In unprecedented Olympic Games, athletes throughout the Americas overcame more than two years of adversity and uncertainty to deliver outstanding performances on the biggest stage in sport.
The athletes of Team Canada did not let the global pandemic stop them from earning the most Olympic medals in their history at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
As the Games concluded, Team Canada finished with their most Olympic podium finishes in history (excluding the 1984 Games and the Soviet bloc boycott) with 24 total medals while tying their previous record of seven golds set in 1992.
Discover the athletes who helped lead the country to their best Olympic finish.
A historic performance by yet another country of the Americas at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as Brazil surpasses their impressive medal totals from the Rio 2016 Olympics that they hosted on home soil.
With their best finish at the Olympics in history, Brazil earned seven golds and 21 total medals at Tokyo 2020 to place 12th on the overall medal table. Two more bronze medals helped Time Brasil top their previous best total of 19 achieved at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
Click here to find out how.
With her sixth and final attempt at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Yulimar Rojas made history in the Women’s Triple Jump.
Read more about her record-shattering moment at Tokyo 2020.
The Pan American Games medalist and nine-time World Champion triathlete adds an even greater and more historic achievement to her successful career — an Olympic gold medal.
Her incredible podium-topping performance not only gave her an elusive Olympic medal, but also gave the small island nation of Bermuda its first Olympic gold in history and second overall medal since it began competing at the Games in 1936.
Learn more about her historical performance at Tokyo 2020.
The Cuban giant continues adding pages to the saga of his legendary career by winning his fourth Olympic gold medal in as many Games.
At Tokyo 2020, Mijain Lopez once again stood atop the Olympic podium after dispatching all of his challengers in the men’s 130kg Greco-Roman Weightlifting division.
Although it was a familiar feeling for the 38-year-old wrestler, the reward for his fourth gold medal at the Olympic Games was a little sweeter this time around. With his victory, Mijain became the first wrestler in history to claim four consecutive Olympic titles.
Find out more about another dominant performance from the best wrestler in history.
Neisi Dajomes makes history for Ecuador as the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal, dominating the Women’s 76kg Weightlifting event.
History nearly repeated itself at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as the same three athletes who topped the podium in the Women’s 76kg Weightlifting event had previously stood side-by-side on the podium of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.
Click here to uncover more about her inspiring performance in Japan.
The island nation in the Caribbean won two golds at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, both coming in the same event in Athletics for their best Olympic finish since Sydney 2000.
With one repeat Olympic Champion and another topping the podium for the first time, the Bahamas earned two gold medals at Tokyo 2020 to place 42nd on the overall medal table.
Read more about the impressive sweep by Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner.
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn wins the first gold medal in Athletics for Puerto Rico in the Women’s 100m Hurdles while setting a new Olympic record along the way.
The gold-medal streak for Puerto Rico at the Olympics continues with the impressive performance by Jasmine Camacho-Quinn in the 100m Hurdles event at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Click here for more information about her record-setting race.
Kirani James of Grenada continues to make his country proud, becoming a three-time Olympic medalist in Athletics at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
Since beginning to compete at the Summer Olympics at Los Angeles 1984, the small Caribbean nation of Grenada has won a total of three Olympic medals, all coming in the sport of Athletics.
Discover how one athlete has taken his country to new heights.
Fifteen countries of the Pan American Family won medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
For more highlights, results and summaries from all 41 countries of the Americas, visit the Panam Sports Instagram here!
Voting is now open to the public to help choose the Official Mascot of the 19th Pan American Games. Fans throughout the world can choose their favorite out of the five finalists.
Click here to cast your ballot now!
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD....
SHORE AC SINCERELY CONGRATULATES GOOD FRIENDS
COACHES PETER FARRELL AND JOHN MOON ON THEIR
ELECTION TO THE NATIONAL COACHES HALL OF FAME !!!!
TRULY WELL DONE AND WELL DESERVED,
COACH FARRELL AND COACH MOON,
ALONG WITH OTHER SELECTEES..
ELLIOTT DENMAN AND SHORE AC...
USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Announced
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is privileged to announce the seven coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021!
Peter Farrell, Thomas “T.E.” Jones, Don Larson, Dr. Nancy Meyer, John Moon, Dennis Shaver and John Weaver will all be enshrined in the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame, for not only their historic and incredible accomplishments as cross country and/or track & field coaches, but also the long-lasting impact their contributions have had – and will continue to have – on the sports they coached.
QUICK LINK: USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame History
These seven coaches will be honored at the 2021 USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, December 15, at the USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida. This is the largest group to be inducted in the past 13 years, as the Class of 2008 was also seven members.
Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country and track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession and serves as an inspiration to coaches everywhere.
Keep reading to learn more about the Class of 2021.
“What does a kid with a history degree do for a living?”
That’s what a young Peter Farrell mused to his roommate at Notre Dame.
The answer, at least in Farrell’s case, led him on a near 50-year journey that will culminate with his induction into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
After a stellar athletic career for the Irish, where he was a two-time All-American in the 880 yards – placing as high as sixth in 1966 – and a five-time letterwinner on its cross country and track & field teams, Farrell turned his attention to helping others, specifically young women, achieve their athletic goals in those same sports.
Farrell initially used his degree to teach American history at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, New York, for nine years from 1968 to 1977. He eventually added “coach” to his resume five years into his career when he established the Royals’ girls cross country and track & field program. It didn’t take long for Farrell to show his coaching acumen, as Christ the King won several championships, including the AAU Eastern Regional cross country title.
The collegiate ranks called again, beckoning Farrell to Princeton on September 1, 1977.
