Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

V 10 N. 14 Dick Bank, Track Legend R.I.P.

Dick Bank passed away today.  Harry Groves died yesterday.  Who of us who were living and aware of our sport in 1964 will ever forget Dick Bank's incredible call on the last fifty yards of the Olympic 10,000 meters final when Billy Mills drove through to the finish line despite all the experts seeing it as Mohammed Gammoudi or Ron Clarke's race right to the end.  Bud Palmer, a nice guy, but not a track man, he played pro ball for the New York Knicks, was calling the race and clearly unaware that Billy was coming to the fore, and it looked like he would miss call the race of our lifetimes.  But Dick whose job was to be a technical expert somehow got on the mike and was shouting something like 'Look at Mills!  Look at Mills!"   In viewing a replay of the last lap (see link) Palmer was aware of Mills early in the last 400, but coming down to the finish there was a lot of lapped traffic and the monitor actually zoomed in on Gammoudi, and it was impossible to see Billy for a short time.  Perhaps Palmer was looking at the monitor rather than the track and failed to pick out Mills.  But he quickly covered his tracks and was exclaiming the win before Billy came to a halt.  In the background you can hear Bank rejoicing with some wordless huzzahs.

Last lap of the Tokyo 10,000 1964   live TV 

The Edited Tokyo 64 Version

 This clip is 2 min 14 seconds.  It covers the race as it was seen on TV.   If you clik on the  next  link, a second film comes up; covering the race from the Japanese film on the 64 Olympics.  It is in color and better photography, but of course Dick Bank was not on their team.

That day I was in the TV lounge on the second floor at Jefferson House on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.   Billy wasn't a Sooner, but we knew who he was.  He was from our conference, the Big 8.

He had PR'd in the first 5,000 meters of that 10,000 meter race.  He became the fourth Jayhawk in recent times to win an Olympic medal in track and field.  The others were Al Oerter, Bill Neider, and Cliff Cushman.  Bill Griffin, a sprinter on our team and a member of the Kiowa First Nation was staring in disbelief.  He knew Billy, a Lakota Sioux from the numerous times the Sooners and Jayhawks ran against each other every year, in dual meets indoors, outdoors and cross country.  They were brothers of the first order.  I want to believe that there were tears in my eyes that afternoon.

Dick Bank though made that race indelible in our minds with his enthusiasm and willingness to take the risk to step in front of the talking heads and tell it like it was.  It eventually cost him his job, but I don't believe he ever grieved for one moment his decision to fill the void.  The only other person who can compare in telling this tale is Billy Mills.  If you ever have a chance to hear him.....don't miss the opportunity.

I once called Dick Bank on a whim, to get some information on the location of some track legend.  He was skeptical for a few moments with this cold caller.  I was afraid he would hang up on me.  But he warmed up very quickly coming up with some obscure track trivia related to my school, who the coach was and his placing in the NCAA meet in the polevault in 1949.  I thought he had an incredibly fast computer, but he didn't use computers, he used his brain to store all those numbers and stories.  I learned too that if Dick did not know the information that I was seeking, there was only one other human to contact,  Ron Morris.

Yes, we've lost two legends this week with Harry and Dick,  oh jeez did I say that?  I hope you guys are entertaining the daylights out of each other in heaven or hell or somewhere in between.

Tom Trumpler brought this story to our attention this afternoon.  It is the obit from the L.A. Daily News by Scott Reid, this 25th day of February, 2020.  I have not attempted to edit this piece as you will see in the first line.  George Brose

OBITUARY  -- Dick Banks
by Scott Reid, columnist


In the days leading up to the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo there was a long line of track athletes waiting to get into a small shoe stand adidas set up in the Olympic Village.
The whole world, it seemed, wanted a pair of Adi Dassler’s soon to be famous blue suede shoes. Dassler, the founder and genius behind the three-stripe brand, had created ground breaking track spikes before both the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games, each edition named after the host city. His latest creation was just as revolutionary. Dassler’s “Tokyo” It was much lighter than anything Puma, Dassler’s brother Rudolph’s brand, had to offer.
And it “fit like a glove,” Dick Bank recalled more than a half century later.
Bank, a broadcaster, jazz producer, constant on the Los Angeles sports scene for decades who died Sunday night at the age of 90, also spent much of the 1960s working as a rep for adidas. Bank was busy handing out free pairs of Tokyos to other athletes when an unknown American distance runner named Billy Mills showed up at the adidas shoe stand.
Unknown to most but not Bank.

In the 1950s, 60s and early 70s, few were more plugged in to the track and field than Bank. While preparing to broadcast the historic U.S.-Soviet Union meet at Stanford in 1962, Soviet coach Gavriil Korobkov told Bank “you know more about my athletes than I do.”
In the spring of 1964, Mills, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and was then a U.S. Marine Lt. stationed at Camp Pendleton, caught Bank’s eye. Keep your eye on the Marine, Bank told friends.

