has done it and it doesn't happen this day either. He goes to lengths to give them a chance by intentionally arriving two days before the competition. “Altitude affects you the most after two days. I wanted to feel the worst that it could do to me - and I guess I did.” 
     Wearing long johns and gloves to protect against the biting wind and 25 degree weather, he finishes 15 seconds ahead of Arjan Gelling who is doubling back after winning the NAIA race two days ago. Villanova won this meet easily last year. They win this year as well, but just barely. Their fifth man, Ian Hamilton, does the heavy lifting by finishing ten spots ahead of the Air Force's fifth finisher to give the Wildcats a 91-96 victory. Colorado is third with 110.

Enjoy reading your blog while traveling thru Italy! Particularly liked today’s on  XC from 67’, which I’m pretty familiar with since I would hear all the stories in 70’ when I got to USAFA about Ryan, then knowing a lot of the characters from CU and CSU. I have told others about that Lindgren story of arriving two days before the race, but not sure where I had heard it- at least now I can document it!
One small error on the USTF meet- Fort Collins is at 5,000 feet and there’s no where near there that is at 4300- possibly 4800 and its a typo?
Back to Portland tomorrow!

Take care!  Rick Lower

'This from another reader:

Once again, please let me remind you about the difference, often mistaken, between altitude and elevation. The former is the distance above the Earth’s surface, such as an airplane flying 20,000 above the Earth’s surface. That’s altitude.

Elevation is the measure of how high one is on the topography, such as that I live at 5,700 feet above sea level.

Having read this comment I'm reminded that the athletic community frequently juxtaposes the definitions of 'elevation' and 'altitude'.    For years we have been saying that runners have been going to 'high altitude training sites' or 'the Kenyans have certain advantages due to their living and training at high altitude most of their lives'.   Yet they run on the ground at zero altitude.  So it is the elevation which is the determining factor.  Just to confuse the issue some more,  architects use a completely different definition of 'elevation' meaning the view of the surface of a building, but I digress.   

 I'm reminded that I was once flying at an altitude of 100 feet over the south slope of a mountain, but at an elevation of 10,000 feet.    Indeed pilots generally refer to altitude as how high they are above the surface of the earth so that they do not crash into mountain sides.  So do altimeters measure altitude by a radar like device or are they set and adjusted to barometric pressure?   

Google says, "Conventional aircraft altimeters work by measuring the atmospheric pressure at the airplane's flight altitude and comparing it to a preset pressure value. Air pressure decreases by about one-inch mercury for each 1,000-foot altitude increase. ... A higher static pressure causes the wafers to compress.May 11, 2018

I would certainly hope that preset  pressure value is accurate and takes in pressure differentials  due to weather changes.   I guess when in doubt the pilot can always look out the window. 

Another place where altitude and elevation can get one in trouble is parachuting.  I read once that a bunch of skydivers parachuted at the South Pole but forgot to take into account that the South Pole is at a significantly high altitude, such that their standard parachutes were not big enough to slow down their descent in that thinner air and they hit the ground much harder than expected.  

    Nineteen sixty-eight is just around the corner and with it the Mexico City Olympic Games. Sociologist and activist Harry Edwards has suggested that black athletes boycott the games as a means of drawing attention to the plight of the negro in American society. The world's best 200 and 400 meter runners, San Jose State teammates Tommie Smith and Lee Evans, are contemplating a boycott. Will they? Will others join them? Seven pages of the December issue are devoted to this subject. Two pages are filled with essays by T&F News founders Cordner and Bert Nelson and managing editor Dick Drake, counseling against a boycott.

Comments from athletes, retired athletes and others close to the situation:

JERRY PROCTOR: I, as a negro athlete, will go along with whatever the majority of athletes decides. May God be with everyone so that he makes a wise decision.

GAYLE HOPKINS: Who does Harry Edwards think he is? I am over 21. I will make my own decisions.

TOMMIE SMITH: Right now, I'm standing where I stand. If you can come up with some good answers why I shouldn't boycott, I'll listen.