Farrell took over the women’s club running program, which finally gained intercollegiate status the next year. His first order of business was to purchase uniforms – bought from the school store, actually – followed closely by hitting the recruiting trail. His first recruit was Lynn Jennings, who would eventually become the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a distance event on the track, among other feats. It’s that attention to detail that lifted the Tigers to great heights over the next 39 years until his retirement following the 2016 outdoor track & field season.
Princeton got off to a hot start with Farrell at the helm, winning 11 Ivy League titles in his first six years on campus. That included a Triple Crown during the 1980-81 academic year, where the Tigers captured Heps titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field Princeton replicated the feat exactly 30 years later, starting with the 2010 cross country title.
After an extended lull, where the rest of the Ivy League appeared to catch up to Princeton’s women, the Tigers came roaring back in the last 10 years of Farrell’s career. Princeton won 11 team titles between 2006 and 2016, with 10 coming in the first five years of that span.
The Tigers were especially strong in cross country, where they reeled off five Heps titles in a row from the mid-to-late 2000s. No team came together better than the 2009 edition, as they became the first – and still, only – squad in Ivy League history to sweep the conference meet. Princeton came awfully close the previous year with a 1-2-3-5-6 finish for 17 points.
With one individual national champion in track & field (Julia Ratcliffe, 2014 hammer), 55 total All-Americans, four Mid-Atlantic Region cross country titles and two top-5 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, you can’t overlook what Farrell’s Tigers accomplished on the regional and national stage under his direction, either.
Farrell is the fourth Princeton coach to be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame, joining Larry Ellis (2009), Keene Fitzpatrick (2011) and Fred Samara (2017).
He and his wife Shane have two daughters, Susan and Virginia, both of whom graduated from Princeton.
Thomas “T. E.” Jones was a visionary.
He, along with Amos Alonzo Stagg and John L. Griffith helped organize the first NCAA championship in any sport, the 1921 National Collegiate Track & Field Championships.
At the time, Jones was the athletic director and head cross country and track & field coach at the University of Wisconsin, positions he held for 35 years until his retirement at age 70. Before that, Jones spent three years at the University of Missouri, where he was so beloved that there was a petition passed around by athletes at the institution to get him to stay when news of the Badgers’ offer spread around campus.
Jones began his coaching career at Madison High School in Wisconsin after finishing his four-year degree at Iowa Teachers’ College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and taking “special work” in physical training at Harvard University. He didn’t stay in Madison long the first time as the Tigers’ roar beckoned him to Columbia in 1910.
From 1910 to 1912, Jones led Missouri to a number of accomplishments. His teams won three Missouri Valley Conference titles in track & field, captured the Western Conference title in 1911 and also finished runner-up at the meet in his final year on campus. One of his athletes, John Nicholson, competed at the 1912 Olympic Games in the final of the 110 Meter Hurdles.
“Honest Tom,” as he was affectionately known, returned to Madison to much fanfare in 1913 and developed UW into a powerhouse in cross country and track & field over the next 35 years.
The Badgers were particularly strong in cross country under Jones, winning 14 conference titles and posting a 70-18 record in dual meets. That doesn’t even include a pair top-3 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, which was still in its infancy at the time. UW actually took runner-up honors at the second-ever installment of the meet in 1939 thanks to an individual title from Walter Mehl, who finished second the previous year.
Success carried over into track & field, where the Badgers amassed numerous team titles, 137 total individual titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons (five at the NCAA Outdoor Championships), a 123-47 record in dual meets and an undefeated record in indoor triangular competition with Jones at the helm. Jones also coached Arlie Mucks, a 1912 Olympian in the discus, to the indoor shot put world record in 1916.
After his retirement in 1948, Jones was named to the Team USA coaching staff for the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Team USA captured 11 gold medals, five silver medals and nine bronze medals in Athletics that year.
Jones died on April 30, 1969, at the age of 91.
North Dakota State and South Dakota State might be athletic rivals, but both institutions shaped Don Larson into who he is today — and that is a member of the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Larson started his collegiate foray as an athlete at South Dakota State. Over a five-year period with the Jackrabbits, Larson earned All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles twice (1972, 1975) and won seven total conference titles in various events like the 440 yards, 600 yards, the 400-meter hurdles, and the relays.
After graduating from SDSU in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and then earning a master’s degree in the same area of expertise from Minnesota State-Moorhead, Larson began his coaching career at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
Just a few years later in 1979, Larson returned to the Dakotas – but this time, it wouldn’t be back to Brookings. Instead, Larson took the head coaching job 180 miles away at SDSU’s rival institution: North Dakota State. And it is in Fargo, where Larson spent the next 41 years molding the Bison into a perennial force until his well-deserved retirement following the 2019-20 academic year.
NDSU’s success didn’t just span decades under Larson. It transcended divisions.
For the first 25 years of Larson’s tenure, the Bison left their mark as NCAA Division II members in the North Central Conference. NDSU won 36 conference titles as a team between 1979 and 2004, including 35 in track & field alone. That one cross country title came in 1982 and it was the first link in a chain that resulted in capturing the vaunted Triple Crown.
Triumphs at the national level were just as commonplace for the Bison. Curt Bacon gave Larson his first individual champ in 1980 when he won the steeplechase crown and before all was said and done, his athletes added 10 more to that total at the NCAA DII level. Larson’s athletes also dotted the podium during those years, too, compiling 206 All-America honors with 193 of those coming in track & field alone. NDSU’s best finishes, as a team, were third outdoors in 2004 and fourth indoors in 1989.