But another adidas rep, the company’s U.S. distributor, had no idea who Mills was and turned him away shoeless.
Hearing of the incident an enraged Bank shouted “where’s Billy” and ran out of the stand in search of Mills. Bank found him, apologized for his co-worker’s ignorance and rudeness and made sure that Mills would be wearing adidas when he stepped to the starting line for the Olympic 10,000 meter final.

“Of course he got his shoes size 12, if memory serve me correctly,” Bank wrote to me in 2015, one of the letters he faxed to me on an almost daily basis for several years.
A few days after the shoe stand incident, Mills pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history, storming out of nowhere down the chaotic homestretch of the 10,000 meter final, perhaps distance running’s most unlikely gold medalist ever, Bank providing the soundtrack that carried him across the finish line.

Broadcaster Bud Palmer convinced his bosses at NBC to hire Bank as an analyst for the network’s track coverage in Tokyo. Bank was at Palmer’s side when the bell rang out signaling the final lap of the 10,000.

“And here we go into the final lap of the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000,” Palmer announced.
Australia’s Ron Clarke, the pre-Olympic favorite, bumped Mills staggering into lane 3 as they passed a lap runner. At the top backstretch Mohammed Gammoudi of Tunisia charged into the lead. Clarke took off after him, also opening a gap on Mills. Around the turn it looked like Gammoudi might run away with the gold medal. But coming off the final turn, Clarke pulled up
alongside the Tunisian as they sprinted through track full of lapped runners on either side of them.
And then like Paul Revere, Bank shouted out a warning.
“Look at Mills!”
“Look at Mills!”

Clarke and Gammoudi had no response as Mills flew by them, Bank unleashing a whoop that chased his final steps.
“It has been written that I was giggling with glee,” Bank wrote to me in 2015 not long after his close friend Clarke’s death. “It was more like unrestrained euphoria that quickly became tears.”

The suits at NBC, however, did not share Bank’s joy.
“They said I was very unprofessional,” Bank recalled.
The network turned off his mike for two days.

On the third day he received a message to call NBC producer Dick Auerbach at his Tokyo hotel.
“I have some bad news,” Auerbach said.
Bank immediately thought something had happened to his father back in Los Angeles. The elder Bank had suffered a heart attack three years earlier.
“From today on, you are no longer working for NBC,” Auerbach said.
“So what’s the bad news,” Bank said without missing a beat.

In the following decades and with the emergence of YouTube, “Look at Mills! Look at Mills!” would become track’s equivalent of Al Michael’s exclamation point on another Olympic miracle. Dick Bank didn’t suffer fools—or sometimes even friends. I think whoever coined the phrase “brutally honest” did so with Dick in mind. I was on the receiving end of both his sharp critiques and his kindness, sometimes in the same day. To the end he was unapologetic about that golden day in Tokyo and in the rare occasions when he let his guard down you could sense his pride that his Tokyo call had been embraced by a new generation. More than once he told me how much it tickled him that my sons found the “Look at Mills! Look at Mills” T-shirts they bought online as hip.

He could even laugh at the incident at the Olympic Village shoe stand.
“I would have been absolutely mortified had he won in Puma.”


I was at home in S. Cal. watching the games and watching the 10K.
I would hardly call Dick Bank's call "Memorable". 
It was harsh and shrill which, God bless him! was the voice that God had given to Dick Bank.
"The wrong guy at the right time".
Dick Bank was a guy that you would admire for his depth of knowledge about track and field
but, he also could be quite elitist, arrogant, snobbish and downright cruel back - if you did not meet with his high standards, back in the day! - 

I know that I take a risk by saying these things "Over his Grave". But, it's not easy to stand back 
and hear praise heeped on "his call" -  as Billy Mills drove home Olympic Victory.
I was not surprised when NBC removed him from the broadcast booth.  John Bork

I never tire of hearing about any aspect of this race. Truly an inspiration to never give up. Run to the end. Give it more than you have to give. When he got bumped on the back stretch and lost his balance. When the last turn his opponents begin to really push to the finish Billy had to push even harder to overcome those steps from behind. As well as push through all the other runners they were lapping. It puts a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye every time. And the enthusiasm and joy heard in Dick Bank's voice just elevates that moment.
Thanks for another great moment in history. I truly love John Bork's input as well. There's always a story behind a story. This blog brings out those back stories one doesn't hear in the sports bylines!  Susan Abuasba

]Tom Trumpler sent this comment:

 - As a high school junior, I ran in the July 1964 Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City.
The race allotted two places in the marathon for the 1964 Olympic team. (The New York qualifying race allotted one place.)
It was 93 degrees, and, back then, no water tables. I finished, went in to the Municipal Building locker room, there they handed out a drink to finishers, which was a small carton of grapefruit juice.
I immediately gulped down that 6 ounce container of liquid, and then, just as quickly, leaned over a trash can to up-chuck it all.
Next I stumbled out to the park grass area at the back of the building, saw a patch of shade under a tree, and planted my face and torso in that cool green grass, savoring it and slowly recovering.
I noticed an athlete who was already showered and dressed sitting at the base of the tree leaning back on the trunk.  I asked him how he had done in the race.  He, very modestly, answered that he had finished in second place. Suddenly I sprung up and leaned towards him an exclaimed "That means you made the Olympic, you made the Olympic team!"  In a soft voice, he answered, nodding with a slight smile on his face, "Yes."   Still in awe that this runner a few feet away from me was now an Olympic marathoner, the conversation drifted to who he was -- he said that he ran for the Camp Pendleton Marines and that his name was Billy Mills!

