Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

V 9 N. 10 Ron Morris Remembers Phil Scott

On Thanksgiving weekend we lost a very good friend of track and field, Phil Scott, who we memorialized on our pages shortly after.

See  Phil Scott R.I.P.

This week Debbie Scott, Phil's wife sent out a note and photos that were very inspirational and tell more about what kind of guy Phil was to everyone, but also what kind of guy Ron Morris is.

   As many of you know,  Ron Morris, who was the silver medallist in the polevault at Rome in 1960, owns a track and field supply house in California called On Track.  Well, Debbie recently received the new catalogue from Ron with a note telling her how much Phil meant to him.  Phil was so important that Ron wrote his own memorial to Phil and featured it in his new catalogue.   This may be a first in marketing history, but it also shows what a tight knit community  track and field people are with each other.  Ron describes some of Phil's traits as well as anyone has done in the last three months.   Here is what came to us from Debbie Scott.

"Good morning all... I thought you might enjoy seeing something I received. Not everyone gets a tribute written up about them in a yearly catalog. I received several copies of these in the mail the other day. As if  having the president of the company dedicate his letter to Phil wasn't enough, they also have a page honoring him, and his picture in the background on another.  It gave me very mixed emotions... incredibly proud on one hand, but so sad on the other! Just shows what a truly loved guy Phil Scott was!  Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested."

"Hope you all are doing well!"

Debbie Scott

Well done, Ron Morris. ( ed.) 

Monday, February 18, 2019

V 9 N. 9 Don Bragg, R.I.P.

from the Philadelphia Enquirer
Don Bragg passed away on February 17, 2019 at the age of 83.  Born and raised in Carney Point Township in New Jersey, just across the river from Wilmington, Delaware,  Don Bragg was a world class vaulter from a very young age, 18 when he ranked sixth in the world.  He attended Villanova University and was the second Olympic Gold Medallist to represent the Wildcats after Ron Delaney of Ireland won the 1500 meters in 1956.  Bragg took home the gold in Rome in 1960.  His post victory Tarzan yells earned him the nickname 'Tarzan' and in interviews in those days he often talked about one of his career goals being to play the role of Tarzan in the movies.   A film was actually made but never released.   This would have made him the third Olympic champion to play that role after Glenn Morris the 1936 Decathlon Champion and Johnny Weismuller the 1924 and 28 gold medallist in three  swimming events and a bronze in waterpolo.   It would be an incredible event if someone with movie connections could find and release that film, even to a limited showing.  

Don Bragg also had the highest vault ever on a metal pole 
15' 9 1/4 ".    
Don Bragg   AP Photo

Don Bragg was involved in a multitude of events and had a public friendship with Cassius Clay later Muhammed Ali that developed in Rome during the Olympics where they both were champions.  He was AD at Stockton State College in New Jersey.  He ran a children's camp in New Jersey for years before moving on to California where he spent his last years.

Video  Rome 1960      Don Bragg 4.70 (15' 5") , Ron Morris 4.60 (15' 1  1/8")and  Eeles Landstram (FIN) 4.55
Rome Polevault  B&W

Rome Official Film in Color see PV at 1hr 31 min.

Note.   Finishing 4th in the PV that year was the Puerto Rican left hander, Rolando Cruz, also of the Villanova Wildcats, making it a rare 1, 4 finish for a US college.  Ron Morris had competed for USC in his college days.   The third place finisher Eeles Landstram had competed for the U. of Michigan. 

To describe that Rome competition we have to go back in our vaults and dig out Roy Mason's account of that day as derived from the pages of Track and Field News.

"An apology is necessary here. The trials were held Monday, the fifth day of the games, and your overworked reporter missed them. Chief among the causalities were Melbourne silver medalist George Roubanis of Greece and UCLA and the US’s Dave Clark who injured himself warming up and could do only 13-9. 
Dave Clark
Now this is not to say it was a day without drama. Twelve were to qualify for Wednesday’s final. Ron Morris, who had finished a close second to Don Bragg in the US trials, was in trouble. With the bar at 4.40 meters (14-1 1/4), Morris misses three times and is apparently out. Fortunately for him, many others have the same problem. Only ten clear this height, so two more make it on fewer misses. Morris is one. Roubanis, with the same height, is not."