Success continued after the Bison made the full transition to the Summit League in NCAA DI.
NDSU won 18 more conference titles between 2007 and 2020, including the 2020 indoor crown to send Larson out as a winner. The Bison dominated the proceedings, too, sweeping the top-4 spots in the 800, the top-6 spots in the shot put and the top-3 spots in the weight throw as Larson was named the conference’s Coach of the Year for the 17th time.
Payton Otterdahl gave NDSU its first individual champion at the NCAA DI level in any sport in 2019 when he won the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Otterdahl also set the collegiate indoor record in the event earlier that year. He wasn’t done, though, as he’d double back to win the weight throw the very next day. Otterdahl was just the second man in NCAA DI history to accomplish that feat in meet history.
It’s safe to say Larson made coaching the Bison a family affair; his wife Desire’e was an assistant coach for 20 years in charge of the program’s high jumpers and coached those athletes to 12 All-America efforts. Don and Desire’e have two children, Kelsey and Kira.
Dr. Nancy Meyer has long dedicated her life to the student-athlete experience.
Whether it be leading Calvin University’s women’s cross country program to national prominence, spending the past 24 years as an administrator in the Knights’ athletic department or coaching a number of other sports while teaching in the Calvin kinesiology department, Meyer always saw tremendous value in helping to mold the future leaders of tomorrow.
Meyer wasted no time in getting to work after graduating from Calvin University in 1978. The very next year, she began teaching at her alma mater in addition to taking on the roles of head coach for the swimming & diving and tennis programs. That would last until 1983.
After receiving her master’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1984 and her doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado in 1986, Meyer returned to Calvin as a Knight in Shining Armor, taking over the reins of its women’s cross country program that same year.
It didn’t take long for Meyer to turn the Knights into a juggernaut at the conference level, as she already had championship-building experience from her first stint at Calvin, leading the women’s tennis team to back-to-back MIAA titles in 1981 and 1982. But the mark of a Hall of Fame coach is being able to turn that conference success into regional and national triumphs, something the women’s cross country team had in spades under Meyer.
From 1988 to 2003, Calvin was unmatched in the MIAA and the Great Lakes Region. During that span, the Knights won 16 consecutive conference titles and won all but one regional crown.
Calvin qualified for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships for the first time in 1989 and three years later, got its first taste of the podium with a runner-up finish to SUNY Cortland. That would be a familiar sight at the NCAA meet in each of the next two years as the Red Dragons, coached by USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Daniels, proved to be the foil for the Meyer-led Knights, as they finished in the same positions in 1993 and 1994.
As the decade drew to a close, Meyer finally reached the top of the podium after two more top-4 finishes. Calvin won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999 to make Meyer just the third coach in NCAA DIII history to lead a women’s program to consecutive crowns. The Knights were paced by Amy Mizzone and Lisa Timmer, both of whom finished in the top-15 in back-to-back years.
Calvin continued to dominate the MIAA and contend at the NCAA Championships in the final six years of Meyer’s career. The Knights won five of six conference titles between 2000 and 2005 and finished as high as fifth in 2002 and 2003.
Meyer, a two-time National Coach of the Year and eight-time Regional Coach of the Year, stepped down in 2006. She remained an integral part of the Calvin athletic department as the Senior Associate Athletics Director/Athletics Compliance Director and as a full-time professor in the Calvin kinesiology department before retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
She is married to Roy Hopp and has two children, Ally and Ben.
John Moon, one of the fastest men in the world in the 1960s, has become one of the most successful collegiate coaches on the Eastern Seaboard and continues to leave his mark worldwide as he adds to an already incredible legacy and a Hall of Fame career.
Moon’s passion for track & field dated back to a standout prep career at Linden (N.J.) High School that continued collegiately at Tennessee State University and as a post-collegiate athlete for the U.S. All-Army Team.
He developed into a collegiate star with the Tigers, winning the 100-yard final at the 1960 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and matching the world record of 9.3 later that year. That came one year after Moon finished third in the same event at the 1959 NCAA Championships.
Following graduation in 1961, Moon went to West Point and turned in a number of notable performances under its banner: Moon matched the all-time world best in the 100 meters of 10.0 in 1963 and famously handed the legendary “Bullet Bob” Hayes his final loss the following year.
Once Moon wrapped up his athletic career, he got his first taste of coaching at the Kilmer Job Center and then jumped in with both feet at Rahway (N.J.) High School, in addition to handling administrative duties at the school. Moon created a juggernaut out of a dormant track & field program, leading the Indians to 33 championships and a 99-11 dual meet record in seven years. Perhaps even more special was that each and every senior Moon coached went to college.
Moon’s rise continued in 1972, when he was named the head coach of cross country and track & field at Seton Hall University. He didn’t have to travel too far for his new job, since Seton Hall is just 14 miles away from Rahway in South Orange. And it’s at Seton Hall, where Moon has spent a better part of the past five decades.
Success came immediately, just like everywhere else in Moon’s athletic endeavors.
The Pirates won the men’s mile relay at the 1973 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships and followed that up with a meet-record performance of 3:14.0 the following year – en route to a fourth-place team finish – to become just the third program to win back-to-back national titles in that event. When The Hall won again in 1981, it stood alone as the only program with three national indoor titles to its credit in the mile relay.