 - The October 1964 day after Mills' 10K win, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, which had the best horse racing dope sheets and track (the horse track, that is) coverage in L.A., ran a sports section banner headline:
   "Longshot Mudder Wins 10,000 Meter Gold"  --  after the rain dampened Tokyo track.

Needless to say, this newspaper page hung in a place of reverence on my bedroom wall.

   Your writeup of Dick Bank was possibly the best you have done.  I felt as if I were actually there.  Dick Bank did the right things by "butting in" and bringing the joyful message which needed to be brought.  His call reminded me of Joe Nuxhall in the background, shouting over the mic of Marty Brennaman about a Reds home run.  The Cincinnati listeners came to enjoy Joe's unabashed loyalty to his team and the same should have been said of Dick Bank.  That the network fired him is no surprise because guys like that always make the wrong decision.  As in the case of Billy Mills, they had their minds made up in advance.  Ironically both Dick Bank and Billy Mills prevailed.
   Bill Schnier

Oh gosh, sobbing over the Billy Mills victory! Thanks so much for that.  Will write more soon; all's well. Good winter so far with my horse at a new winter quarters. "Track legends" photos still languishing on my to-do list.  Soon(er or later)  Grace  Butcher

I first knew of him in 1961 after he had been instrumental in bringing Igloi to Los Angeles from  Santa Clara.

After my NCAA 880 win, he wrote to me encouraging me to move to LA  to compete for the New LATC.
I remember his call of Billy Mills homestretch drive. Dick was exceedingly harsh and shrill in his excitement.  John Bork

John Bork , Jr.

2:44 PM (2 minutes ago)
to tommeJerryRichardRichThomaswayne.gutowskyDon

As I once again watched the Video attached to one of your emails, I was once both overjoyed and at the same time brought to tears
by Billy Mill's winning stretch drive at Toyko in the 10,000M! 

Our great Olympics of all time:

100M - Bob Hayes
110 H - Hayes Jones
200M - Henry Carr
400M Mike Larabee
400MIH - Rex Cauley
5000M - Bob Schul
10,000M - Billy Mills
Discus - Al Oerter
Shot Put - Dallas Long, Randy Matson 2nd.
Long Jump - Lynn Davies, GBR defeated Ralph Boston in the Rain slicked runway.
Pole Vault - Fred Hansen
400M Relay - USA
4 x 400M Relay - USA

aka John Bork

Monday, February 24, 2020

V 10 N. 13. Passing of Coach Harry Groves, R.I.P.

Today, Coach Harry Groves the long time track and field coach at Penn State University left us and is probably busy somewhere organizing an indoor meet or getting ready for the Penn Relays.   It is too soon to write a lot about Harry as we are waiting for letters and reports to come in to the Penn State Track and Field Blog which we will pass on to you as those testimonies come in.  Keep checking on this particular posting for updates.   I'm sure he is jawing with John Jacobs, my former coach at Oklahoma. 

Our sympathies go out to the Penn State Family on this occasion.

V10 N. 12. Mo Farah In a Bit of a Shit Storm Over L-Carnatine Injections

Once again, Sean Ingle of The Guardian is keeping us in the loop with the seemingly endless drama of doping in sport.  This time it is with a series of injections of L-carnatine,  a 'naturally occurring' amino acid into Mo Farah.  My question, if it is naturally occuring, why do you need more?  There is a legal limit of injecting 50ml of the stuff and Mo was well under that limit.   But when questioned by the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) about getting the injections by a United Kingdom  Athletics (UKA) doctor in the presence of then coach Alberto Salazar, Mo seemed to have forgotten that this had happened.  Mo according to the report denied taking the injections several times, this being just prior to the 2014 London Marathon (a race he did not run well).  Then after walking out of  that interview, he suddenly remembered he had taken the injections, walked back into the interview room and 'fessed up.  This to me seems in no way to admit to any wrongdoing, but it does make me wonder why  so many additives need to be pumped into elite runners, just under what the rule book allows.  It almost makes me wish we were back in the 'shamateur' days of the sport.  I don't know if we were ever in a truly drug or additive-free period of sport, but the game these days is being played out to the extreme of human capacity to absorb the 'stuff of victory'.   

As for 'forgetting what he had taken' I can completely understand.  Hell I take at least three drugs everyday to keep me alive and functioning, but if you asked me to name all three and the dosages, I would fail the test.  But forgetting those specific injections makes me think that he was getting a lot of injections all the time.  Otherwise why would you forget a couple of them that you took just a day or so before a big race?

The other problem that athletes sometimes forget or maybe never are aware of is the shallowness of their lives when this is the only goal they seem to have.  They appear to be living only for these few fleeting moments of youth (and the money) , and they make extraordinary efforts to extend their youth, as we now see world class sprinters in their late thirties, and they have no idea what lies around the corner.  I guess that is a classic description of youth.  It's how the old convince the young to go to war.  They have no idea.   

