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Archive for the ‘Track & Field’


Mary Decker’s 1982 “Spur-of-the-Moment” World Record 190

Posted on March 17, 2012 by Rojo Grande

Over the years, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon has hosted some of the most prestigious track meets in the world.

Multiple US Olympic Trials, USA National Championships, NCAA  conference and national outdoor championships, and the notorious Prefontaine Classic have all contributed to the incredible legacy of Hayward’s hallowed grounds.

Champions might give partial credit to that legacy, or to the sophisticated and supportive Hayward fans, or the mild Willamette climate in evaluating their exploits there.

But at Hayward, there is another mysterious force embedded within the very soil. Some call it the Hayward Magic.

Such is the power of that force that even in a casual and insignificant all-comer’s meet—with about 500 fans ringing the track—the unlikely can occur…like a world record.

On July 16, 1982 Mary Decker (Tabb), running on a whim, officially expanded the limits of human performance in the women’s 10,000-meter run under the lights at Hayward.

Modern runners, accustomed to a detailed regimen of energy intake, precise training protocol, and mandatory pre-race recovery might be surprised at the unconventional circumstances which precipitated Decker’s record run.

Let’s take a look back. Read the rest of this entry →

The Greatest Olympic 100m Champions 12

Posted on July 28, 2011 by Rod Crowley

With the countdown on to the 2012 London Olympics (yesterday was one year til the opening ceremony), I’ll be starting a new series of posts looking at some of the greatest Olympians. To start off here’s a view on the best ever 100m runners.

Who was or is the best ever Olympic Mens 100m Champion is not necessarily the easiest question to answer but having seen Usain Bolt take the Gold Medal in a new World Record time in the 2008 Olympic Final at the Beijing Olympic games, it is difficult to challenge that the reigning champion is the best ever, but who else must be considered?

Bolt of course also took the Gold Medal in the 200m in Beijing and has since gone on and broken that world record several times. His current record of 9.58 recorded in Berlin in 2009 will be hard for even him to beat and it is why he is the favorite in the 100m Odds to win a second Olympic Gold medal next year at London 2012.

The Olympic champion from the 2000 Games in Sydney, Maurice Greene was an outstanding champion in his own right. He was a world record holder during his heyday and also won two 100m world championships in Athens and Seville.

Greene, who is an American is also a former world indoor champion as well as the world record holder for the 60m and is the joint fastest man of all time over the 50m dash. Read the rest of this entry →

Biggest Milestones in U.S. Women’s Sports History 7

Posted on July 23, 2011 by Jena Ellis

Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win three Gold Medals in a single Olympics.

America’s heartbreaking loss to Japan in the Women’s World Cup final, though painful, was hardly a setback for women’s sports in this country. During this summer, the world’s No. 1 team provided enough drama to captivate men and women from coast to coast, drawing large television audiences and even setting a Twitter record of 7,196 tweets per second. Hope Solo and Abby Wambach became household names and served as inspiration for girls who strive to play soccer and other sports at the highest levels. None of it would’ve happened, however, without the following milestones. Each one marked an important moment in not just women’s sports history, but sports history.

1. President Nixon makes Title IX a reality (1972)
Signed into law by the socially moderate President Nixon, Title IX specified that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Participation in women’s sports has grown significantly in the decades following its passage, as a 2008 study indicated that women’s college athletics has expanded to 9,101 teams (8.65 per school).

2. Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals (1960)
Women’s track and field became one of the Olympics’ flagship events thanks to Rudolph, who became the first American woman to secure three gold medals (100m, 200m, 4 x 100m relay) during the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Dubbed “the fastest woman in history,” a worldwide audience was able to witness her blazing speed on television, enabling her popularity to soar. Her impact was especially felt in the US, where a demand for equality was just beginning to manifest.

3. Women’s soccer wins its second World Cup (1999)

This one was extra special because the US was the host country, allowing the women’s soccer team to demonstrate its talent before pro-American home crowds, interest that even surprised the players. Never before had America rallied behind a women’s team in such a manner — most people forgot about the gender distinction and milestones, and just rode the wave of patriotism to the final. That’s when, of course, Brandi Chastain memorably connected on the game-winning penalty kick, ripping off her jersey in exuberance. With 90,185 fans in attendance, it became the most-attended women’s sporting event in history. At the time, it garnered a remarkable 11.4 rating, the most-watched soccer game in US television history and one-tenth of a point higher than the average rating of that summer’s NBA Finals. Read the rest of this entry →

“The Blade Runner” One Step Closer to Olympic Dream 5

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Rojo Grande

Try to wrap your brain around this scene:

An 11-month-old South African baby lies in a post-op recovery room, having just had both legs amputated just below the knees.

