Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Friday, November 29, 2019

V 7 N, 48 Mo Farah Still Has Skin in the Game

Mo Farah plans to return to the track after a brief sortie into full time road racing.  Here is a report from the Associated Press today Nov. 29, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Olympic champion Mo Farah is returning to the track and wants to defend his 10,000-meter title at next year’s Tokyo Games.
Announcing his plans on his YouTube channel on Friday, Farah said: “I’m really excited to be competing. I’m back on the track.”
Farah is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who won the 5,000-10,000 double at both the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. He switched his focus to the marathon and road races after a farewell 5,000 victory at the Diamond League finals in Zurich in August 2017.
“I hope I haven’t lost my speed,” said the 36-year-old British runner, won the Chicago Marathon in 2018.
Farah’s announcement came one day after UK Athletics said it asked a lawyer to lead a review of its work with banned track coach Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project.
Salazar worked with Farah from 2011-17, spanning his era of Olympic dominance, and was hired to advise UKA’s endurance program in 2013.
Salazar was banned for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last month for experiments with supplements and testosterone that were bankrolled and supported by Nike, along with possessing and trafficking testosterone.
Farah was not implicated by USADA, and Salazar denies wrongdoing.
Salazar has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The case is unlikely to be judged before the Tokyo Olympics open on July 24. The men’s 10,000 final is set for July 31.

Sean Ingle writing for The Guardian today gives us the British point of view on this story.
Mo Farah has confirmed he will switch his focus from marathons back to the track for next year’s Olympic Games.
 Mo Farah has confirmed he will switch his focus from marathons back to the track for next year’s Olympic Games. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Two years after retiring from the track to run marathons, Mo Farah has performed a screeching U-turn and will defend his Olympic 10,000m title in Tokyo next summer.
The 36-year-old announced his decision after mulling over his disappointing 10th place at the Chicago marathon in October, although insiders have since revealed a niggle beforehand affected his performance.
Farah has convinced himself he will be more competitive back on the track – and watched the recent world championships 10,000m final in Doha believing he could have beaten the winner, Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, whose final lap time of 56sec was considerably slower than the Briton’s last 400m when claiming world gold in 2017.
“I decided after Chicago, not straight away, but it was on my mind,” said Farah, who confirmed he would not attempt to double up in the 5,000m. “I was watching the world championship in Doha. I watched the 10,000m, and I watch other races, and part of you gets excited.
“You’re seeing people winning medals, for your country and stuff, and you ask yourself. It almost felt like I needed to be there. I still got a chance with the Olympics. Why would you turn it down?”
Farah, who won double gold over 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, added: “I hope I haven’t lost my speed but I’ll train hard for it and see what I can do.”
To qualify for the 10,000m in Tokyo, Farah will need to run 27min 28sec by 21 June. However he does not have to compete at the Night of the 10k PBs in Highgate in June, which doubles as the official British trial.
The qualifying standard should be a breeze for him, given it is nearly 45sec slower than his personal best. However, many in the sport would be surprised if Farah, who will be 37 when the Olympics come round, is able to recapture the staggering last-lap speed that made him an almost unbeatable winning machine between 2011 and 2017.
Farah leaves a mixed legacy at the marathon, having run a European record 2:05:11 in winning the Chicago marathon in 2018 and finished third in London the same year, only to disappoint at the same races this year.
“To win the Chicago marathon was nice, to finish third in London was OK, it was good,” he said. “But next year I’ve decided, Tokyo 2020, I’m going back on the track.”
The London marathon has confirmed Farah will not be runningnext April. However, he has left his options open to competing over 26.1 miles in the future.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

V 9 N. 47 Cross Country Back Then and Some Other Stuff

Our good friend and foreign correspondent, Jerry McFadden, sent some more vintage cross country photos from France this week.  Not a lot of information came with the photos, but they do provide a look back in time at this pure sport.

French Cross Country 1931 Roger Rerolle winning French XC nationals at Maisons -Lafitte  Hippodrome
1921  France  Start of  a new season at Pavillon Sou Bois outside Paris.
7Km race won by a Belgian  Vandevelde in 22:08

Start of the Oxford vs. Cambridge duel meet  1921
Winner N. A. Mac Innes crossing a ditch.  Post race (Ashley) Montague left and Mac Innes.
Note Montague's missing shoe and the thick soles on Mac Innes' shoes.