But in the day when many of the best athletes also had to earn a living in the real world just to be able to show up at the starting line, they were much better prepared for life after competition and  were less a victim of commercial parasites draining everything out of them and leaving them on the scrap heap.    George Brose

Here is Sean Ingle's report.

Mo Farah Changes Account During USADA Interview

I wonder how other sports athletes way into their prime, like, Roger Federer, stack up to additives and other levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc to help keep the body functioning?? As long as it is in an agreed level and is something the body would normally create why not? Some bodies don't have the right chemical balance and require some assistance. Maybe I have this drug issue all wrong but I see no harms if it is a natural substance of the body and stays within agreed limits.  Susan

Monday, February 17, 2020

V 10 N. 11 Asia Marathons, Some Are Off, Some Are On

Feb. 17, 2020

                                                            Tokyo Marathon Cancelled
I saw in today's  The Guardian , yes I read it almost everyday, and noted that the Tokyo Marathon has been cancelled.  Forty Thousand Entries being told to stay home.  With the Olympics only five months away, you don't want 40,000 wheezers running through the streets and boroughs of the nation's capitol and maybe one percent of that mob having been in contact with someone who has or has had the corona virus contaminating the air.   The entry fee for the Tokyo is $165, multiply that by 40,000 and you get a $6.6 million to be sent back.   The Elite Marathon will continue as scheduled however.  Now if you are an elite runner, how willing are you to risk it?  Probably a pretty safe bet that you won't get sick, but.......    When the Spanish Influenza circled the globe in 1918 millions died.  We're taking better precautions these days but there is no guarantee that everyone will be spared.   American casualties in WW I  were greater from the Spanish Flue than from bullets and artillery fire...
                                                            Seoul Marathon Still on 
Dave Elger, an old friend and very good marathoner living in South Korea has informed me that there are 30 confirmed cases of the virus in South Korea.  Consequently   some restrictions are  now being placed on the Korea Marathon which is coming up shortly.  However at the time of this writing, the race is still on.  This is another 40,000 ($70 entry feex 40K = $2.8  million) entries with an international half marathon.   The international half has been postponed to September.  They may be able to pick up a few Tokyo Olympics stragglers needing some pocket money from that race.  Their marathon is still on, but with a lot of caveats.

Here are a few of the things the Korea organizing committee has posted.  Some a bit confusing but nevertheless.

Thank you for all the love and support. Also, we would like to appreciate 40,000 runners and 4,000 volunteers for participating in the 2020 Seoul Marathon.

We are currently receiving numerous inquiries if the COVID-19 outbreak affects Seoul Marathon schedule. The Seoul Marathon Committee confirms that at this moment all preparations for the race are in accordance with the original schedule.

However, we strongly recommend considering your cancellation and request a refund, if you don't feel well or are insecure about the situation before February 24th, 2020 at 6:00 PM. (Korean local time GMT+9)

The Korean government has advised all citizens and travelers who have been to China within the past 14 days or have fever, cough or breathing problems, not to participate at mass or public events. We urge all the participants to strictly follow this recommendation.

If you are currently staying in China, please reconsider your participation in accordance with the measurement of Korean government.

Korean government has also announced that the following procedure will be applied to the citizens and travelers who arrive in Korea.

-Hubei issued passport holders or any foreigner who visited Hubei province within the past 14 days are not allowed to board a flight heading to South Korea.

-All visas issued by Korean consulate in Wuhan are not valid.

-Flight transfer in Korea of Chinese passengers without a visa regardless of their departure is not allowed anymore.

-Any foreigner who is eligible for a Visa to enter Korea is not allowed to transfer in Korea without a Visa.

-Every passenger who arrives in Korea from China, Hong Kong and Macau must provide a valid mobile phone and number.

-Every foreigner who arrives in Korea must fill out a Health Questionnaire.

-Every foreigner who arrives in Korea must fill out a Travel Record Declaration.

-All passengers from China, Hong Kong and Macau must check their fever and cough symptoms by thermal cameras and thermometers.

-If you have no significant symptoms it is mandatory to download Self Diagnosis Mobile App and report fever, cough and breathing difficulty immediately if those symptoms should occur.

-All passengers from China, Hong Kong and Macau should provide and verify contacts and addresses in Korea.
Depending on further situations, conditions may change. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

V 10 N. 10 Mondo Duplantis Puts Another Notch on His Pole

February 17, 2020

The Guardian and Sean Ingle reported this morning that Mondo Duplantis has raised the WR in the Pole Vault another cm to 6.18 in Glasgow yesterday.   Twice in one week.

