Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

V 9 N. 30 Tom O'Hara R.I.P.

Loyola track legend Tom O’Hara dies; the 1964 Olympian set an indoor world record in the mile
AUG 28, 2019 |
Tom O’Hara, an NCAA cross-country champion and track star at Loyola and former indoor world record holder in the mile, died Tuesday, the university announced. He was 77.
“This is a sad day for Loyola Athletics. Tom O’Hara is a legend not only at Loyola, but also in his sport,” Loyola athletic director Steve Watson said in a statement Wednesday. “For as accomplished as Tom was on the course and track, he was unbelievably humble and a true gentleman. Tom will be sorely missed by those of us in the Loyola community, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
O’Hara, a Chicago native who attended St. Ignatius, set the indoor world record in the mile in 1964 with a time of 3 minutes, 56.6 seconds before breaking that a month later by running it in 3:56.4 at Chicago Stadium.
He was the first Illinois runner to break the 4-minute mark.
At Loyola, O’Hara won the NCAA individual cross-country championship during the 1962-63 season before competing for the U.S. in the 1,500 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
An illustration of O’Hara was featured on the cover of the June 22, 1964, edition of Sports Illustrated with the headline “Tom O’Hara: The mystique of the mile.”
Loyola cross-country and track and field coach Bob Thurnhoffer called O’Hara “possibly the greatest Rambler of all time.”

“This is a tough loss for the Loyola Athletics, Chicagoland and running communities,” Thurnhoffer said in a statement. “The name Tom O’Hara is synonymous with Loyola Athletics.
“That iconic image of Tom on the cover of Sports Illustrated is something that has inspired Ramblers over half a decade, and Tom’s incredible achievements have shown our department that anything is possible through hard work, humility, and service. Tom’s legend spans across the Chicagoland area and still inspires our team to this day.”

Tom's WR Indoor Mile   Clik here.

Tom O'Hara at Kansas Relays 1963    I filmed this 30 seconds on my Super 8 camera in Lawrence, Kansas.   I knew one of Tom's teammates at Loyola, John Kolevich and got introduced to him.  In the first race Loyola didn't have the sprinters to run a sprint medley and were hopelessly outclassed.  But in the second race in this clip, they are in the distance medley against Texas Southern.  Texas Southern's anchor man  Major Adams had a big lead  on the final leg, but it was no use against Tom and he was scooped on the second lap and Tom was lapping the field by the end of the race. Note his familiar tug on his shorts, seeming to pull them up to keep them from falling off.   Talking to Tom after the race, he proved to be a very humble person, polite and courteous to a complete stranger.  George Brose

One winter I went through Chicago on my way home to Dayton from Oklahoma and stayed with an aunt and uncle and next day went to run in the U. of Chicago Christmas meet.  Tom wasn't there, but his dad was and he sat with my uncle during my race and had a nice chat with him.  My uncle was thrilled.  While Tom was in Tokyo for the 1964 Olympics, his father passed away.

Two of our readers  Paul O'Shea and Thom Coyne knew Tom O'Hara very well and I'm sure we'll be hearing from them soon about the passing of this wonderful man.

Two Four Minute Milers Tom and Jack by Paul O'Shea      Here is an earlier article about Tom by Paul O'Shea

Ohhhhhh! That’s really sad news!
I had the privilege of running with
Him head to head on 1 or more mile relay anchors and I000yd indoor if I remember right .A great human being!
John Bork Jr.

Friday, September 13, 2019

V 9 N. 29 May , 1968 Part II

Two issues of TF&N this month so here is the second issue. All hell is breaking loose in Europe' it is the Prague Spring and the streets of Paris are on fire.  Emil Zatopek will soon be forced out of his cushy job in the army and put behind a garbage truck until the citizens of Prague recognize him and run along with the garbage truck he is on.  He will then be sent to work in a uranium mine.