"Now let’s fast forward to today. After nearly all the vaulters pass the opening heights (the first was 12-5), the competition begins in earnest at 14-1 1/4. At 14-5 1/4 world record holder Don Bragg misses his first attempt. He appears nervous. Apparently the vaulters weren’t on the clock, as Hal Bateman writes that Bragg was at the top of the runway for over five minutes before making a successful second attempt, thus producing a chorus of whistles (the equivalent of booing in the US) from the heavily European crowd. He wouldn’t miss again for awhile."
Ron Morris

"With the bar at 14-11, the field had been pared to seven and Puerto Rico’s Rolando Cruz is the leader by virtue of an unsullied performance. This height eliminates three more vaulters and now only Bragg, Morris, Cruz and Finland’s Eeles Landstrom remain. The next height, 15-1 1/8 (4.60), drops Cruz and Landstrom with the Finn getting the bronze medal on misses."

"Reminiscent of the US trials, all we have left are Morris and Bragg with Bragg leading on misses. The US vaulters agree to raise the bar to 4.70 (15-5) instead of the planned 4.65. Bragg is up first. He puts the pressure on Morris by clearing on his first attempt. Now the USC grad will have to not only clear this height, but the next to win. After two bad misses, he comes close, but a miss is a miss and the gold medal goes to Tarzan as he watches."

"With the competition decided, Bragg has the bar raised to 4.82 (15-9 3/4) in an effort to break his own world record. He has two close misses and, with darkness and cold settling in, he crushes the bar on his third attempt. The competition is over after six hours and 46 minutes. The Americans have 
gone 1-2."

Below is the IAAF press release commemorating Don Bragg

The IAAF is deeply saddened to hear that 1960 Olympic pole vault champion Don Bragg died on Saturday (16) at the age of 83.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Bragg was still a teenager when he established himself among the world’s elite. He vaulted 4.42m indoors in 1954 at the age of 18, ending the year as the sixth-best vaulter in the world.
One of the last leading pole vaulters to use a metal pole, Bragg would often perform better indoors than outdoors. He set a world indoor record of 4.81m in 1959, adding two centimetres to the long-standing record that had been set 16 years earlier by pole vault legend Cornelius Warmerdam.
That mark remained the best of Bragg’s career, but he went on to set an outdoor world record of 4.80m to win the 1960 US Trials, making him the favourite for the Olympic Games in Rome later that year.
He lived up to expectations in the Italian capital and at the end of a competition that lasted seven hours, Bragg won gold with an Olympic record of 4.70m.
Standing 1.90m (6ft 3in) tall, Bragg earned the nickname ‘Tarzan’ and he would often celebrate his victories with a Tarzan yell from the podium.
Long before the discipline became a standard event for women, Bragg’s younger sister Diane learned how to vault and in 1952 cleared 2.59m, which stood as an unofficial world best for 17 years.
He is survived by his wife Theresa and four children.

George,  Out of loyalty to our mutual friend J.D. Martin I have to take issue with the claim that Don Bragg had the highest vault ever on a metal pole.    The legend, as told in Norman, Oklahoma, was that J.D. broke Don Bragg’s world record of 15’9 1/4” using a metal pole at a dual meet in Norman.  The way I heard the story was that it was a really windy day (you  may recall a few of those in Norman).  They raised the bar to 15’ 9 3/4’’  but the wind kept blowing the bar off the standards.  Finally, to solve the wind problem, they turned  one (not both) of the standards around backwards, so the wind could not blow it off.  J.D. cleared the bar cleanly,  breaking Don Bragg's world record in what was and still is the highest vault ever for a metal pole.  But they refused to recognize it as a world record because one of the standards had been turned around.

I am copying J.D with this email.  If you want to check this out you can contact him directly.  He is still very much alive (or was when I saw him in Edmond last October) and can confirm this story. 

By the way, no disrespect to Don Bragg. As I am sure J.D. would confirm, just surviving the fall from a 15-foot vault in the pits they had in those days was no mean accomplishment.

J.D.   can you confirm this story below from Walt Mizell?  I had forgotten about it.   Were you the biggest (height/ weight) to ever clear 15' on metal?
Also those films of Ron Morris at Rome, was he using a fiberglass pole.  There was some flex in it in the video, but not a lot.  George

J.D.'s reply:

"George this is true.  Also In 1961 Don and I competed in my first decathlon  and maybe his.  We both broke the world record in the decathlon vault jumping 15' 1  1/2.    Re Ron Morris.  he used the same aluminum alloy pole we used but I think he changed to a fiberglass later in his career ."