Mondo Duplantis reinforced his status as being at the vanguard of athletics’ new wave of super talents by breaking the world pole vault record for the second time in a week at the Glasgow grand prix.
The way the 20-year-old cleared 6.18m – easily beating the mark he set in Poland last week – to earn another $30,000 bonus from World Athletics suggested there will be plenty more pay cheques coming his way.
“It’s the best little split second that could ever be,” said Duplantis, describing how he felt once he was over the bar. “Everything builds up to that one tiny little moment. That little free-fall is a magical moment.”
The Swede has already had plenty of those moments in his fledgling career. He was a child prodigy took up the event aged four – it helped that his dad, who cleared 5.80m in the 1990s, built a pole vault pit in their back garden – and set world bests from seven to twelve years.
By 14, Duplantis had already vaulted higher than a London double-decker bus. By 18 he had cleared six metres. Who knows how high he could eventually go now? “Every competition I go into I want to win and that’s the main goal,” he said afterwards. “I want to jump high, I want to break the world record but first you’ve got to win and that’s the main goal. But if I have a bit of energy left, I’ll try to crank it up.”
When asked about his brilliant run of form, Duplantis said that leaving Louisiana State University to turn professional had made a massive difference. “I wasn’t going out every night, but I tried not to let athletics overpower me where I couldn’t live any life,” he said of his time as a student. “But since then I’ve cut out a lot. This is my first year as a professional – I’m not a college kid any more – so I wanted to take it pretty professionally. I try to eat better, I have a better sleep schedule, take recovery more seriously and train harder. I feel great doing it.”
As for what he will spend his bonus on, Duplantis is uncertain. “We’ll see,” he said, with a smile. “Maybe I’ll keep saving.”

Sunday, February 16, 2020

V 10 N. 9 Some Pages from an Old Program

February 15, 2020
      I received several photo copied pictures from a  program for the Princeton Invitation Track
Meet held on June 19, 1937.   (Bruce Kritzler provided these documents.)  There must have been a lot going on at the school with graduation and other year end activities.  Still there were some big time races on that track in the late 1930s.   Jack Lovelock came over to race the best Americans on July 15, 1933 and set a world record in the mile in Palmer Stadium on the Princeton campus. (see article below)  Lovelock in fact strongly resembles the lead runner in this cover art work.

      The second picture is the Two Mile Run line up with world records current and pending and American record holders.

     The third page is a list of athletes appearing from around the US, and one international Luigi Beccali the Italian 1932 1500 Olympic champion.   I don't know if Beccali stayed in the US during WWII or went back to Italy. He did end up living in the States in Florida after the war and was a prosperous wine merchant.

     Of note in picture three below, all the athetes' AAU registration numbers as well as their race numbers are listed in the program.  This must have been one of the formalities of the times that the pretentious AAU heirarchy prescribed on everyone.  Not just to be 'registered' and perform under their approval, but to demonstrate their power by putting those numbers in the program to display that overwhelming power, as if saying,   "See what we did to Jesse Owens when he didn't follow our orders after Berlin?"  At the same time Avery Brundage had received the contract to build the new German embassy in Washington and enjoyed the Asian objets d'art    presented to him by the Germans.  Art taken from Jewish citizens by the Nazi regime. 

Beccali's 'international registration' is also listed.  George Brose

An archival photo of Zamperini before his ill fated flight that led to a prison camp and torture.
He is looking through a flak hole in his aircraft.

A brief write up follows about the Princeton Invitational of 1937 in the Alumni Magazine giving us some info about the upcoming meeting.  Note the language is not the same as the typical sportswriting of the day, but a university journal's attempt at authenticity projected to an 'elite establishment' of Princeton alumni readers.  I'm wondering how these Tiger alums perceived the mention of two sets of twins  from North Texas Teachers College, Elmer and Delmer Brown and Blaine and Wayne Rideout trodding on that hallowed track.  Was it one of welcome or just tolerance of the unwashed from the Dust Bowl?  Here is that touting of the upcoming track meet.

...."Banner fields have been selected in the quarter-mile, two mile and mile features which should promise a repetition of former Invitation Meet thrills..  "

    "Six men comprise the 440 yard entries including the Brown twins, Elmer and Delmer of North Texas Teachers, Dennis Shore of South Africa, Bob Young , Olympic team member for U.C.L.A., Jim Herbert and Eddie O'Brien winner of the event in 1935 who will be making his farewell appearance on the 19th."

     "The other famous pair of twins from North Texas Teachers, Blaine and Wayne Rideout are entered in the 2 mile run along with Ray Sears, who won the event two years ago, Louis Zamperini of Southern California, Olympic competitor, and Howard Welch, Cornell Intercollegiate Champion."

     " The mile fixture, the meeting between the world's greatest performers in this event offers another possibility for the long heralded  'Mile of the Century'.  Although Jack Lovelock conqueror of Bonthron and Cunningham here two years ago, is out of competition,  Archie San Romani, who took the measure of the New Zealander in a special race in Palmer Stadium, last fall, will match strokes with Cunningham, Venzke, Luigi Beccali, the 1932 Olympic Champion at 1500 meters, and Don Lash, who toured the two mile event in the rain last year for a new World Record in the event at  the first running here 3 years ago, Cunningham who recently completed a sensational indoor campaign and last week hung up a new World Record in the three quarters at Travers Island. "

     "Bill Bonthron '34 who used to engage in some memorial clashes with Cunningham and Gene Venzke will watch his old opponents flash by while he acts as a judge."

