Haile Gebrselassie, 2009 real, -Berlin, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Bob Schul, Bob Beamon, Bill Dellinger are the iconic athletes that captured October 18
forever, in the following piece by Walt Murphy. Will Haile Gebrselassie be one of the greats?
Surely, his 25 world records, world champs and Olympic medals make him our modern equivalent of Paavo Nurmi? His most recent world records have been amazing.
Consider this for a moment though. Bob Schul delivered the goods with the whole world expecting it. Bill Dellinger, in his third Olympics, dug in deep, and chased down Michel Jazy
for the Olympic bronze medal. Bob Beamon, four years later, put the long jump so far out of reach, at the record lasted from 1968 to 1991!
Haile wants to put the marathon record out of reach, do you think he can do it? Send us a note and tell me why or why not?
This Day in Track & Field
days after Billy Mills stunned the track world with his win in the
10,000-meters in Tokyo, Bob Schul and Bill Dellinger gave American
distance running another boost by winning the gold and bronze medals,
respectively, in the 5,000 on a muddy track. France’s Michel Jazy took
the lead from Dellinger just as the runners entered the final lap,
with Schul sitting in 5th place. Jazy started to pull away as
everyone wondered when Schul would unleash his fabled kick. It
finally appeared in the middle of the backstretch, but had he waited
too long? Jazy still had a good 5-meters on Schul and Germany’s Harold
Norpoth in the middle of the final turn, but then Schul caught the
fading Frenchman with less than 100-meters to go and went on to win in
13:48.7. Dellinger, like Schul a member of USATF’s Hall of Fame, put
on his own furious finish and nipped Jazy at the line to win the bronze
medal. Schul’s last 400 was 54.8, and that was after a realtively slow
first 100. His final 300 split was 38.7, the same that Peter Snell
would run in his dominating win in the 1500 two days later!
While Mills arrived in Tokyo under the radar of most experts,
Schul went to the starting line of the 5000 as the favorite. He had the
fastest time in the world (an American Record of 13:38.0), had set a
World Record for 2-miles in late August(8:26.4), and had shown his
speed with a win(3:58.9) over mile specialist Jim Grelle.
But he still had some concerns as the Games approached. “I was
very fortunate the Games were held in Tokyo in 1964,” said Schul, who
has fought a lifelong battle against asthma. “The monsoons were late
that year and it had been raining during the Games. The rain cleared
the air of pollen and pollution. It was a great help to me.”
Schul is still active in the sport as a coach: http://www.bobschul.net/
Video-Last Two Laps:http://www.runningpast.
Bill Rodgers on the race: http://www.
Sports Illustrated Vault:
Joan Nesbit Interviews Schul: http://runningtimes.com/Print.
Schul HOF Bio:http://www.usatf.org/
Dellinger HOF Bio: http://www.usatf.org/
field for the men’s long jump at the Mexico City Olympics included the
four longest jumpers in history–Russia’s Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, who had
equalled Ralph Boston’s World Record of 27-4 3/4(8.35m) in this
stadium in 1967, Boston, the 1960 gold medalist, Great Britain’s Lynn
Davies, who had upset Boston and “Ter-O” to win the gold medal exactly
4 years prior in the rain at the 1964 Games in Tokyo, and Bob Beamon,
the heavy favorite to win the gold medal here.
Given the jumper-friendly 7,350′ altitude of Mexico City, a world
record seemed a certainty. Dick Drake wrote in T&F News’ Preview
issue, “…a 28-foot jump can not be ruled out”. He was wrong, of
course, but nobody was complaining. Jumping 4th in the final, and
before the other “heavy hitters”, Beamon, putting his 9.5y speed to
good use down the runway(and aided by a maximum legal tailwind of
2.0mps[some still feel it was over the limit]), put a virtual end to
the competiton by skipping the 28′ barrier with his amazing leap of
29-2 1/2(8.90m). There was a delay in posting the mark, since
officials couldn’t line up the new optical device with Beamon’s mark in
the landing pit–they hadn’t anticipated anyone jumping that far! They
finally brought out an old-fashioned steel tape and posted the
unthinkable–8.90-meters. Sitting right above the long jump pit with
other members of the Track and Field News Tour, I quickly found 8.90 in
my conversion book and saw (could it be?) 29-2 1/2. I looked nervously
at other fans doing the same thing and it was like a collective thought
had come over us–“I’m not going to be the one to say 29-2 1/2–I’ll
get laughed at!”. We finally accepted the fact that we had just seen
one of the most remarkable performances in sporting history and joined
in the celebration. An overwhelmed Beamon dropped to his knees when he
realized what he had done and was comforted by teammates Boston and the
late Charlie Mays. And the term “Beamonesque” was born. A hard rain
started falling soon after Beamon’s jump and, combined with the
emotional blow of watching Beamon’s jump, none of the other competitors
could break 27-feet(8.23m), let alone mount a challenge to Beamon, who
passed his last four jumps after reaching only 26-4 1/2(8.04m) in the
2nd round. Germany’s Klaus Beer (26-10 1/2/8.19m) won the silver medal
while Boston(26-9 1/4/8.16m) completed his Olympic set by taking the
bronze medal by less than two inches over Ter-Ovaneysan(26-7
3/4/8.12m). Mays had three fouls, one of which was a close one over
28-feet(8.53m). Beamon’s mark survived as the World Record for almost
23 years until Mike Powell jumped 29-4 1/2(8.95m) at the 1991 World
Championships in Tokyo.
Beamon almost missed his date with history. In the previous day’s
qualifying round, he fouled on his first two efforts, before coming
through with a jump of 26-10 1/2(8.19m) to make it into the final.
While the vast majority of photographers were concentrating on the
men’s 400-meters, where Lee Evans (43.86) and Larry James (43.97) both
bettered the existing World Record, England’s Tony Duffy, a relative
novice at the time, was one of only a handful that situated themselves
at the end of the long jump runway. He reportedly didn’t realize he had
his now-famous shot of Beamon’s jump until he returned home to London.
Requests for the photo started coming in, a reputation was born, and
Duffy is still going strong as one of the world’s leading sports
Troubled Youth: http://www.ncjrs.org/html/
Olympic Legends: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/
Tony Duffy’s Photo: http://tinyurl.com/2588ykd;
Sports Illustrated Vault: http://tinyurl.com/ykw5akw
Other events in history(http://www.historyorb.
1924 – Notre Dame beats Army 13-7, Grantland Rice of the NY Herald Tribune dubs the
Irish backfield “The 4 Horsemen”… “Outlined against a blue, gray October sky the Four
Horsemen rode again…”. http://www.und.com/trads/
1977 – Reggie Jackson hits 3 consecutive homers, each on the first pitch, tying Ruth’s
series record. http://www.baseball-almanac.
More at: http://www.history.com/this-
The #1 song on this day in history–1890s to present:
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