As his parents hover over the boy, they put aside their own doubts and fears to bravely speak words of affirmation and hope.

Yet secretly, in private moments, they wonder how their child will ever cope in a world populated by people with legs, ankles and feet.

As is true in much of life, the outward appearance often speaks the loudest while hidden inside, the attributes of courage, heart and determination quietly do their work and ultimately have the last word.

Oscar Pistorius was born without fibulae (lower leg bones). His deformed lower legs were surgically removed before he was a year old. He was fitted with carbon fiber prostheses which emulate the function of leg bones, ankles and feet.

In time, the boy with no legs became actively involved in rugby, water polo and tennis. In 2004, he took up running as a therapeutic recovery exercise following a rugby injury.

Before long he was dominating every Paralympics race he entered, from 100m through 400m. Eventually he became the world record holder in the “disabled” version of the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints.

In Beijing, 2008, he won sprinting’s Olympic triple crown (100m, 200m, 400m).

The “disabled” version.

Some would say his accomplishments represented the peak of his potential. But Oscar knew other, more able-bodied runners were producing faster times—and he wanted to run with the big dogs.

He even had visions of one day running beside the world’s best in the World Championships and especially in the Olympics. Read the rest of this entry →

Pat Farmer’s Pole to Pole Run: An Inspiring Journey 6

Posted on June 25, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Pat Farmer is running the equivelent of two marathons every day during his journey from pole to pole.

My family was nearly finished with our six hour journey this afternoon from Greer, South Carolina to Keysville, Virginia when we noticed an RV on the side of the road with the interesting words “Pole to Pole Run.com” plastered on the side. Soon after, we saw a solo figure wearing white and blue running along the side of the road. Not too far behind was another RV.

Intrigued, I quickly googled the web site (it’s okay, my wife was driving) and soon discovered the story of Pat Farmer and his amazing journey to raise money for the International Red Cross.

As it turns out, while our journey for the day ended just a few minutes later when we reached my parent’s home, Pat’s year-long journey is really just starting.

Imagine getting out of bed every day and your job was to run for eight straight hours. It is likely that most of us wouldn’t make it much longer than a few days before we were worn out and ready for a break.

In April, Pat Farmer, a 49-year-old former member of the Australian Parliament, started a year long journey to run from “Pole to Pole” starting at the North Pole and running all the way to the South Pole.

Already a world record holding endurance runner, Farmer decided to tackle his greatest challenge to support the great work that Red Cross does in times of crisis and to inspire others to realize that they can make a difference. Read the rest of this entry →

Track and Field Rewind: Michael Johnson, 1993 2

Posted on June 21, 2011 by Rojo Grande

Even the great Michael Johnson had to work his way up the ladder.

The world’s greatest quarter-miler has enjoyed over two decades of respect and admiration. As is true of most iconic sports figures, Michael Johnson has seemingly always been the face of his primary event – the men’s 400 meter run.

But there was a time when Johnson was shunned from the exclusive club of tried-and-true world-class 400m runners.

Fittingly, it was in the magical confines of Eugene’s Hayward Field – and the 1993 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships – where Johnson paid his dues and entered the club.

Or at least got his foot in the door.

Johnson’s credentials to that point certainly merited attention. He was undefeated lifetime in all his 400m finals races. He was the only human to have broken both the 20-second barrier in the 200m (19.79) and 44-second barrier in the 400m (43.98).

Yet his elite 400m detractors questioned his durability and conditioning. Johnson was regarded as a 200m man who only ran the 400 in single races – without having to endure the grueling qualifying rounds of say, the World Championships or Olympics.

In addition, Johnson’s relatively short physical stature and running style – leaning backward, with short choppy strides – defied the accepted convention for a true 400m runner.

And so, as if to make a statement in Eugene as to his conditioning, Johnson arrogantly burst into a huge lead in his preliminary heat, then casually ambled – almost walked – to the finish line in 45.62.

World record holder Butch Reynolds (43.29), seeing the gauntlet thrown down, kept his powder dry in his quarterfinal heat but then blistered the track in the semis (44.81).

Quincy Watts, the 1992 Barcelona Olympic champion (43.50) also saw Johnson’s display and was determined to overcome an injury-plagued season (only five races) and put the young upstart in his proper place. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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