And speaking of past cross country history, remember the British Invasion at Western Kentucky with Nick Rose, Dave Long, Tony Staynings and Swag Hartel?  These guys brought some hard training and hard partying to the sport. What had been upper crust in the older photos above, was now a very blue collar event.  

Now for a really cool site on history of the NCAA meet when held in East Lansing Michigan, I recommend this link out of University of Waterloo in Ontario run by Mark Havitz (MSU XC alum 1977-78).  If you click on the "videos" section you can download finish line film of several of the races back in the 1940s.  In the 1946 film you will see Dennis Weaver of "Gunsmoke" fame crossing the line in mid pack for Oklahoma U. wearing the number 141.   Michigan State Cross Country archives

Russians on the Run?

Then we digress to the Russian doping scam which seems never to end with the IOC  holding the white flag and an olive branch  at the Russians and saying that even though we know you are screwing with us, you might still be allowed to send athletes as "neutrals" to compete in Tokyo, provided they test clean.    I can only wonder what the discussions must be like in Putin's office these days.  Certainly a few heads are in danger of being lopped off or at least a re-opening of a residential wing in the Gulags is being considered for some bureaucrats, not for cheating, but for getting caught.  It was a run for your life situation after the balls up at Sochi for the domestic testing lab that got caught switching samples.  

Sean Ingle reported today in The Guardian:
The International Olympic Committee has demanded the “toughest sanctions” against those responsible for deleting Russian doping tests in data handed over to the World Anti-Doping Agency – calling it “an attack on the credibility of sport and an insult to the sporting movement worldwide”. However, the IOC left the door open for Russian athletes to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics – provided they can show that they are clean.
That provoked a hostile reaction from the US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart, who urged Wada to ban all Russian athletes from the 2020 Games after its compliance review committee found that the Moscow lab files, which were handed over to it by the Russians in January, had been manipulated.

“Russia continues to flaunt the world’s anti-doping rules, kick clean athletes in the gut and poke Wada in the eye and get away with it time and time again,” said Tygart. “Wada must stand up to this fraudulent and bullying behaviour as the rules and Olympic values demand.”
Russia was banned from last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but 168 Russian athletes with no history of doping were cleared to compete as neutrals – a situation Wada’s compliance committee said may be repeated at Tokyo.
Tygart warned: “The response is inadequate, especially given the deceit perpetuated by the Russian sport system which is controlled by the government. Wada must get tougher and impose the full restriction on Russian athlete participation in the Olympics that the rules allow.”
The IOC maintains that “natural justice” requires them to punish any perpetrators but allow clean Russian athletes to compete. It also says there was no evidence that Russian Olympic Committee members were implicated in the “flagrant” manipulation of the Moscow lab data.
But the IOC was accused of being soft on Russia by lawyers for the whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who used to run the Moscow anti-doping laboratory before fleeing the country. “The Russian gangster state continues to deploy a predictable and deplorable policy of deception, evidence tampering and lying to cover up its crimes,” they said.
“The Kremlin must think the people of the world are idiots to believe this shameless and transparent stunt. Wada should be applauded for revealing Russia’s latest crime, but if the IOC and the international sports regulatory framework gives Russia yet another free pass, other countries will simply follow in their footsteps.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

V 9 N. 46 One of Jesse Owens' Gold Medals on the Auction Block

Jesse Owens' Gold Medal Auction  (clik here for bidding info and picture of the medal)

Just in time for Christmas.    GoldinAuctions.com   is offering one of Jesse Owens' four gold medals.
Minimum bid is  $250,000.00.   The info states that Owens gave this medal to a life long friend
John Terpak. 

Terpak was a two time Olympian in weightlifting 1936 and 1948.  Finished out of the medals both times, but somewhere in his life became good friends with Owens.   Terpak was an executive vice president of the York Barbell Corporation.  Thanks to Dave Elger for this story.

John Terpak

V 9 N. 45 Passing of Two Former Olympians and Other News

November 20, 2019

I am in a desk clearing mode at the moment with many things to be related in bits and pieces and also in need of giving recognition to the passing of two former Olympians, one British and one American who are not household names, yet deserve respect for their achievements on the sports field.  The British gentleman is Gerry Carr (not Jerry Tarr)  and the American is Paul Winder.