Five more national event titles followed for the Pirates, including four from the women’s team during a 1994 campaign that saw them finish third indoors and eighth outdoors. Flirtisha Harris provided the spark for The Hall in 1994, sweeping the indoor and outdoor 400-meter crowns and anchoring both of the championship indoor and outdoor 4×400 relay teams. With Harris leading the way, the Pirates became the first women’s program in NCAA history – regardless of division – to win each of those quarter-mile titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
With as much national success as The Hall had in track & field – which included 73 All-America honors over the years – conference dominance was just a formality. From 1980 until 2010, when the university cut its track & field programs, the Pirates racked up six team titles and 225 individual or relay titles at the BIG EAST Championships.
Moon, who is now solely the head cross country coach at The Hall, has held several prestigious international appointments over the years. Back in 2000, Moon served as the first assistant coach for the USA men’s track & field team at the Sydney Olympic Games. Five years before that, Moon led Team USA at the Pan American Games in which the Americans won 35 medals.
He resides in Somerset, New Jersey, with his wife Thelma.
The ascension from assistant to head coach can sometimes be rocky, but it went without a hitch at LSU in the summer of 2004.
That’s because the Tigers had an ace already on staff in Dennis Shaver. His challenge was as big as they get – continue the juggernaut program built by Hall of Fame coach Pat Henry.
Shaver’s incredible success has been so palpable that he earned his own induction into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see Shaver was the perfect fit at LSU. He was the behind-the-scenes engineer who guided the women’s sprint/hurdle group to perennial success in the nine previous years as an assistant coach with the Tigers. His athletes won 18 individual and seven relay titles at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor championships during this period.
Shaver’s now 40-year coaching career started innocently after playing quarterback and cornerback/safety at UT Arlington, from where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in physical education and education, respectively. His first coaching job was as an assistant in football and track & field at Hutchinson CC, about 40 miles south of his hometown of Salina, Kansas. After one year he was promoted to head coach of track & field while remaining an assistant in football.
His sporting gears shifted exclusively to track & field when he took the head coaching position at Barton CC in Great Bend, Kansas. There he continued the strong men’s team and built a powerhouse women’s program that won eight NJCAA titles – three indoor, three outdoor and two cross country, including the first national triple crown in junior college history in 1990-91, as the Cougars swept the cross country, indoor and outdoor titles.
From there, Shaver joined Harvey Glance at Auburn following the retirement of Hall of Famer Mel Rosen. After four years on the Plains, Shaver jumped at the chance to join Henry’s staff in Baton Rouge, where his nine seasons as an assistant became the springboard to the level of head coach.
The long list of athletes coached by Shaver includes the program’s two winners of The Bowerman, Kimberlyn Duncan (2012) and Sha’Carri Richardson (2019). Richardson is one of 10 men or women Shaver guided to the NCAA title in the 100 meters alone, including the versatile Xavier “X-Man” Carter. LSU’s sprint depth has regularly impressed as the Tigers have won 26 NCAA titles in relay events under Shaver.
Shaver has led the Tigers to a pair of national team titles. The women captured the first, back in 2008, when they beat Arizona State by just four points. Then, in 2021, Shaver’s men romped to a decisive NCAA victory behind six event titles – only the Jesse Owens-led Ohio State team of 1936 has won more in a single NCAA meet with seven.
More than 30 of Shaver’s athletes have continued to the Olympic stage, with 10 earning medals – including three at the Tokyo Games.
Shaver’s list of honors includes four National Coach of the Year awards from the USTFCCCA as well as once being named as the national Assistant Coach of the Year. He has been named Regional Coach of the Year nine times and the SEC Coach of the Year eight times. He served as President of the USTFCCCA from 2017-19.
Shaver and his wife Connie have two children – son Dale and daughter Lindsay.
John Weaver was so interwoven into the fabric of Appalachian State University that school officials were ecstatic when they found a way to keep at least his name around long after retirement: They created the John Weaver Endowed Scholarship.
It made perfect sense. For 40 years, Weaver built a distinguished career on the Mountaineer coaching staff, including 36 as the only women’s head coach the school had ever known.
After three years in retirement, Weaver is being acknowledged again, this time with induction into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
App State’s cross country and track & field programs flourished under Weaver’s tutelage, accumulating 78 conference team championships, with 75 coming in the Southern Conference before the Mountaineers moved to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.
That wasn’t the only hardware that was amassed by the programs – in addition to hundreds of all-conference honors by his athletes, Weaver himself was honored a total of 43 times as conference Coach of the Year, all but one in the Southern Conference.
Coaching wasn’t Weaver’s initial profession of choice. After graduating from App State in 1971, he returned to his earlier alma mater of Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville, N.C., to teach biology. A stipend to work as an assistant coach on the high school’s track team helped encourage the newly-married Weaver to take his first involvement in the sport – “to see what it was all about,” according to the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer.
Soon, Weaver was putting his scientific mind to work, helping athletes train to get the maximum effort. When Seventy-First merged with Douglas Byrd High, Weaver was the principal’s first choice to lead the track & field program.
His first “recruiting” class came by standing near the football roster board and asking each skinny kid who got cut if they’d be interested in earning their first letter for the school. Some 60 boys showed up for track practice, and his coaching career took off.
Eager to improve, Weaver returned to App State to get his Master’s in biology and worked with the men’s cross country and track & field programs as a graduate assistant. He intended to return to Byrd but upon graduation was offered an alternative option of becoming head coach for the start-up women’s cross country and track & field programs.
Weaver stayed in Boone. That was in 1982 during transformational times for women’s sports, and Weaver helped the Southern Conference begin championships in cross country (1985), outdoor track (1987) and indoor track (1988).
App State became a dominant force in all three sports, winning the SoCon “Triple Crown” seven times.
In 1995, Weaver was named head coach of the Mountaineers’ combined men’s and women’s track & field teams, and the men added four SoCon triple crowns of their own.