     History tells us that San Romani won this mile race in his all time personal best of 4:07.2.
I am still searching for the 2 mile outcome.  Youtube carries several memorable races from Pinceton in the late 1930s, if you search a bit.

Readers of this blog are always have my back.  Tom Trumpler just sent three clippings from the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporting on the Princeton Meeting and the NCAA meet which went off on the same weekend.  Zamperini won the two mile in 9:28.2.    Tom asks why Zamperini went to the Princeton meet instead of the NCAA.  He surmizes that Dean Cromwell figured USC could still win the meet without Zamperini.   The Brown Twins got in the results with Delmer winning the 440 in 48.0 and Elmer coming in 6th.   The Rideout brothers did not place in the 2 miles.  Full results of both meets can be seen below.  The blue sheet is the box score for the Princeton meet.  I made some comments about the writing in the Princeton Alumni journal, and I have to as well in the St. Louis P.D.  If an athlete is not white, he is immediately defined as being a Negro.  Just the way things were written in those days.

Tom's notes on each clipping follow.  Imagine all this track and field material in one issue of newspaper.  No way that will happen today.

              The article on the Princeton Invite, plus results.
            - The text in the article recounts in great detail the mile, but nothing about the two-mile!
            - To learn that Louie Zamperini was the two-mile winner, go to the summary of results!
              (Hey, why wasn't Louie running at the NCAA meet, maybe it was because Dean Cromwell 
              knew he had it won.

- A banner headline of Archie San Romani and Lash running the mile.
            - A column 5 sub-headline notes that USC won the NCAA track championship

 The article and summary results of the NCAA meet. Johnny Woodruff set an NCAA 800M mark of 1:50.3

This is the story of that earlier 'Mile of the Century' when Lovclock set a  World Record in the Mile.

This article is from the website New Zealand History

Jack Lovelock’s run at Princeton University beat the record for the mile, held by Jules Ladoumègue, by 1.6 seconds. The race was dubbed the ‘greatest mile of all time’ by Time magazine.
The race was part of the sixth annual Oxford-Cambridge vs Princeton-Cornell track meet. There was much media interest in the showdown between Lovelock (Oxford) and Bill Bonthron (Princeton), with speculation that the world record might be broken. Bonthron had won that year’s intercollegiate 800-m and 1500-m events impressively. As a warm-up for the Princeton-Cornell meet, Lovelock and his teammate Forbes Horan (Cambridge) competed against a Yale-Harvard team in the mile. Lovelock won this race in 4 minutes 12.6 seconds, an intercollegiate record.
On the day of the event there were about 5000 spectators at Palmer Stadium, Princeton. Rain threatened but held off, and by the start of the programme at 4.30 p.m. conditions were good for running. The mile was a tactical race. Bonthron took the lead before giving way to John Hazen (Cornell). To Lovelock’s delight, they set a fast pace. With half a mile to go, Bonthron moved back to the front. At the top corner Horan overtook Bonthron to make sure the ¾-mile mark was reached in the target time. Horan soon dropped back, leaving the race to Bonthron and Lovelock.
With 300 m to go, Bonthron pulled away. Lovelock was prepared and shortened and quickened his stride, closing the gap before the final bend. As they came into the home straight he drew level and then hit the front. Bonthron was unable to muster his usual ‘blistering kick’ and Lovelock breasted the tape seven strides ahead.
Lovelock’s time of 4 minutes 7.6 seconds broke the world record by 1.6 seconds. It was the first time a New Zealander had set a recognised world record. Now the top miler in the world, Lovelock was inundated with invitations to social engagements and races in Europe and the United States. In 1933 Lovelock ran 33 major races, winning most of them. That year he came second to baseballer Carl Hubbell in the Associated Press Athlete of the Year poll in the US.

More on those Eagle Twins
The “Eagle Twins” consisted of two sets of twins on the North Texas College men’s track team. Elmer Brown, Delmer Brown, Wayne Rideout and Blaine Rideout set a world record in the indoor mile and seven-eighths medley relay on February 5, 1938, at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden, New York.

Elmer and Delmer Brown and Blaine and Wayne Rideout

Elmer Brown

Delmer Brown

A ticket to the Princeton Invitational cost  $1.00. But you could request special seating with this form.
Comments from Bill Schnier on the 1937 NCAA Meet.