My friend Geoff Williams in Victoria, BC brought the first notice to my attention.  Mr. Carr was a thrower of things, implements of wood and metal, not the events for which Great Britain is best known.   I take that back as  PM  Boris Johnson  occasionally throws a public tantrum and others in that hallowed chamber are known to throw mud and and invective across the floor , sometimes scoring a hit but more often missing the point.  I will not bring in the other English speaking governing bodies in the Western Hemisphere at this time, as I am growing quite weary from following their antics.


Paul Winder

Paul Winder was the alternate on the 1960 US 4x100 relay team which I'm sure most of you still remember as being disqualified after finishing first in the finals due to an out of zone exchange between Ray Norton and Frank Budd.  He got to travel all the way to Rome and watch those events from the sidelines.  He missed the chagrin of that race and probably was glad not to be associated too closely with that very low point of US sprinting history.  Indeed it was probably the beginning of a long series of colossal losses in that event, interspersed with short bursts of brilliance.

Paul is remembered by his alma mater Morgan State University in Maryland in this passage from their Hall of Fame Page.

Paul was born in Atlantic City, N.J. He attended Pleasantville High School and was such a stand-out he was one of the highest recruited track prospects in the country. He chose to come to Morgan in 1957.

Upon entering Morgan he immediately became recognized as Morgan's greatest track performer since Olympian George Rhoden. Among his accomplishments are an N.C.A.A. outdoor championship in the 100-meters, a 1959 National A.A.U. indoor-outdoor world record (6.1 sec.) in the 60-yard dash, an NAIA champion in 1959 in the 100-yards, an ICAA 100-meter champion in 1960. Paul was also a member of the 1960 400-meter Olympic relay team. He also captained the track team while at Morgan.

Paul was a member of the R.O.T.C. as a Morgan man and entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a first lieutenant. During his military stint (1962-65), he was all-Marine track and field in the 100- and 200-meters and also the mile relay.

One of Paul's greatest thrills was having his Pleasantville High School name its track for him and the establishment of the "Paul Winder Sportsmanship Award". 

Here is what Geoff included on Gerry Carr.

Hi George.  I check the local obits daily to see if I am in there and base my days activities on the results.  As a consequence I get to recognise some names.  Today it was Dr. Gerry Carr age 83 –a University of Victoria PE Professor.  The name struck a bell so I read the whole thing and lo and behold he represented UK in the 1956 Olympics in discus ( not a strong event for us).  I had seen him on occasions in the 50s as ( until Mark Pharaoh- 4th in Olympics) he was UKs best, Carr was 10th at Melbourne.  Little on line about him but he may be known to some of your older correspondents.  Thought you might be interested.  He also represented England in the Commonwealth Games earning a bronze medal in the discus.
One anecdote that came my was was that Carr was practicing the discus in California and several football players came by the field that day and joined in and promptly started throwing futher than Mr. Carr.   

Other News

Mike Holloway
, the Head Coach at the University of Florida has turned that program into an incredible powerhouse and recognized for his good works has been named the Head Coach for the 2020 United States Olympic Team going to Tokyo.  This is considered a highly merited honor by all involved in the sport.

One bit of bad news for Mike this week however is that one of his top athletes has decided to "go pro".
from Bruce Kritzler:   Just heard Gators lost Hakim Sani Brown to pro track, after 2 yrs in Gainesville. Ran 9.98 for 2nd at NCAA 100 (also 2nd indoor 60m). Got a bronze at World champs on Japan's 4x100 relay.

This next story picked up from the UKIAH DAILY NEWS is about 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist 
Jack Yerman.  Mr. Yerman was one of many who lost their homes in the Paradise, California fire last year.  