Weaver coached many accomplished women, highlighted by hurdler Melissa Morrison, who won 12 SoCon individual titles and went on to earn a pair of Olympic bronze medals, and Mary Jayne Harrelson, the 1999 and 2001 NCAA 1500-meter champion. Harrelson and Morrison were two major pieces in App State earning 23 total All-America honors under his watch.
During the summer of 2012, Weaver served as the sprints and hurdles coach for the women’s USA National Under-23 team that competed in Mexico.
Sadly Speaking, The Sapporo 50KWill Be The 20th And Final In The Annals Of“The Longest and Toughest Event”On The Olympic Games Athletics Program
BY ELLIOTT DENMAN
To be sure, Tommy Green, Harold Whitlock, John Ljunggren, Giuseppe Dordoni, Norm Read,
Don Thompson, Bernd Kannenberg and Hartwig Gauder are getting hugely agitated in their
respective final resting places.
These Olympic Games greats, gold medalists all, no longer walk among us.
But for certain, they said their farewells knowing that their place in the archives of the Games was a secure one straight through to the moments they drew their final breaths.
They’d all done glorious things leading the way in the longest and toughest of all events on the
athletics program of the Games. If they weren’t true sportsmen and gentlemen, they might even have
pooh-poohed the performances of all those other fellow Olympians whose events were over in
a matter of mere seconds, for some, and minutes, for others.
They might even have gloated that their specialty event was nearly five miles longer, and took a whole lot longer to complete than that other Olympic event requiring hours of sweat and toil. You know, the
But that wasn’t in their character. They were content in their triumphs, knowing that those relative few who really studied the whole gamut of Games results gave their specialty event the appreciation and respect it surely merited.
Times, though, are-a-changing. The Games-makers, and their major media allies, it seems, can no longer be troubled by an event that now takes at least three and a half hours to complete, and once upon a time – my time, actually – took most of four hours and sometimes into the fives.
And so, all this build-up is to tell you that the men’s 50-kilometer racewalk at the Games of the
XXXII Olympiad is almost certainly bound to be the 20th and final of the series that began with
Britisher Tommy Green’s triumph at Los Angeles in 1932.
For reasons never fully made clear, the 50K event (which is 31.1 miles) was “given its walking papers,” so to speak, beginning with the Paris Games of 2024.
While the 20K racewalk event – considered a “sprint” event to all true believers – will apparently remain on the Paris 2024 program, its far-longer companion piece, the 50K, seems destined to be replaced by a 35K event that may - or may not - have some kind of mixed-gender format, still (as of this moment) to be finalized.
But why replace “the longest and toughest event” at all? A good look at the Tokyo schedule of events will give you all the clues you need. They’ll tell you it takes too darn long. They’ll allege it’s not
“telegenic.” They’ll tell you it’s not relevant to today’s rush-rush days of our lives.
They’ll tell you that you’re not going to see the kids of the planet taking 50K walks “for the fun of it all.” They’ll tell you racewalking’s just not “with it” the way surfing, climbing, skateboarding and, heck, even
karate – those new TV audience-pullers - seem to so many others. What’s next to
these decision-makers – tandem breakdancing, freestyle skydiving, tango trios, skyscraper racing (internal and external divisions) ?
But don’t let them ever tell you racewalking is “not urban enough.” What’s more universal than a long hike through city streets? What’s the most universal of all fitness activities for that matter? Walking, of course. And the Olympic racewalkers are its premier practitioners. But they’re being minimalized nevertheless.
So there we have it. The “Tokyo” 50K isn’t even being held in Tokyo. It’s been relegated to Sapporo, some 500 miles north of Tokyo, on another island, actually. (Along with the Sapporo-bound marathon runs for men and women; hoping for less distressful conditions.) And this 20th Olympic 50K remains a men’s event only. Rather than do the rational thing and add a women’s Olympic 50K – as many have demanded – the 50K is being retired as an Olympic event for both men and women.
Truth be told, this situation irks the hell out of me, too; along with the descendants and remaining appreciators of Tommy Green, Harold Whitlock, et al. The reason is obvious. I was an Olympic 50K walker, too. At Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 24, 1956, to be exact.
Out the stadium gates we went, fifteen-plus miles down Dandenong Road, etc., then fifteen-plus miles back to the stadium. I wasn’t even close to winning a medal – few know this, but of course, all Olympians earn other medals, and these are participants’ medals. Just one American has ever won a 50K walk medal – and that was Larry Young, with his third places back of East Germany’s Christoph Hohne in 1968 and West Germany’s Kannenberg in 1972. And just one man has ever won it more than once – that was Poland’s superstar, Robert Korzeniowski, with his incredible, centuries-spanning three-peat in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
But – unless the situation takes a drastic U-turn somewhere down the road, and don’t get your hopes up about it – the Sapporo 50K champion will be the 20th and last in an amazing series. Sadly, you'll need to go to the
list of "discontinued events" to get the names of all those past winners.
The event has been full of all these gutsy guys over the years, slogging it out on the roads of Olympic cities from those “down under” (Melbourne, Sydney, Rio) to those “up top” ) L.A., Berlin, London, Helsinki, Rome, Tokyo,
Mexico City, Munich, Moscow, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Athens and Beijing. Truth be told, they loved every step of their long journeys. They loved reminding people their event was the “longest and the toughest.” And now, for all that effort, they’re being told to “go take a hike.” Somewhere else.
For sure, mainstream media isn’t about to tell you any of this. So – proud as I am to be a member of that legion of “the longest and toughest” - I’m doing it for you, right here and right now.