Friday, February 15, 2019

V 9 N. 9 The Peerless Four by Victoria Patterson, a book review

The Peerless Four
a novel
by Victoria Patterson
Berkeley, CA
212 pages
Ethel Catherwood, Olympic HJ Champion 1928
aka 'Saskatchewan Lily'

The Peerless Four  is a fictional account/novel about the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics when women were first allowed to compete in track and field on a very limited basis.  As we know from earlier reportings in this blog, the opening of events to women was done with great reluctance and trepidation by the men who ruled the Games.  Because of these male sentiments, women had already organized a world games for themselves without the approbation of the old boys' clubs that ran the world.   Pierre de Coubertin who is given credit for founding the modern Games was very hesitant, and thought women should only be present to hand out awards.  The ancient Greeks banned women entirely, even from spectating, on threat of death.  So it was a major concession to tradition when women were allowed to compete in the 100 meters, 800 meters, high jump, discus, and 4x100 meters.  Why the 200 and 400 meters were left out is a mystery, and God forbid anything over 800 meters should even be considered.  
Florence "Jane" Bell, Myrtle Cook, Ethel Smith, and Bobby Rosenfeld
The victorius 4x100 team
Jean Thompson
Winning her heat in the 800

The novel follows the pre-games life of four Canadian women loosely disguised by fictional names, who justly earned their way to the Games and were sent to Amsterdam under close supervision to represent their country.  The real women of the fictionally depicted in the novel were Ethel Catherwood, World Record holder in the high jump and a beauty known affectionately as  "Saskatchewan Lily" , Bobby Rosenfeld, an immigrant from Odessa in the Ukraine, and later a journalist for the Toronto Globe and Mail,  Myrtle Cook, who also would later write a sports column for the Montreal Star.  The fourth woman depicted in the book is   Jean "Jenny" Thompson who finished fourth in the 800 meters.    Victoria Patterson gives life to  these young athletes with all their confidence, fears, and flaws as well as life to the people around them, the coaches, chaperone, and a promoter who is there to make a few bucks after the Games only to  fall in love with the chaperone.    Percy Williams, the Canadian man who won the 100 and 200 at Amsterdam also is fictionally portrayed, including commentary on his later suicide.  The Canadian official who votes against giving women the right to continue running the 800 after 1928 is treated as the chaperone's husband, a doctor, who stays at home and doesn't witness what he votes to discontinue.  The drug of choice is alcohol from the hip flask that is carried by the men and the chaperone and with  liberal imbibing at all times of day.  It's 1928, remember and women are just getting out from under some of the  old societal rules.  They are allowed to vote, corsets are out of style, they can  smoke, and drink.  The public can see their ankles in modern fashion apparel.  Why shouldn't they be allowed to step on a track in shorts and sleeveless tops and compete like men?  Okay but with that exception of nothing longer than the 800 and after these Games,   for the next 35 years nothing longer than 200.  Gotta save those ovaries and uteri for breeding.  My acquaintance, Diane Palmason, a long time world class masters distance runner has the best comment on that thinking.   "If women can't run long distance on the excuse of  protecting reproductive abilities, why should men be allowed to run the hurdles?"

This weekend on CBS Sunday Morning, I was made aware that this form of 'historical novel' is a burgeoning market with the appearance of a book speculating that George Washington had holed up in Harlem during the seize of NYC at the house his former first love, Sally Fairfax,   and that she might have been present during that crucial period in US history.  His wife Martha was home tending Mt. Vernon at the time.  However scholars of Washington's history made clear that this is highly speculative and cannot to date be proven by and documents proving that the first girlfriend was actually hanging out with George.  