Still good as gold: Olympian lost Paradise home, but not his Rose Bowl ring

Olympian lost his Paradise home, but not his Rose Bowl ring

1 of 4
Jack Yerman stands in his backyard wearing his 1960 olympic gold medal Oct. 30 in Chico. Yerman’s Paradise home was destroyed in the Camp Fire but his medal survived undamaged. (Matt Bates — Enterprise-Record)
PUBLISHED: November 8, 2019 at 1:46 am | UPDATED: November 8, 2019 at 8:22 am
CHICO — Jack Yerman sits in the living room of his apartment, clutching a framed black and white photo.
“I’m lucky to have had this reprinted,” Yerman says while staring at the picture of him with his son Bruce as a baby, sitting in a trophy cup that he’d won in Philadelphia.
He stands up, walks to the front of the room and proudly places the photo on the TV stand.
It’s one of the few photos that Yerman has been able to reclaim — he purchased the photo from a newspaper — after his home was clenched within the grasp of the deadly Camp Fire.
Yerman’s home was a 2,600 square-foot haven nestled within the towering woods of Paradise. It featured a trout stream, a large swimming pool and a completely remodeled interior.
But the most important belongings inside the home of the 1960 Olympic gold medalist was the USA Olympic tracksuit and baby pictures of his children. All of them gone after the house burned in the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.
“We didn’t get to save much — like all the goodies you save over the years and the memorabilia,” Yerman said from his apartment living room in Chico. “The things that we all keep inside a secret box. It’s gone. But that’s life.”
Yerman, who was part of the gold medalist 1,600-meter relay team, has endured anything but a simple life. At 80, the longtime Paradise resident is left to piece back together his life following the Camp Fire.
On Nov. 8, Yerman and his wife, Carol Mattern-Yerman, weren’t even in the country. The couple took a nine-day trip to Puerto Rico to visit a family friend and were left helplessly watching what was unfolding in their hometown.
“We took a chance to have a good time,” Yerman said. “We watched (the Camp Fire) on TV.”
Mattern-Yerman’s daughter, Emily Vail, who was in Paradise, was the first to call Jack and Carol in Puerto Rico to alert them about the fire.
“At first my daughter called … she goes ‘It’s looking really bad mom. We’re leaving,’” Mattern-Yerman said. “The last call I got from her she called to say goodbye. She said ‘It’s a firestorm. I love you. Goodbye.’ She made it. But at the time she didn’t think she was going to make it.”
Jack and Carol were only married for about four months when the Camp Fire broke out. The two were living in separate homes at the time. Jack’s home was burned and nothing was saved, but Carol had arranged for someone to watch her small, white rescue dog named Brady while they were in Puerto Rico. Thankfully, Yerman had stored his gold medal at Carol’s home.
“(Carol) called the dog watcher and said ‘Hey get out of town, take the dog and take the gold medal too,’” Yerman said. “The dog and the gold medal were all we saved.”
The gold medal was won when the foursome of Yerman, Earl Young, Glenn Davis and Otis Davis finished with a world record time of 3 minutes, 2.37 seconds to win the 1,600-meter relay race at 1960 Olympics in Rome. Yerman ran an opening leg of 46.2 seconds.
“Guys like to keep their Olympic running outfits and pins … but I lost my donkey derby trophy. That’s about as good as a gold medal,” Yerman joked. “Those were some nice memories up there.”

Life before Paradise

Yerman had lived in Paradise since 1968, but was originally born in Oroville.
He never lived in Oroville since his mother and father divorced when he was born. He and his mother moved to Woodland where he grew up and went to high school.
His father, an alcoholic and drug addict, ended up dying of an overdose in Sacramento at the age of 55.
His family never owned a car, meaning he either had to walk, run or ride a bike to get around town. That’s when he grew fond of running and just being outside.
“It was a great place to be a kid,” Yerman said. “We were kind of on the poor side. I never went on vacations so I had to make my own fun. The way I did was to go down to the park and play. It was a natural thing. I enjoyed physical activity.”
After graduating from Woodland High School, Yerman ended up attending college at UC Berkeley, where he ran track and played fullback for the football team.
“It wasn’t easy going to college,” Yerman said. “If you don’t make it, you’re a failure in your mind.”
Like everything else in his life, Yerman’s journey to the Olympics didn’t come with ease.
“Making the Olympics was a miracle for me — even getting there,” Yerman said.
In order to qualify for the Olympic Trials held at Stanford, Yerman had to finish in the top seven at the NCAA championships. Yerman was competing in the 400-meter race with the hopes of winning an individual gold medal.
“There are eight guys in the race. I’m in last place watching them run away. It’s over,” Yerman recalled. “As we’re coming around the last turn, a kid from Iowa falls down. I qualified.”
“Two weeks later, I didn’t have time to rest. So I was at Stanford, and I win. I was just lucky.”
In Rome, Yerman’s quest for an individual gold medal would end in the 400 semifinals, as described in the book “Your Time Will Come” by Jack’s son Bruce Yerman.
Yerman was able to still win gold as part of the 1,600-meter relay team.