Dear Shore AC Teammates:
As I hope you all know, the New Jersey International Meet is back on the schedule,
after a year's absence due to the Covid situation, and will be held this coming
Saturday, August 7th, at the excellent Peddie School track stadium in
Hightstown, NJ, easily accessible off the NJ Turnpike Exit 8 and other major
highways and byways.
This will be the 34th annual. Action is listed from 1 pm to
about 5 pm and we want urge you all, one and all,
to take part....It is full of terrific events - many of which are named for the
greats of the sport - and will be staged in two divisions - Open/Masters,
as well as Elite...There is something in it for everybody and, most importantly,
this is our own meet, organized, directed and staged by our own
Shore AC teammates.
Mr. Dave Friedman is the meet director, Mr. Tim Brennan is the site director,
Mr. Joe Compagni joins us on the Games Committee, and
I am the Meet Director Emeritus. To make the meet the success we want it to be,
we absolutely want to see you as part of it...Even if you're not in super tip-top shape,
doesn't matter. Most important thing is to just be there to support your club, your
teammates and the all-important cause of making this a quality event.
Events on the track will be the Open/Masters 100, 400, 800, Mile, 3000, Mile Walk
and 4x400 Relay. In the field, we'll do the Shot Put, Long Jump and Triple Jump.
Elite events will be 100, 200, 400, 800, Mile and 3000 and Shot Put.
Watches to leading performers.
So please work out your schedules and try your very best to be there, at Peddie this
coming Saturday. Please make us happy by saying that you plan to be there and compete.
Entries will close on Thursday.
Just let me know soon as you can - by email to firstname.lastname@example.org..
SHORE AC ATHLETES DO VERY BIG THINGS AT OLYMPIC TRIALS. THANKS/THANKS/THANKS TO ALL HELPED THE TEAM CAUSE!!!
Dear Shore AC Friends and Teammates:
I'm back home now after eight great days at the USA Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon...
The Trials were held at the magnificent new $275 million Hayward Field that will also be the site of
next year's World Championships, the global extravaganza which will be coming to the USA for the
very first time and just the second time ever to North America ((Edmonton had hosted in 2001.)
Heat conditions were intense, and specially so the final weekend….110 and 111 degrees ! .
But let me tell you that the entire 10-athlete Shore AC delegation was red-hot, too.
They turned in a series of superb, clutch performances in USA's biggest meet in five years!!
Of course/of course the Trials, along with the Olympic Games, are a year late due to the pandemic
but our Shore AC athletes were right on time, right on the button !!.
We set PBs (personal bests) and SBs (seasonal bests) all over the Trials landscape, at both Hayward Field,
and the downtown area of Springfield, where the 20K racewalk was held on the final Saturday.
It was a Trials which saw our wonderful alumna and 11-time National Champion Ajee' Wilson
(who has been such a huge source of pride for us ever since her days competing in Shore AC
summer all-comers meets, and then at Neptune High School) advance to her second Olympic Games
and such good NJ-NY friends as Sydney McLaughlin, Rudy Winkler, Noah Lyles, Athing Mu,
Curtis Thompson and Keturah Orji come through with brilliant triumphs and earn trips to the Tokyo Games.
The Shore AC Varsity Team did so many fine things and here's a rundown:
Josh Awotunde, fifth in the men's shot put with a PB of 21.84 meters/ 71 feet, 8 inches.
Take note: Josh is now 44th in the history of the sport and at age 26 getting better all the time!
AJ Gruttadauro, fifth in the men's 20K racewalk at 1:37:51.
Sam Allen, sixth in the men's 20K walk at a SB, PB of 1:37.59.
James Plummer, seventh in the men's discus at 59.73 / 195 ft, 11 inches..
Scott Houston, seventh in the men's pole vault with an SB of 5.75/ 18 ft, 10 ¼ inches.
Amina Smith, seventh in the women's high jump with an SB of 1.87 / 6 feet, 1 ½ inches.
Chelsea Conway, 10th in the women's 20K racewalk with a SB, PB of 1:54.25.
Erin Taylor-Talcott, 11th in the women's 20K racewalk, at 1:54.48.
Michael Mannozzi, 12th in the men's 20K racewalk at SB of 1:44.35.
(Michael was also competing for US Air Force and teammate
Kris Kornegay-Gober, in the men’s HJ for the US Coast Guard.)
And thus Shore AC, which has a wonderful history dating all the way to the 1930s and saw its
first athletes (John Borican and John Grimek) compete in the Olympic Trials as far
back as 1936, continued to add to its incredible heritage.
Be it known that USA Track and Field, the national governing body for the sport, lists a dozen teams as the "long standing/traditional" clubs registered with USATF at least prior to Jan.1, 1980,
and thus “grandfathered” in for special recognition and special status at the Trials. Just five
of them were represented at the 2021 Trials and the performances of our tremendous 10
again put us at the forefront of the sport.
So let me say "truly well done" to all these oh-so-worthy athletes and say
"thank you/thank you/thank you" to all who gave their support and made
these great performances possible.
Shore AC Lifetime Trustee
USA Olympic Team Melbourne 1956..
Watch out, Energizer Bunny! There is a new electric power source in town. His name is Rick Lee, and this Shore AC rookie can motor!
EUGENE, OREGON - Temps had dipped from the downright dangerous 110 vicinity to the merely uncomfortable mid-90s by the time they ran off the final finals of the star-spangled, steadily-sizzling USA Olympic Trials Sunday night at the smashingly stunning $275-million Hayward Field Sunday night.