JOHN CARLOS: The motives behind the boycott are alright. Today's Negro is using his own mind and realizes he is being mistreated. If enough athletes boycott, it can be effective.

CHARLIE GREENE: It comes down to a matter of if you are an American or if you are not. I am an American, and I'm going to run.

LEE EVANS: Due to some misunderstanding in previous quotes, I would like to express my gratitude for the help I have received from my coaches, Bud Winter and Ted Banks, both on and off the track. There has been a tremendous amount of pressure on me lately, and they have lessened the burden with the understanding they have demonstrated.

LARRY LIVERS: My own feelings are myriad. But I am convinced of one thing. That the proposed boycott is off base.

JACKIE ROBINSON: I say use whatever means. I feel we have to use whatever means to get our rights here in this country. And I don't go for violence. But when, for 300 years, Negroes have been denied equal opportunity, some attention must be focused on it.

JESSE OWENS: I deplore the use of the Olympic Games by certain people for political aggrandizement. There is no place in the athletic world for politics. It is my own personal experience that the Olympic Games is one of the greatest areas in which personal achievement is rewarded culturally and, eventually, financially and economically.

REV. ANDREW YOUNG, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by Dr. Martin Luther King: Dr. King applauds this new sensitivity among Negro athletes and public figures and he feels this must be encouraged, not discouraged. Dr. King told me that this represents a new spirit of concern on the part of successful Negroes for those who remain impoverished. Negro athletes may be treated with adulation during their Olympic careers, but many will experience the same slights experienced by other Negroes. Dr. King knows that this is a desperate situation for the Negro athlete, the possibility of giving up a chance for a gold medal, but he feels that the cause of the Negro may demand it.

AVERY BRUNDAGE, International Olympic Committee president: These misguided young men were being badly misadvised. If these boys are serious, they are making a very bad mistake. If they are not serious and they are using the Olympic Games for publicity purposes, we don't like it. They would be depriving themselves of an opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime.

Less moderate was mail received by Tommie Smith and Lee Evans.
Smith got this one.  "Thanks for pulling out of the Olympic Games. Now I can be interested in our Olympic team. I quit being interested in watching a bunch of animals like Negroes go through their paces. Please see what you can do about withdrawing Negroes from the professional field such as boxing, baseball and football."   (San Francisco)

"You are right. Off the field, you are just niggers. Does UBSA mean United Sons of Bitches Assembly? Black boys, you need the games."  (San Jose)

"How much are the communists paying you to make damn fools out of your fellow Americans?" (Fullerton, CA)

"Don't be a fool and try to pull rank or pressure. Because if you do, you're through because we wouldn't want to see a flock of letters to the Olympic committee asking that you NOT be permitted to represent the US in any event" (Glendale, CA)

"Why the hell don't you and all the jiggabo so called athletes boycott all things American and try the Congo. Now, there is a leading country - - cook pots and dung piles everywhere, but that is the black culture. If you can't stand that, try Biafra, Nigeria. I think you colored folks would be better off in your own tribes with your unpronounceable names."

And then one voice of reason with a well thought out suggestion.

"Dear Lee,........My suggestion: The black athlete should try out for the Olympic team. Those that make it should go to Mexico City and compete in their events. Those that win medals should, if they wish to protest, refuse to mount the victory stand. The American flag would be raised. The band would play the national anthem but there would be an empty place on the stand where Lee Evans or Tommie Smith should be. That way the world can see America's shame in a very dramatic way.........It would shake us up a lot more to look at that empty space on the victory stand and hear a black athlete say over world wide TV, “ I refused to get up there, not because I don't love my country. I do. But I love it, not for what it is, but for what it can be.”

Many of our readers are “old timers” who have criticized today's manners and morals (think grandchildren obsessed with cell phone games) with the assessment, “It's not like the old days”. After reviewing this entry, I think we can say, “Thank God it isn't”.  Roy

The Journey of the African American Athlete     this  6 minute clip from youtube records some of those events we have just covered as well as the resulting actions taken at Mexico City.

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