  Women's rights or lack thereof  along with sexism are the main themes of the book.  I overwhelmingly support the author in those endeavors.  At the end of the book there is an index of women's achievements in the early days of sport as well which is greatly appreciated.  However  the book fails in an attempt to be spot on with details of the sport.  The writer seems to have a superficial knowledge of track and field that could have been acquired in the scanning of a coaching primer.  Perhaps being historically accurate was not a goal of this work.  But any track and field fan, who is seduced by the cover of this book showing "Saskatchewan Lily" clearing the high jump bar, will be somewhat deceived by the less than stellar descriptions of the sport.  By comparison, Tim Johnston wrote a nonfiction book titled  "Otto Peltzer, His Own Man", and  he made it as exciting as a novel, with great descriptions of actual races, training, and societal leanings.  Peltzer, a world class runner and homosexual was as controversial as any athlete in the 1932 and 1936 Games and for thirty years thereafter.    For its lack of historical accuracy, I cannot recommend The Peerless Four to a reader who is a fan or serious and knowledgeable participant in the sport.   In reality there were 6 women on that first Canadian team known affectionately as "The Matchless Six".  The title cops a plea and calls itself The Peerless Four.  No way.   No thank you. 

 The author and publisher get away with the standard disclaimer about works of fiction , "Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used ficticiously.  Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental."  Okay you're cleared, but it is a disappointment to this reader.   The cover has a nice picture of Ethel Catherwood clearing the bar in Amsterdam, but the newspaper clipping under it a fiction, and I should have picked up on that. 

Among the journalists who lambasted the 'collapsing women'  after the 800 meters  in which the first four broke the world record was William L. Shirer who would later write the popular Rise and Fall of the Third Reich  and John R. Tunis who  wrote a bevy  of boys books (fictional).  I guess their  'journalistic work' was somewhat fictional as well.  In Amsterdam, Paavo Nurmi was flat on his back after one of his races, but that was okay.  He was a man.  Probably some old boy collusion between the organizers and the journalists.

Here are  links to brief but real bios of  each of the six Canadian  women on that team from Sports Reference.

Ethel Catherwood HJ   1st HJ  WR

Jenny Thompson          4th 800

Bobby Rosenfeld          2nd 100   5th 800   1st 4x100

Myrtle Cook                 5th 100     1st  4x 100

Florence "Jane" Bell     9th 100   1st  4x 100

Ethel Smith                   3rd 100   1st  4x 100

George Brose

Note:  I've just become aware that a nonfiction book on the same subject is available:
"The Matchless Six" by Ron Hotchkiss is also available.

Monday, February 11, 2019

V9 N. 8 Jim Beatty's and the World's First Indoor Sub 4

I couch potatoed  this weekend while watching the  Wannamaker Mile from the Armory in New York and was reminded of a day many years ago  (February 10, 1962)  when Jim Beatty and his Los Angeles Track Club  teammates Laszlo Tabori, Jim Grelle, and Dave Martin along with USMC Lt. Peter Close made an attempt to run the first sub  4 minute mile indoors.   This weekend  Yomif Kejelcha running on a synthetic 200 meter track almost broke the current world record missing by only 0.01 of a second in 3:48.46.  When Beatty took down the record in 1962, he ran 3:58.9 or a little over 10 seconds slower than Kejelcha.  That would have put him a half lap behind on the old 11 lap track.   So with all the improvements in track surfaces, increased  lengths, training methods, shoe technology, and money Beatty wasn't really that far out of reach, at least in this old timer's way of thinking.  Kejelcha is a long legged, sweet striding runner who might have had  a lot of trouble motoring on that 11 lap wood track that was state of the art in 1962.  Anyone who ran on those tracks remembers that they were not smooth to run on, often having dead spots that gave no elastic return to the stride when a runner hit the dead wood.  Only a few colleges had 220 yard indoor tracks in those days, and the big names were not often getting a chance to run on those tracks.  Big meets were in older arenas that were built to handle basketball and ice hockey. Furthermore the radius of the turns on the short tracks was much tighter making it harder to maintain pace.    Other differences in the past were that some of the top runners  ran in two meets the same weekend often on both coasts taking a red eye flight across the country after a race in Madison Square Garden on Friday night and hitting the west coast on Saturday.   Oh yes, and in those days people could and did smoke at indoor arenas, so Beatty, who was a smoker himself, might have had a bit of an advantage over the other guys in the race breathing in all that secondary ash and nicotine.  However today's runners, I think might find that atmosphere a bit toxic.  One was truly left with throat burn in those venues.  You would occasionally catch some of the other runners besides Beatty having a smoke themselves under the stands.
Jim Beatty and Ron Delaney  New York Athletic Club Meet 1962

Dave Martin and Peter Close at Start (SI)
Jim Grelle, Jim Beatty, Laszlo Tabori  SI

The Start in L.A.