And what a windup session to the eight-day Trials this one turned out to be.
Ju'Vaughn Harrison scored a totally unprecedented Trials double in the high (7-7 3/4) and long (27-9 1/4) jumps.
Oregon freshman - can he be "the new Pre?" - Cole Hocker (3:35.28) ran down defending Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (3:35.34) to win the 1500.
Noah Lyles turned in a statement win - yes, he was again the pre-Tokyo 200 favorite - by dashing the
half-lapper in 19.74.
Athing Mu celebrated her new status as a Nike pro athlete by lowering the women's 800 Trials record to 1:56.07 and outperforming veteran greats Raevyn Rogers (1:57.55) and Ajee' Wilson (1:58.39.)
But the race they'll be talking about for eons was the women's 400 hurdles which saw Sydney McLauglin fight off reigning world and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad over the final two barriers and go on to a world record 51.90 win.
Muhammad wasn't going to abdicate her reign without a battle. But McLaughlin was simply unstoppable.
No one can tell you the McLaughlin story better than Mike McCabe, her high school coach at Union Catholic of
Fanwood, N.J. He's seen the former Dunellen (N.J.) resident who now calls Southern California her home base
grow from likely prospect to queen of her global realm.
McCabe - whose Union Catholic athletes will be competing at the Nike Scholastic Nationals next week at Hayward Field - flew into Eugene a few days early to catch the sight of his Sizzling Syd chasing the world mark at Trials. And his star alumna more than lived up to every expectation.
"We knew that Syd was going to get it (the WR) sooner or later," said McCabe, who's been coaching at UC for
17 years. Well, sooner it was.
"She was almost flawless tonight. She ran the perfect race. She got out well, and finished strong.
"I guess there can't be a greater thrill for any coach than to see his athlete run to a world record.
"And it's doubly great to see her make the Olympic team."
These days she trains at UCLA under the guidance of the famed Bobby Kersee, whose best previous pupil was his wife, the former Jackie Joyner whose status as the greatest-ever of all female track athletes has never been challenged. Now Sydney McLaughlin will head to Tokyo as the most solid selection to do something sensational all over again.
Speaking to the slender crowd - many fans simply didn't return to Hayward after the
long postponement - McLaughlin spoke with an eloquence far beyond anything you'd expect from a
"It's such a great honor to represent my nation and my family," she said, to rounds of applause.
It's that single word "family" that really speaks volumes in the McLaughlin story.
Her dad, Willie McLaughlin, had been a brilliant 400-meter runner at Manhattan College, fast enough, talented enough to race his way into the semifinals of the 1984 Olympic Trials.
Her mom, Mary McLaughlin, had been a high school track athlete, but found herself without a team to
run for once she got to Manhattan, which then did not field a women's varsity squad,
But Mary still found Willie on the Manhattan Jaspers' campus in the Riverdale section of
the Bronx, New York.
Their romance bloomed. They'd marry and bring four children into the world. (One of them, big brother and Michigan grad Taylor McLaughlin, was a Big 10 400 hurdles champion and an entry into these Trials, too, until knocked out by injury.)
Willie and Mary McLaughlin also happen to be an interracial couple, but have never let their differences stand in the way of a solid marriage.
I'd like to suggest to some execs high up on the several national networks' decision-making chain that they
give Willie and Mary McLaughlin some major interview time.
Want a poster couple to discuss the hot-button issue of race that seems to be pulling the nation in too many painful directions these challenging days?
My nominees: Willie and Mary McLaughlin.
"It just stinks," McCabe says of all this intolerance besetting the nation.
But then he shifts focus to the amazing Olympic daughter of Willie and Mary McLaughlin
and realizes it's not all doom and gloom on the American amity front.
Reply Reply All Forwardt wishes,
writing from Portland airport...
John Kuhi almost won the race until he pulled a hamstring. He was leading with 200 to go. Pictures don't lie.
Great effort put in by John Kuhi at the Big Bang Mile!
See all RESULTS HERE.
DAY 5 BLOG
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
EUGENE, OREGON - The name on his birth certificate reads King Alfonso Jennings
but no one who has known this man in his 75 years on this planet has ever accused him
of assuming regal airs.
He's just "Al" to those of a track and field inclination and he's perfectly all right
with that two-letter appellation.
Al Jennings has been coaching track and field for at least a half-century and anyone who has followed
the continuing excellence of his teams from the New Jersey capital city knows the wonders this
man has done. His Trenton Central High School runners have been duking it out with the best for
a long, long time and Trenton fans have forever appreciated all the hardware his illustrious teams have brought home
from meets everywhere - the New Jersey state circuit, the Penn Relays, the high school Nationals,
etc, etc etc.
But he stepped away from the Trenton Central post a few years ago for a very good reason - Trenton had produced a very special athlete who needed his personal attention.
Her name is Athing Mu - and the Mu is pronounced as "Moe." She marked her 19th birthday on June 8 and if she's not running in the Tokyo Olympic Games next month a lot of track experts will be genuinely shocked.
A newly-signed Nike contract professional - the terms are said to be extremely lucrative - she has said goodbye to college track after a single dazzling year at Texas A&M and is now free to run the world circuit
without paying attention to collegiate priorities.
And now - after winning everything in sight on the NCAA level - she's off and running in the Olympic Trials and just two more big races away from clinching the Tokyo trip. Coming into the Trials armed with a 1:57.73 PB (personal best) which is also an NCAA record and better than the Olympic Games qualifying standard, she sizzled in Thursday's opening round of the women's 800.