Finding home in Paradise

After Yerman earned a master’s degree in teaching from Stanford, he and his then-wife Margo, began searching for a place to call home.
The two first tried living in Santa Clara, but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for.
“We probably could have stayed there and done well, but we both just grew up in small towns,” Yerman said. “We said we want our kids to go to a town with one high school. Out in the country where the kids could run around a little bit.”
They started looking in Northern California, then Yerman landed a job teaching at Chico High.
“We drove around and liked Paradise,” Yerman said. “It fit our mold better.”
They rented for their first three years in Paradise before purchasing their home where they would raise their four children.
Margo Yerman died in May 2014 while holding Jack’s hand in their home.

The missing ring

When Yerman and Carol returned to California from Puerto Rico, they didn’t have a home to go back to. They stayed in a friend’s fifth-wheel trailer in the meantime while they were figuring out what to do next.
Yerman, who had played for Cal in the 1959 Rose Bowl, had his Rose Bowl ring left behind in Paradise. When Paradise was opened back up to the public following the Camp Fire, Jack and Carol hesitated to go back to their properties and sift through the debris.
“We didn’t personally do much sifting. It was just overwhelming,” Yerman said. “Most of the things I lost were un-siftable. They were consumed.”
But Yerman’s son, Bruce, decided to look through the debris of his childhood home. Within the rubble, he found the Rose Bowl ring, charred with the center jewel gone and melted. The twinkle of the diamonds placed in the shape of a football had been diminished but they still remain intact.
Yerman wanted the ring restored so he sent it to Jostens, the company that made it. About six weeks passed and the new, restored ring had arrived. It looked identical to the original, but the original, burned ring had yet to arrive at Yerman’s home.
However, the original wound up in the possession of Tony Borders, a 31-yard old manager at Napa Auto Parts in Durham.
An unassuming white package arrived at Borders’ apartment. The packaging had Jack Yerman’s name with Borders’ address and no return address stamped on it.
“It was just a little white bag with his name and my address,” Borders said. “It was super weird.”
Often receiving junk mail, Borders didn’t think too much about the package. He placed the unopened bag on his coffee table, where it sat for two weeks.
One afternoon, Borders was tidying up his mail stack and decided to go ahead and open the package. There he found the burned Rose Bowl ring.
“I opened it up and went ‘Whoa,’” Borders recalled. “I didn’t want to take a brush to clean it up. I didn’t want to destroy it.”
Borders stored the ring in his safe, and then started doing some research. He searched the name ‘Yerman’ online and discovered he played in the Rose Bowl in 1959.
“I thought maybe the family was getting it restored as a memento,” Borders said. “If this belongs to somebody’s family, that motivated me even more to try to find out who it belongs to.”
Borders said he didn’t want to broadcast the ring everywhere for fear of an impostor trying to claim it. Instead, he reached out to Bruce Yerman on Facebook to try and get it back to his father. Borders and Bruce Yerman met up in Chico to give back the ring, a possession that Jack is thankful to have back in his life.
“I called (Borders) up and thanked him,” Jack Yerman said.
“What are the odds of somebody bringing it back?” said Mattern-Yerman.

Returning home

Both Jack and Carol said they are thankful they were out of town the day of the Camp Fire, but being removed from the situation still leaves them wondering what would have happened had they been at home.
“I’ve got mixed emotions. Sometimes we’re thankful, we really are. But sometimes we wished we were there and what we would have done,” Yerman said. “A lot of mixed emotions.”
Yerman, at one point, was actually on the missing persons list. He had received a few calls from friends asking if he was alive. Since then, the couple has listened to some speakers and done some counseling to deal with the situation.
Yerman still tries to see the silver lining within the situation. His granddaughter, Tori MacKay, a sophomore at Chico High, wrote a song about Paradise that Yerman happily likes to boast about. And at their temporary home, Yerman has grown fond of his neighbors.
“There’s some very nice people here. Nice tenants,” Yerman said.
The couple now lives in Chico off of The Esplanade, in an apartment complex owned by Yerman.
Weeks before the Camp Fire broke out, Yerman was renovating one of the units.
The previous tenants had trashed the place, leaving behind soiled couches and black stains in the bathroom.
“It was disgusting,” Mattern-Yerman said.
After the fire, Jack and Carol lived in a trailer for about six weeks before making the decision to move into the renovated apartment.