Wide World of Sports edition of Beatty's mile record  (Jim Makay and Dick Bank commentating)

Short version but clearer cinematography of Beatty race Pathe News

Sports Illustrated account of race by Tex Maule

Earlier  on that evening in Los Angeles, Peter Snell made his first appearance in the US.   He had  recently set the world outdoor mile record in New Zealand on a 353 meter or 4.55  laps/mile grass track in 3:54.4 at a place called Cook's Gardens in Wanganui, NZ.  Giving 440 splits must have been a challenge. 
Snell on grass 880WR in Christ Church
A week later still in New Zealand, he broke the WR's at 800 and 880.   Never having run indoors he got on that wooden track that he thought looked like a tea saucer and promptly broke Ernie Cunliffe's world 1000 yard record in 2:06, passing the 880 in WR time at 1:50.2, although there weren't enough watches on him to make the 880 official.  Incidently Ernie Cunliffe ran in that WR mile race against Snell.  And John Bork, another of our readers was down there and ran against Snell in the 880 at Christ Church.  He also let me know that he and Ernie did some salmon fishing down under, but I forget who won that contest.

Ernie just sent in the fishing results:   "Salmon fishing:  I won with a  35  1/2 inch    17  1/2 lb fish. Bork had won the trout fishing with a bigger and heavier fish but nothing close to the two salmons we caught."

Here is a note I received from John Bork several years ago after mentioning this trip to New Zealand.

"Dear George and Roy.:

I love this story, ....because , like you, George, I got to know Ernie Cunlife on a trip too.

Yours in Ohio and mine in New Zealand, where we roomed together throughout our 2 1/2 week tour.
We even got to go out salmon and trout fishing there and caught a couple of nice fish. Ernie's best race
was probably in the Wanganui world record mile which he and Bruce Tulloch helped set up for Peter.

Mine was a 1:48.5 at Hamilton, in coming second to Snell to his 1:47.6, or so.
My best only only winning effort during the N.Z. trip was also at Wanganui, where I was able to best
the former, NZ record holder,  Gary Philpott and Jim Dupree. in a time of 1:49.2.
I considered these to be good times since my last workout in Oxford Ohio before getting on the plane to
NZ consisted of 24 x 220 in the snow behind Withrow Court where I beat down a path to run the intervals in.

If it hadn't been for Once upon a Time in the vest., I might not have met up with Ernie again.
So,, thank you."

John Bork    CA

Peter Snell's 880/800 record in Chrst Church

I am not able to find film on  Snell's indoor 1000 or outdoor mile records.  The mile was at night, and the 1000 seems to have ended on the cutting room floor after Beatty's race.    For an account of the Cook's Gardens race see our earlier posting at:  

Peter Snell's Mile Record by Once Upon a Time in the Vest

 Los Angeles  was our first close look at Snell here in the US, and we found him incredible.  He was a big guy and muscular.  We were learning of his new training methodology inspired by Arthur Lydiard.  It (the mileage) was stretching our imaginations.  Mihaly Igloi's training was still a mystery to all except the members of his elite group of runners.  We only knew you ran well with him or came away limping.  It took someone very special to survive the Igloi method.

By the way, the Wanamaker Mile is named after a famous chain of department stores on the East Coast.  It is no longer in business and probably never had online shopping.

(Thanks to Walt Murphy and his great site This Day in Track and Field for background and inspiration.  ed.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

V 9 N. 7 David Rimmer , Ohio State PV Champ Rediscovered

This story came to us from Bob Roncker, Cincinnati, OH.  While cleaning out his home before moving, Bob found some photographs from the 1966 Ohio State HS track meet including several of David Rimmer of Mount Healthy, OH making the first 15' polevault by a Ohio high school athlete.  Bob sent out a question to his track and field contacts asking if anyone knew where David Rimmer was today.  He wanted to present the pictures to David and get some background on his history.  Here is the result of that search.

