In the days before the internet, Kenny Moore was a bastion of sports journalism, specifically track & field. The thing was, Kenny could write about anything, but his love, athletics, and the humans who would run, jump and throw, were his subjects. His appreciation of those athletes came through in all of his writing.
I could not afford a subscription to Sports Illustrated, but my family doctor had it, and I would devour Kenny Moore’s wonderful writing in SI. The truth was this, Kenny Moore had experienced all the joy and sadness that comes with being a world-class athlete. A two-time Olympian, and a three-time Oregon letter athlete at the University of Oregon, Kenny got it. He gave us track fans and new runners something to appreciate. He was not afraid of a multisyllabic word and he did not condescend. His honesty, sometimes across your face writing elevated the reader and the sport.
Munich 1972, Frank Shorter with Kenny Moore, the photo is probably from Sports Illustrated, taken from Peter Thompson’s Facebook post. Copyright belongs to Photographer.
If you want to truly appreciate his writing, read The Observer, in his book #BestEfforts, from 1980.
We will miss Kenny Moore, but we will have his legacy. No one could capture his subjects, from Lasse Viren to Steve Prefontaine, as Kenny Moore did. I will miss him tremendously. But, I do, have his book, Best Efforts at my bedside. When I wake up late at night, I open to any page, and I am there, running with Kenny Moore, through a Finnish park with Lasse Viren, or jogging with Frank Shorter prior to Fukuoka.
Kenny Moore, RIP.
Thanks to Peter Thompson for the note below. Special thanks to Jeff Benjamin for the alert.
This is taken, in whole, from the Facebook post by Peter Thompson. We use Peter’s comments, as always, with the permission of the author.
KENNY MOORE – Athlete and Writer R.I.P.
(December 1, 1943 to May 4, 2022)
Kenny’s wife, Connie Johnston Moore, would like to share this message with you and with others, written from their long-time Hawaiian home:
“Kenny found his opening this morning. It was about 7. He was already pretty distant and peaceful and then his breathing stopped. It was a very loving time for me with him. I think he knew he could leave with this morning being our last sunrise. I know you are sad but be grateful for him. It was his time and it was a relatively easy letting go I think for him. I hope you can spread the word for me. Take your time. Just love Kenny, love love love him. We were all privileged to know him and have him in our life. Peace and Love to you and everyone in Eugene.”
From his 2019 Induction into the
Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
KENNY MOORE – TRACK & FIELD
Kenny Moore has been one of the great storytellers of American sport for decades.
As an athlete, he found himself right in the middle of some of those great stories while putting his own stamp on running and track and field greatness.
He was known as ‘Ken’ Moore when he graduated from North Eugene high school and arrived at the University of Oregon. He would letter three years each in track and cross country.
Always a versatile distance runner, Ken was a three-time All-American on the track, with three more top national finishes in the 3-mile, 5,000 meters, and the steeplechase. Moore was a 1963 cross country All-American and was part of back-to-back teams that finished 2nd in the nation.
As a post-collegiate racer, he flexed his muscle at greater distances, winning the 1967 US Cross Country Championship and dominating the demanding Bay to Breakers road race in San Francisco. Ken won the 12K monster for six consecutive years from 1968-1973.
In 1970, Moore placed second in the prestigious Fukuoka International Marathon with a loop-course American record and a personal best time of 2:11.36.
Moore competed on the biggest stage of all twice. He finished 14th in the marathon at the Mexico City Olympics and then qualified again in 1972, finishing dead even with training partner Frank Shorter. Shorter would take the gold and glory on the final day of the Munich games in the shadow of the terrorist attacks. Moore just missed the podium, finishing 4th.
Kenny Moore, RIP, 1943-2022, photo courtesy of Runners’ World
These experiences and these times provided extensive material for the writer who would become known as Kenny Moore. In 25 years at Sports Illustrated, Moore told the big stories, championed the protection of amateur athletes, and co-wrote the definitive biography of the enigmatic Steve Prefontaine that inspired the film “Without Limits”. Moore has also written a biography of his Oregon coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman.
His activism helped win the freedom of imprisoned Ethiopian marathon champion Mamo Wolde.
Always relentless in his pursuits, we welcome Kenny Moore to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Leave a Reply