   Today there would not be a college sponsored meet on the same day as the NCAA.  Was T&F a bit like basketball where the NIT was considered more important than the NCAA for about 15 years?  At the NCAA in 1937 Jesse Owens was no longer at OSU but disqualified for academic reasons.  However, Cleveland East Tech and OSU teammate, David Albritton, was still present and won the NCAA high jump.  He would later be elected as a state representative in Ohio.  Southern Cal was the team champion once again with a strong showing from Indiana.  Were any of the members of the famous USA 1926 Olympic 4x100 relay running at Princeton because they were not at the NCAA?  A number of small schools, later Division II, would  emerge with placers in the meet.  The mile at Princeton was won with a 4:07 but at the NCAA it was 4:13.  Only Southern Cal, Stanford, Georgia Tech and Georgia placed in the three sprints among warm weather schools with the others coming from cold weather climates.  That would not happen today.  The winning times of 9.7, 21.3 and 47.1 were comparable to those of Lamar Preyor of TMHS in 1975:  9.4, 21.0 and 47.7.  How much of that can be attributed to polyurethene tracks?  No women were at either meet. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

V10 N. 8 Another Article on Shoe Wars from The Guardian

Jonathan Liew's article on shoe tech today sums up a lot the questions and views that we are currently dealing with in the shoe wars.  Actually at this point in time it is not a shoe war so much as a shoe conquest and post war occupation of the running world.  Bold type are my comments.

Running reaches crossroads as Nike-led footwear arms race infects mainstream

from The Guardian Feb. 11, 2020  by Jonathan Liew
There was a guy at parkrun (fun run) the weekend before last wearing a pair of lime-green Vaporflys on the start line. At least he looked suitably sheepish about it – pointedly ignoring the sharp whispers, the discreet pointing, the gentle ribbing from his running club mates. With its clownish platform heels and lurid alien colour scheme, the Vaporfly is not a shoe for blending into the crowd. Even in a field of 600 anonymous runners the eye is always going to be drawn to the one wearing what looks like a mutant tropical fish on each foot. The race began and off he streaked: a blur of lime-green disappearing into the distance, leaving the rest of us, with our boring reasonably-priced shoes and sniggering moral judgments, in his dust.
Of course, it’s easy to scoff when the stakes are minuscule. Turning up for your local Saturday morning fun run in £250 space-age trainers: objectively very funny, and largely analogous to the guy who wears his Lionel Messi astro boots to Wednesday five-a-side (and leaves with several painful stud-shaped indentations in his ankle). What happens, though, when the stakes are far higher? When the prize is an Olympic gold medal, when the audience is global, when the margins are life-changing? Should it matter what shoes the competitors are wearing? And if not, why not?  (Haven't we as spectators always looked at the shoes as well as the runner wearing them?)
These are some of the questions with which athletics has been grappling in recent months. In a way they go well beyond the optimum thickness of a nitrogen-infused midsole or whether two carbon plates should be allowed to overlap. No question of sporting ethics can be resolved purely through science and, by the same token, the terms of our emotional engagement are far too important to be dictated by administrators bearing formulae. The question of the Nike Vaporflys – and its successor models – is thus one that cuts to the very core of what sport is about, or should be.
By now readers will be aware of how Vaporfly-shod athletes have been laying waste to the record books, quietly and quickly changing the face of the sport. Eight of the 12 fastest men’s or women’s marathons in history have been run in the last 18 months. In October, in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run the marathon distance in under two hours. The prototype Alphafly shoes he wore for that effort are banned but last month World Athletics retroactively declared the Vaporflys legal as well as the records set in them.
The first point to make here – although in the scale of things, not a terrifically helpful one – is that Nike have done nothing illegal or even that novel. Carbon plates date back to the early 2000s, with Paul Tergat breaking the marathon world record in a pair of Filas in 2003. Nor is there much new in the deployment of energy-efficient foam, which Adidas first pioneered almost a decade ago. Nike’s stroke of insight has been to synthesise largely existent technologies into a single devastating package, one that with the backing of World Athletics has in effect rewritten the terms of distance running. Either you join the arms race (if, that is, you can negotiate Nike’s imperial battalion of patent lawyers). Or you lose.
You don’t have to be a luddite or a nostalgic to wonder about where this vision of athletics might ultimately lead. For those at the vanguard of the revolution these are genuinely transformative times – a chance to rebrand athletics as a high-powered, jaw-dropping spectator entertainment. When Kipchoge states, with all the evangelical zeal of a tech bro in a headset giving a Ted talk, that “we must go with technology” and compares Nike’s trainer innovation with the role of tyre manufacturers in Formula One, he is articulating an entirely different sort of sport from the one we grew up with: one in which the turning wheel of technological progress is not merely an auxiliary sideshow but part of the spectacle itself.
The main gripe here is not driven by ideology or anti-progress. We are not talking about returning to cinder tracks and putting everyone in Dunlop Green Flash. (Converse or Wilson trainers) Nor is it the increasingly corrosive influence of Nike on athletics, an entire sport now in effect in thrall to a single company; nor the inevitable human wastage of athletes physiologically unsuited to the new technology or sponsored by companies unable to replicate it or simply unable to afford it; nor even the colossal environmental dereliction of a shoe that has to be thrown away after 200 miles of use(200 miles?  I could barely get my Gazelles broken in at that distance.)
No, the real point is this: in the same way that nobody reads novels to marvel at the typeface, nobody watches athletics – in many ways the oldest and purest sport of all – to gawp at the trainers. (Actually not many watch athletics aka 'track and field' period.) Do you know how many butt-numbingly boring articles about shoe technology I had to read before I could start writing this column? Even its very existence feels like the triumph of the inane over the essential, a lame surrender to the Nike marketing octopus. (Woman in Nike’s PR department, reading Vaporfly’s press coverage: “Oh, no. Another article criticising our shoes for being too fast. How utterly terrible.”)
But then, if you’re a sport in 2020 and not somehow facilitating disposable parasite-consumerism, then do you even really exist? Perhaps once, long ago, before we were terminally jaded by doping scandals, we could still cling to the idea that athletics somehow represented the very best of us as a species; that its feats might inspire us, rather than simply inspire us to buy trainers; that this was genuinely a sport operating by the laws of the body, not the laws of the market. Or perhaps this too was always delusion: a lime-green speck on the horizon, gently receding ever further into the distance.
(I'm wondering what can be done with 'worn out' Vaporflys.   Could some kind of communal art project be made with dozens  molded together in a sculpture or a wall hanging? Or maybe recycled into engine mounts for electric vehicles? Or flotation devices for Kenyan  and Ethiopean refugees crossing the Mediteranean Sea in unsafe vessels?)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