To Pole Vaulting and Track and Field Aficionados,

Here is a synopsis of my search for and locating David Rimmer, 1960s Mount Healthy High School pole vaulter. At the 1966 Ohio State Championship Track and Field Meet, he became the first Ohio high school athlete to clear 15’0.”  Bill Schnier (former U. of Cincinnati head track and cross country coach) recently said, “Although others have surpassed his 15'1", his 1966 mark was vastly better than anyone else and in my opinion he was the star of that meet."

I attended that meet and took slide photos of his 14’10”, 15’0”, and 15’1” clearances.  My wife and I are in the process of moving out of our house of nearly 45 years. While consolidating and eliminating items, I rediscovered these long forgotten slides of David Rimmer. I thought that he, If he was still alive, or members of his family, would appreciate them, since I believe they are historical track and field pieces.  Through the positive marvels of social media he was quickly located.  David lives in Pensacola and is a recently retired judge.  

I am including some information about the process that occurred during this search and what I and others discovered about David.  David would be happy to link up with and communicate with any of you who receive this email.
Preparing to vault at the 1966 Ohio State Track and Field Championships Meet

Clearing 14' 10"
First 15 foot vault in Ohio HS history

Making 15' 1"

Initially I contacted a large list of folks who were on an email sent by Steve Price.  No one knew of his whereabouts.  Then, Bill Schnier relayed to me David’s contact information. It was provided by Leath Sarvo, formerly Leath Scheidt, a friend of Bill and classmate of David. 

Here are an assortment of things that David has shared with me:

There was a black vaulter from LaSalle High School named Nate Ragan, who I got to know at the meets we jumped in. I have always wondered what became of him. 

You are not the first to tell me that pole vaulters are crazy. I truly believe we are. For many years I ran in local 10k and 5k races, since I had no time or place to vault. I am convinced that I could never train as hard as the good runners do. I once read a quote from a famous Olympic distance runner who was asked the secret to his success. He said, "You've got to love suffering...you've got to embrace pain." No thanks. I'll stick to the sky. My best friend in high school was Wayne Brooks. He ran the mile and the 880. I got tired just watching him workout on the track. We stay in touch through email. He lives in Oxford, Ohio. 

After high school, I attended Indiana University for one year then left and came to Pensacola in 1967. I got married in 1968 and have two sons and now have three grandchildren. I became a law enforcement officer and eventually returned to college and received my B.A. in Criminal Justice. During this time, I began pole vaulting again with the local junior college track team and managed to clear 16”. 

I left law enforcement after graduating from college and went to law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and received my J.D. in 1982. I was an Assistant State Attorney for 27 years. In 2009 I became a circuit judge. I retired last month. We live on a small farm where I built a pole vault pit for my grandchildren and other kids in the area. A photo is attached. I may be crazy, but I have started vaulting again at age 71! 

Thank you very much! I never knew about these photos. Again, thank you for taking the trouble to locate me and for sending these pictures. I can't wait to share them with my son and grandson.

My son was a pole vaulter in high school and cleared 15'2". That was 31 years ago and is still the local record for this area. His son is also a high school pole vaulter, at the same school, and has jumped 14'4". We are hoping he breaks his dad's record this year just as my son broke mine. 

I will never forget that 15'1' jump. I was very tired and remember very clearly thinking to myself as I ran down the runway, "I'll never make it...I'm too tired." But somehow, it happened. 

I just received an email from someone named Bobby Heim. Included was a photo from my high school yearbook and a poem that I wrote called The Big Hop. The poem and prelude appeared in Vaulter magazine.

50 years ago a schoolboy in Ohio had a big idea……be the State Champ and Record Holder in the pole vault.
With sawdust pits, heavy poles and big desire, he worked hard to reach success.
With two years left in high school he trained for one thing …… to be the best.
The year was, 1964, and he penned a short poem titled, “The Big Hop.”
Two years later, at the State Meet ……… he made his “Big Hop.”