Monday, November 18, 2019

V 9 N. 44 Old Photos from the Left Bank

My good friend Jerome McFadden (U. of Missouri 1963 and 4:05 miler, 2nd in Big 8 Conf.) is a frequent visitor to the City of Lights.  See link to earlier article:  Long Live the Past

When he goes there one of his stops is the the booksellers on the Left Bank where he searches out old French "Athletisme" (Track and Field) magazines and books and sends me some of the pictures.  Today there is no message of the passing of a legend, just pictures of legends and a few non legends from those journals.

Mr. McFadden has also recently published a book,  "Off the Rails, A Collection of Weird, Wicked and Wacky Stories".

French Hurdler Mathiotte (right) in front of Iova

Harold Connoly   USA Hammer Thrower

Ira Murchison  USA Sprinter

More Unknown French Hurdlers
Dennis Shore (South Africa), Mal Whitfield (USA), Arthur Wint (Jamaica) and
Herb McKenley (Jamaica) in start position.

Vasily Kuznetsov Soviet Union Decathlete
Baron Pierre DeCoubertin
Parry O'Brien  USA Shotputter.  note the cinder surface
Alain Mimoun in the middle flanked by Chiclet, Duleau and Rhadi in a 10,000

Left Photo:  Barney Ewell defeating Harrison Dillard at 100 meters in Evanston 1948 OT's
Right Photo:  British Sprinter Mac Donald Bailey Polytechnique Harriers qualifying for Bristih team at 100 meters.  He appears to be weraring a U. of Illinois singlet in photo.  

Harrison Dillard Indoors

Jules Ladoumegue  French WR Holder 1500M

If you do not remember Jules Ladoumegue  check the link A Mystery Solved, or Why I Love This Blog

Here is Jerome's new book,   "Off the Rails" and a brief description below.

What happens if no one else sees the creatures calling to you from your back yard?
Or your perfect crime is not as perfect as you planned? What if a city-dweller on vacation meets a tribe of head hunters in the middle of the jungle?
Or if the best player on the boys' high school sports teams . . . is a girl?
What happens if everything you thought you understood goes . . . OFF THE RAILS?
In this eclectic collection of twenty-six stories, multi-award winning author, Jerome W. McFadden, takes a warped view of robbers, gang-bangers, killers, cowboys, dead people (who might not know they're dead), and the idiosyncracies of rural life in the mythical town of East Jesus, Texas. These fast-paced tales explore the satirical edges of crime, paranoia, human foibles, and the afterlife. Some of the stories are weird, some are wicked, some are wacky, but all contain the unexpected twists born of McFadden's unique sense of humor and dark imagination. These unpredictable treasures follow in the footsteps of an irreverent O. Henry . . . and Rod Serling.
Life, as you know it, is about to go off the rails.
Jerome W. McFadden came of age in East St. Louis, Illinois, but has lived on four continents. He brings his weird mix of city smarts, country wisdom, international insight, and plenty of skepticism and snark to his stories about life and death, and all that happens in between.
The book is available on Amazon for $14.95.  

Sunday, November 17, 2019

V9 N. 43 Harrison Dillard One of the Truly Great Ones R.I.P.

Harrison Dillard  1923-2019

November 17, 2019
Harrison 'Bones' Dillard passed away last week in Cleveland, his home town. Let me start from memory.  Harrison Dillard, a World War II veteran served with an African American military unit the Buffalo Soldiers in Europe during the war.  He stayed in the army for awhile and shortly after the war, he  began competing in international competitions between the Allied Powers who were occupying Germany.  