MAY II 1968

Two records have been set since our last report, neither of them providing much excitement. St. Cloud State's Van Nelson gets the collegiate record at six miles and the javelin record for freshman and junior college falls to Marc Murro.
Mark Murro

Van Nelson

Competition is not a factor in either. Nelson is running for the Olympic 10,000 qualifying mark which he gets by 5.6 seconds with a 28:54.4. But the record comes a lap earlier when he passes six miles in 27:56.8, breaking Doug Brown's 27:59.2 set in 1965. He wins by a minute and a half, obviously lapping the field. Murro, also dominant, takes less time to put his name in the record books. His 273-0 wins the national junior college meet by 50 feet.

The performances that were discussed across the breakfast table the next morning were based on competition. Villanova brings its mile and two mile relay teams to Fresno to take on San Jose State and Kansas in the West Coast Relays. Results are mixed.

In the 2MR the first three Kansas kids can't break 1:53, leaving Jim Ryun 35 yards behind Dave Patrick on the anchor leg. The gap proves too much. Patrick is world-class. Though Ryun is up for the challenge, running 1:46.6 and gaining 2.2 seconds, the Wildcats prevail 7:23.6 to 7:26.8.

The mile relay is the order of the day. Fourteen thousand fans stay until 10:12 to see Larry James and Lee Evans tangle on the anchor leg. The weather fails to cooperate as the temperature has dropped to 50 degrees negating fast times. The first three legs for both teams average 48 seconds. James and Evans are together at the handoff. Unfortunately for Evans, Ron Freeman of Arizona State is in the mix as well. Evans has trouble getting by Freeman and by the start of the backstretch is five yards down to James, who two weeks earlier had blazed the fastest quarter-mile ever with his 43.9 split at Penn.

If his task looks hopeless, no one has told Evans. He closes most of the ground by the 200, comes even on the curve and pulls away on the straight to split 44.9. James runs 45.6 but this day belongs to Evans and San Jose. Spartans 3:09.4, Villanova 3:10.1.

An aiding wind is negated by the cool weather. Other outstanding marks are Gayle Hopkins' 26-7¼ LJ, and Earl McCullough's 13.3 HH, both wind-aided. Dave Maggard adds a quarter-inch to his shot put PR with his 65-11 victory. The discus matches former world record holder Jay Silvester and three-time Olympic champion and former world record holder Al Oerter with Silvester the decisive winner 204-9 to 198-10.

Not all the noteworthy action is in Fresno this day. Seven hundred miles north in Corvallis, Oregon, two diverse Washington State teammates stave off strong competition to record significant victories. The meet is the Northern Division (of the PAC-8) consisting of Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

The WSU athletes are 6-7, 268 lb John Van Reenan and Gerry Lindgren who measures 5-6, 119. Van Reenan easily wins the shot at 61-6¼ but has to dig down to top Tim Vollmer of Oregon State in the discus, 198-5 to 197-10, an eight-foot improvement for Vollmer.

Fast forwarding in history from the New York Times June 21, 1972
LOS ANGELES, June 20 (UPI)—John Van Reenen of South Africa, the discus thrower, has given up hope of finding another country before the Olympic Games.
“There's no way I will be in the Olympics,” said Van Reenen, whose country is barred from the Games because of its policy of racial separation. “Every nation's had or are having their trials.
“I thought I might be able to become a United States citizen, but it's too late now. The trials start next week and there's no way I could become a citizen overnight.”
The 25‐year‐old Van Reenen has been living in California since his graduation from Washington State University. Last weekend, the Amateur Athletic Union barred him and a South African distance runner, Johan Halberstadt, from its championship meet “because South Africa has no reciprocal agreement that lets Americans compete in their championship meet.”

August 23, 2018

SA athletics giant John van Reenen dies

2018-08-23 08:36

Cape Town - South African athletics giant John van Reenen passed away at the age of 71 on Tuesday.
Van Reenen made headlines in 1975 when he broke the discus world record.