V 10 N. 7 Mondo Duplantis sets WR Indoors 20'3'' 6.17 meters

What an incredible performance, incredible video, who needs a translator?

From The Advocate.  No by line  Feb. 8, 2020

TORUN, Poland — Armand "Mondo" Duplantis set the world record for the pole vault with a clearance of 6.17 meters Saturday at Orlen Copernicus Cup as part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour. He broke Renaud Lavillenie’s mark of 6.16 meters set in 2014.
“I’ve wanted to break the world record since I was 3 years old,” said Duplantis, the former LSU vaulter and Lafayette native.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m on cloud nine right now. There’s no secret to what I do. I just put in a lot of hard work. I can’t thank my parents enough for helping me to get to where I’m at now. All the support I had from everybody is the reason why I did this.”
When translated into imperial form, Duplantis cleared 20 feet, 2.9 inches.
Duplantis, 20, competes for Sweden, his mother's homeland, and made a strong statement with the Tokyo Olympics just six months away.
During the competition, Duplantis cleared the following heights: 5.52 meters, 5.72 meters, 5.92 meters, and 6.01 meters before moving up to the world-record height of 6.17 meters. He cleared the height on his second try.
Tim Lemaire, Lafayette High athletic director and boys track and field coach commented on the record, saying, "I saw the video, and after what he did a few days ago (at PSD Bank Meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany), just missing (the world record), I guess we all knew it was a matter of time."
Lemaire also described how close he came to the record in Germany.
"He had his body over it, and he kind brushed it with his arm coming down," Lemaire said. "That knocked it off, but he was over it. His jump at six meters previous to that, he was way over it. So I could see him breaking this again often and frequently over the next few months. Who knows?"
Lemaire said after watching Duplantis practice every day in high school, he knew Duplantis was destined to break a world record.
"When he was at Lafayette High, just the things he would do at practice, watching him jump 18-6 like it was nothing in practice, you knew something great was coming," Lemaire said. "He's so motivated and focused. That was dream, and he obviously worked (extremely hard) for it."

 I watched Mondo's vault again and saw what he did with his legs.  Rather than drive one knee up and have his takeoff leg stay behind to create a split, Mondo rocked back and brought both legs to his chest and thrusted both legs just in front of the bar.  That seems like a good idea and gave him more momentum to take advantage of the unbending of the pole.  Bill Schnier

Mondo's hips were a good foot over the bar, thighs grazed the bar on way down. More records ahead.  Bruce Kritzler
   I only saw Mondo's WR vault but he didn't even look as if he rocked back all the way.  I think he has more in him.  Bill Schnier

Mondo wr in pv Donovan Brazier  AR in 800. Good start to year !

V 10 N. 7 Update on What's Happening with Doping in Track and Field

Feb. 9, 2020
I've learned over the years that The Guardian is a great source of independent information not only in international and American news events but also sports.  Though heavily tied to rugby, soccer, and cricket, it also has some very good articles on Track and Field, or Athletics as the sport is more commonly referred to over there.  Also unlike most newspapers in the world,  The Guardian, can still be read without paying a subscription fee.   They make appeals for financial support, but they do not insist that you pay, and they still provide high quality reporting.  Three days ago Donald McRace, produced a very up to date article on Edwin Moses, who we all know, but who is also very at the center of things with the doping scandals that have continued to drain the credibility of our sport and even influence the powers that be to look the other way.  Moses as I'm sure you are aware has been very outspoken on the abuse of PEDs.  This article will inform you about what is presently going on and what to expect in the months leading up to the Olympics.  That is if the Corona Virus allows us to have an Olympics this year.  Anyone signed up for a cruise to Tokyo this summer?

If I may be allowed to editorialize briefly, I can only wish that the cheaters of the past who were never exposed or were protected by their respective national federations would now be named.  Sometimes it is better to rewrite the history books, even if it does give your country a bloody nose.    There are plenty of  them who benefitted from getting an illegal boost.   Without more tub thumping, here is the link to the article by McRae.   George Brose

"We All Knew Doping Was Happening"

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...