He was born in 1923 in Cleveland and as a 13 years old youngster he watched Jesse Owens' homecoming parade in 1936 after his return from the Berlin Olympics.  Owens won four Olympic Golds, and so would Dillard.  Both men went to the same high school, Cleveland East Tech  and had the same coach Ivan Greene.  After the war, Dillard would have followed Owens to Ohio State U., but he felt it was too far from home and he might be homesick.  
Statue on the Baldwin Wallace Campus
We have reported in the past about some of his achievents in a meet in Frankfort FRG.  Eventually he found his way back home and enrolled in Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio where he truly came into his own as a 120 yard high hurdler.  By 1948, he was the favorite in the US to be the top hurdler in his specialty, but as often happens in that event, the favorite stumbles, hits a hurdle and watches the race from the ground or staggering to the finish line.  And then he goes home and waits 'til next year.  This didn't happen to Mr. Dillard because he had an ace in the hole, the 100 meters which he went on to qualify for enabling him to travel to London as a sprinter.  In the Olympic 100 meter finals, Harrison Dillard upset the favored Barney Ewell to take the gold medal, then later ran on the 4x100 meter relay and brought honor to himeslf and his country with another first place.

By the next Olympics in the the Finnish capitol of Helsinki, Harrison Dillard cleared all the hurdles and set the record straight that he was the best 110 meter high hurdler in the world.
1952 Olympic Trials in L.A. Coliseum
Jack Davis and Harrison Dillard
Thanks to Pete Brown for this photo

One of my regrets since starting this blog is not trying to get an interview with Harrison Dillard.  It was just a few years ago I was in the Cleveland area and spoke to his daughter, but for some reason I decided not to disturb Mr. Dillard with a bunch of questions.  Around that time I found the following article about him, written perhaps by someone who didn't know a lot about track and field but who could interview him to capture the  more personal side.    George Brose

Here is something I had never heard about Harrison Dillard.
He was the 110 HH champion in the 1953 Maccabiah Games. Source is Wikipedia.  I will try to corroborate this from another source.   GB
Answ.  I found a 1957 issue of Israel Digest recounting the prveious Maccabiah Games of 1953 saying that Dillard and Perry O'Brien both competed in exhibition races at those games.  GB

From Grace Butcher (pioneer of women's distance running and Cleveland area native.)

George, here is my Harrison Dillard story.

Starting track at 15 in 1949 as a hurdler (as you know, no long runs till our crusade in the late 50's), of course I knew about Harrison Dillard. His failure to make the team as a hurdler in '48 was such a shock but his 100 gold such a joy, then 4 yrs. later....

So when the time came in 1951 to choose a college,  I chose Baldwin Wallace because if I went there, I could hurdle the same hurdles that Harrison Dillard  had hurdled! What better reason? Plus the National Jr. Olympic Championship had been at that track in 1950, so I'd already run on the same track he'd run on, and he was the starter for that meet. I ran off to get married during the first quarter--I was 17, knew everything, no reason to go to college.  (Started again in 1962 at age 28, older and wiser, at near by Hiram College, marriage and two children later.)

Years after that, at a 5k road race in Cleveland, I was lined up for the start when the startling announcement came that Harrison Dillard was the starter! Oh my gosh! I hadn't known that. The gun went off, and my only thought during most of that race was his name running through my head in rhythm with my steps: "Harrison Dillard! Harrison Dillard!" I even said it out loud.  And after the race, amazingly, I saw him sitting by himself as we waited for the results, so I went over to him, sat down, and told him why I'd gone to BW. It was a lovely conversation. He signed my number. He emanated niceness, gentleness. I have tears in my eyes as I recall that. What a gift to the world he was. Grace

Bill Schnier wrote:
Thanks for your article about Harrison "Bones" Dillard.  He was one of the most dominating T&F men in US history and also one of the most inspirational after his fall in the 1948 Olympic Trials.  Stories about him were exchanged at track meets in the Ohio Athletic Conference when I ran for Capital in 1965-66 and he had run for the Baldwin-Wallace Yellow Jackets about two decades before.  He was certainly a pride to that small school in Berea, Ohio as well as to our entire conference and state. 
   It is remarkable that Jesse Owens, David Albritton, Harrison Dillard, and so many others all went to Cleveland East Tech High School.  I have always wondered which Ohio high school would have won a mythical meet of all schools, past or present, when their top marks were reported.  In other words, who has the best school records?  My best guesses would be Cleveland East Tech, Cleveland Glenville, Lancaster, Dayton Dunbar, and Dayton Roosevelt.  All school records would have to be converted to the current meters including the 100, but it would be quite an examination of history and one well worth examining. 