During apartheid, Van Reenen left South Africa to study at Washington State University where he was pursuing his art studies on a scholarship. He studied Fine Art throughout his athletics career, specialising in etchings.
In the 1970 season he twice broke the South African record while competing for Washington State, but his major landmark came in 1975, when on March 14, he threw 68.48m to set a new world record in Stellenbosch.
According to Netwerk24, Van Reenen's right foot was amputated in 2013 after he contracted gangrene. His leg was later also amputated under his knee.
The Afrikaans website added that he died from complications from diabetes.
After his track career, Van Reenen  was and artist and lecturer at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.  to see examples of his work clik here.
John Van Reenen

If you are wanting to know more about Tim Vollmer Wikipedia fills in the facts.
Timothy William "Tim" Vollmer (born September 13, 1946) is a retired American athlete who mainly competed in the discus throw. In 1971 he won the AAU title and a silver medal at the Pan American Games. He placed in the top four at the AAU Championships in 1968–73 and finished eighth at the 1972 Summer Olympics.[1] Vollmer is a member of the Portland Interscholastic League Sports Hall of Fame.[3]

Back to Roy's reporting: The previous month Norwegian Arne Kvalheim of Oregon had set the collegiate two mile record of 8:33.2. Lindgren was one of those left looking at his backside in that race. He vowed not to let that be the case in this meet's three mile. Running an uneven pace (4:13 mile, 8:50 2M), Lindgren leads on the last lap until Kvalheim passes him on the backstretch only to have Lindgren rally for the victory with the fastest US time this season, 13:16.4 to Kvalheim's 13:19.2.

For the first time in fifteen years, Oregon doesn't win this meet. Hated rival Oregon State scores big in the sprints to edge the Ducks 84-81 and send the crowd home happy. Of special note is the odd style of OSU high jumper Dick Fosbury who wins with a 6-9¾ clearance by turning and sort of jumping over on his back. Well, you'd have to see it to understand. It's the crackpot sort of thing that will be here today, gone tomorrow. It is as unlikely to catch on as, say, shot putters spinning like discus throwers.

In our most recent entry, we wrote of Compton High's magnificent high jumping talent. Since that time Reynaldo Brown has improved his PR by a quarter of an inch to 7-0¾ and Pat Bradford has shown consistency with a 6-11 clearance to go with his 6-11¾ best. In our earlier report, we stated that there was also an unnamed Tarbabe who had jumped 6-5¾. Apparently, if you haven't cleared six and a half feet at Compton you are doomed to anonymity. We are excited to report that the young man has achieved this standard of acceptance and therefore has been identified. He is the offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Ishman. If your last name is Ishman, your given name is of no importance. Bob, George, Eddie, it doesn't matter. You are destined to be Ishy the rest of your life. Say it with me, Ishy Ishman, Ishy Ishman, Ishy Ishman. Kinda fun, isn't it?  Ishman Family Crest, Coat of Arms

Clearly the Compton coach did not look at Ishy's origins and family name when selecting an event.  Had he done so, Ishy would have been throwing the javelin.  ed.

This from the Book of Names:

Ishman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Ishman is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that was given to a person
  which meant warrior of the spear. Ash, another ancient Saxon name meant spear.

Early Origins of the Ishman family

The surname Ishman was first found in the county of Wiltshire, where they held a family seat 
from very ancient times. Ash, in ancient Saxon meant "spear," therefore Ashman was a
 "spear warrior," and its ancient records are included in the Domesday Book compiled by 
Duke William after his Conquest of England in 1066. It shows them to have had manors and 
estates in Wiltshire.

The New Hayward Field
Latest Report on Hayward Field Construction.  By the way, does anyone know if the stadium
will still be called Hayward Field upon completion?  Check this article from the Sept. 10
Oregonian:   https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/2019/09/the-new-hayward-field-is-taking-shape-and-it-will-be-imposing.html
Ishman Family Crest, Coat of Arms

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...