The Big Hop
Someday I’m going to make the Big Hop.
I’ll go over the bar and then I’ll drop.
I’ll work my way until that day, and then I’ll win it all.
I’ll do my best and never rest until I make that fall.
I’ll jump so high and far no one will ever top.
I’ll strain to touch a star when I make the Big Hop.
In May 1966, David Rimmer, became the Ohio State Champion and Meet Record Holder with a “Big Hop” of 15’1“.
What is your “Big Hop?” What do you want to achieve? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to leap over excellence? Pole Vaulting is a life lesson in courage, and determination. You forge success with persistence, heart, hustle, guts and grit. Take your Vault experience and apply it to life’s challenges. Accelerate through take-off and act as if it were impossible to fail.
Special message delivered by fellow vaulter:  Wayne Rimmer

We spoke to David this morning and got the go ahead to put this story on our blog.
David mentioned that he has gotten over 10 feet these days and is aware that he's not that far off the world record for his age group 11'5".   He'll be hitting the Masters scene this year.
If you wish to contact David, please go through our blog  notice at the top of this article. (ed.) 

This is a follow up by David:Rimmer:

"I need to correct something that is in error. It is being said that I was the first high school vaulter in Ohio to clear 15ft. Actually, that's only true as for the State Championship meet. The State Meet record was 14'5' set by John Linta in 1964. He was the first to clear 15ft when he cleared 15ft 1/2in at the Ohio Classic meet in Mansfield that same year following the State meet. That was the highest of any Ohio high school vaulter in history.The State record could only be set in the State Meet. So in 1966 at the State meet, I broke his state meet record when I cleared 14'6". Then I cleared 14'8', 14'10" and finally 15'1"  to break his all time record. What was remarkable about Linta's 14'5" vault was that it broke the State record of 13'9" held by his father and which had stood for 25 years! I just want to set the record straight. I have always wondered whatever happened to John Linta.
Also, it may be of interest that in 1962, when I lived in southern California, I had the opportunity to meet the world record holder, Dave Tork. He was a Marine Lt. who set the world record of 16'2" on April 28, 1962. After I moved to Ohio, we kept in touch and I spent some time training with him in his home state of West Virginia. He was actually present at the state meet in 1966 and took a photograph of me clearing 15'1." He sent it to me with a type written note. The photo and note are attached here. Dave Tork is now 83 years old and still lives in West Virginia. Every April 28 I call to congratulate him on that world record set so many years ago. Another interesting part about the 1966 state meet is that the kid who finished 2d to me was also coached by Dave Tork. His name was Reggie Corbett from Rocky River. So technically, John Linta was the first high school vaulter in Ohio to clear 15ft and I was the second when I broke his record."

C:\Users\Owner\Desktop\Dropbox\Camera Uploads\004.JPG

  Until I was eight years old I lived in Lewisburg, W.Va. where my father was a teacher at Greenbrier Military School where Dave Tork went to high school.  The man who lived upstairs in our house was Donald Bartholomew who was the track coach at GMS and coached Dave Tork.  Dave Rimmer, if you have Dave Tork's phone number I would love to give him a call.

   Bill Schnier

Thought you guys might be interested in seeing the "Eternal Pole 
Vaulter" who greets the young athletes who come here to vault. He got 
that name because he pole vaulted until the day he died... and he's 
still pole vaulting! He's standing next to his favorite Bible verse. We 
call this place "the pole vault farm: where champions are cultivated and 
harvested one jump at a time."

David Rimmer

P.S. He was actually purchased from Walgreens several years ago at 

Friday, February 1, 2019

V 9 N. 6 Remembering William Cameron 'Willie' McCool, this date

This day, sixteen years ago, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated across Texas and Louisiana, only sixteen minutes from touching down at the end of its mission.  The captain of the shuttle that day was former US Naval Academy cross country runner Commander William Cameron 'Willie' McCool.  Most of us remember the first shuttle disaster, the Challenger, that occured a few years prior, but this one is less embedded in my memory.  I was coaching the distance runners for the  U. of Dayton, and we were at an indoor meet at Ohio State when the news started filtering in to us.  I had forgotten the story about McCool being a former college runner.  But his teammates have not forgotten him.  Thanks to Walt Murphy This Day in Track and Field  for keeping Cmd. McCool in our minds.  Since his untimely passing a stone memorial and plaque have been placed on the Navy cross country course at a point where Willie McCool would have been sixteen minutes out from his best ever finish. His time that day was 27:24 for five miles.


Thanks for remembering Cmdr. Willie McCool as both a runner and astronaut of great courage, training
and sklil.  What a great name for a man of such distinction
I am humbled to hear of his passing, once again,  knowing that his dedication of our Nation, 
and the space program: exhibited far greater courage than I possess.
John Bork
WMU-Class of 1961

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...