Richard Trace wrote:  "When I was a student at Miami,
BW came for a meet and Harrison Dillard showed us how to do it. 

Tribute to Harrison Dillard in Cleveland Seniors Magazine

By Debbie Hanson

Here is how Sportsreference.com describes Harrison Dillard's career.

"Bones" Dillard caused a major Olympic upset when he won the 100 m in 1948. He went to the 1948 AAU with an unprecedented streak of 82 consecutive hurdle victories, but was surprisingly beaten by [Bill Porter]. A week later, at the Final Trials, Porter won again and Dillard failed to finish. But he made the Olympic team by placing third in the 100 m and then took the Olympic title. Four years later he made no mistakes, winning the hurdles at Helsinki, and winning the gold on the sprint relay team for a second time. Originally inspired by the victory parade in his native Cleveland for [Jesse Owens] after the 1936 Olympics, Dillard developed into one of the most consistent hurdlers the world has ever seen. Owens encouraged Dillard to take up hurdling and later gave him the spikes he had worn in Berlin. Dillard went on to win 14 AAU titles and six NCAA championships, as well as setting world records in both the high and low hurdles.
Dillard was a member of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, which were African-American troops who fought valiantly in the Italian campaign from 1943-45 during World War II. He later was in charge of communications for the Cleveland Indians for 10 years. He also had a television and radio show and was responsible for the city's educational department spending

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.50 (1948); 110H – 13.6y (1948).

1948  100 meters
Winning the 100 meters in London

The fastest sprinters in the world in 1948 were felt to be [Mel Patton] of the USA and [Lloyd LaBeach] of Panama, who became his nation’s first Olympic athlete ever in London. They had raced several times in 1947 and early 1948, basically splitting the races, as there was little to choose between them. Another top sprinter was [Barney Ewell], but he had been at his best during the war years and was felt to be slightly past his prime. One athlete who would not compete in London was Hal Davis, who would have been favored in either 1940 or 1944 if the Olympics had not been lost to the war. An unusual thing happened at the US Olympic Trials. The heavy favorite in the high hurdles was [Harrison Dillard], who had not lost a hurdle race in several years, but he hit a hurdle in the final of the Trials and did not finish. Fortunately for him, he had also entered the 100 metres and made the team in that event behind Patton and Ewell. In the Olympic final, Patton got off to a disastrous start and was not a factor. Dillard led from start to finish with Ewell closing quickly to get the silver medal, LaBeach in third.

1948 4 x 100 meters

The US team was originally to have had Ed Conwell but he had to withdraw with asthma, and was replaced by [Lorenzo Wright], who had medaled in the long jump. The US won the final quite comfortably, but were initially disqualified for a faulty exchange between [Barney Ewell] and Wright. On reviewing film of the race, it could be seen that the exchange had occurred within the legal zone, and the DQ was reversed, giving the United States the gold medal. However, the final decision did not become official for three days.   
Dillard ran the third leg and Mel Patton anchored.


1952  110 meters high hurdles
Action in First Heat in Helsinki

The world record holder was Dick Attlesey (USA), but he hurt his foot in the heats of the US Olympic Trials, and did not make the team. But led by Dillard, the Americans again swept the medals, as they had in 1948. The finish was close between Dillard and [Jack Davis], Davis having been slowed by a poor start, likely due to being charged with a false start. Art Barnard was the third place finisher for the Americans.

1952  4 x 100 meters
Dillard, Remigino, Stanfield, and Smith after the 4x100 victory

Though the US had the fastest sprinters, the USSR team had won the 1950 European Championships and were known for teamwork and exact changeovers. In the final, the Soviets started out in the lead, led by [Boris Tokarev], and they maintained that until 100 metre champion [Lindy Remigino] caught them on the final turn. [Andy Stanfield] received the baton about equal with [Vladimir Sukharev] but ran away from him to win by two metres.

Dean Smith is the sole survivor of that 4x100 team.  We are planning a story about Dean in the near future.  ed. 

Dillard and Ewell Steal the Show in Frankfort Aug 22 1948 by Ray Musleh

Harrison Dillard and Jesse Owens with their high school coach Ivan Greene 1950

They Don't Build Hurdles or Hurdlers Like This Anymore

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...