Strolling home in 2:00.69, she advanced into Friday's semifinals, which will determine the entries in Sunday's eight-runner final. But nothing is ever certain on this level and Ms. Mu is surely aware that clinching the Tokyo trip will not be easy.
It so happens that two of the best women's 800-meter runners in the world hail from hometowns just some
40 miles apart. It's Ajee' Wilson - a product of Neptune, N.J., a town located just a county away from Trenton, and a town that's the owner a proud track tradition, too - who now looms directly in Mo's upcoming path,
An 11-time National champion, 2016 Rio Olympic semfinalist and world ranked-number one of 2019,
Ajee' Wilson is prepared for the battle of her life. Or should we say battles - not just here at the
Trials but in Tokyo as well.
(Oh yes, there's another A. Wilson in the Olympic Trials mix. Monmouth University graduate
Alexandra "Allie" Wilson is coming on like gangbusters and cannot be disregarded, either.)
Ex-world indoor champion Chanelle Price was quickest of all qualifiers out of the opening round in
1:59.86, with Sage Hurta next best at 2:00.08, followed by Ajee' Wilson at 2:00.05, Mu at 2:00.69 and Allie Wilson at 2:00.71.
Lurking, too, were such notables as Raevyn Rogers (2:00.75), Kate Grace (2:00.81) and Nia Akins (2:00.82.)
But the spotlight is surely on the Mu-Ajee' Wilson challenge.
Of course, we all know who Al Jennings is rooting for.
Bernice Mitchell was Mu's first age-group coach, then became her co-coach with Jennings.
By age 10, they knew they had a special talent on their hands. But they were smart enough not to
overwhelm her with adult-sized workouts and keep her motivated to take it one step at a time.
"We've all seen so many promising kids burned out," said Jennings. "That was the last thing we wanted to see with Athing. "We did it with natural progressions, taking it nice and easy every step of the way."
And so Mu stayed healthy and motivated and determined to do bigger, better and more phenomenal
"I really think she's destined to break the world record," said Jennings. "I:53, 1:52, that's not impossible
Nothing is, eventually. This young lady is that good. No question about it."
The king has spoken.
DAY 4 BLOG
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
EUGENE, OREGON - The Curse of Bobby Smith lives.
For the third time in the last four USA Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field - the old Hayward and the glittering new
$275-million Hayward - the men's javelin throw champion is being made to jump through hoops (not an Olympic event) if he actually wants
to compete at the Games.
Let me tell you it all began at the 2008 Trials with Bobby Smith, a student at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. (which, truth in track-writing
be told, happens to be my hometown.) Bobby, also an oft-injured and miraculously-repaired running back on the Monmouth football
team, unleashed a throw of 76.06 meters/ 249 feet, 6 inches, for the best performance of his jav-throwing life.
But it wasn't good enough for the USA team selectors, mired in the requirements of the Olympic standards-makers. So also-rans Mike Hazle and a different Smith, Leigh (no relation), wound up going to Beijing. They'd been clever enough to get their qualifying marks (their cherished Q's)
in earlier, better-weathered, wind-favored meets.
And so Bobby Smith became the first man in U.S, track and field history to win at the Trials and not go to the Games.
The Curse continued in 2012 with Texas A&M's Sam Humphreys, whose 2012 Trials-winning toss again lacked that "Q." Similarly deprived was second-placer Sam Crouser. Craig Kinsley, Sean Furey and Cyrus Hostetler, the 3-4-5 placers, wound up going to London.
Things improved marginally at the 2016 Trials when winner Hostetler actually reached "Q" status at Hayward. But the 2-3 finishers, Curtis Thompson and
Riley Dolezal, again fell short, and Rio Olympic berths went to Sam Crouser (in fourth) and (would you believe this? ) 11th-placer Sean Furey.
But Curtis Thompson, the former New Jersey high school pheenom at Florence High School and then NCAA champion at Mississippi State, wasn't about to
be flummoxed out of another crack at the Trials, and so he was there yet again, Monday afternoon, June 21st, 2021, ready to give it
his best shot all over again.
He delivered a sensational series - by American standards - winging his spear, in order, 80.34/ 265-3, 74.27/ 243-8, 79.36/ 260-4, 80.08/ 262-9, 79.15/ 259-8, and on his very last attempt, the best yet, a clutch, big-time 82.78 / 271-7 chuck.
But guess what? The 82.78 still wasn't Q-worthy.
Second and third-placers Michael Shuey (79.24/ 260-0) and Riley Dolezal (77.07 / 252-10) weren't masters of their Olympic fate, either.
The Olympic Games javelin standard is a mighty performance of 85 meters, or 278-10. Trouble is that mighty few men on earth are up to that standard. The 2021 world list is topped by Germany's Johannes Vetter at 96.29 meters, which translates to 315 feet, 10 inches, which translates to one complete American football field and just 50 inches shy of two end zones.
Even without the automatic Q, there's a good chance Thompson will get to throw in Tokyo. He ranks 18th in the world for 2021 and that, as the decision-makers of World Athletics, the global governing body of the sport, get to work, should get him the Olympic opportunity denied him so frustratingly four years ago. Shuey (36th on the world list) and Dolezal (43rd) are much longer shots for Tokyo..
To backtrack, however, why put these valiant spearmen through such aggravation in the first place?
A lot of fingers can be pointed at the Hayward architects/engineers/designers.
The "new Hayward" javelin runway heads south to north, just as it was at "old Hayward."
"The dynamics of it all don't seem to add up," said veteran Hayward track enthusiast Frank Ratti, a man who has seen it all, as an athlete
(who once hoped to get into the U.S. Olympic marathon trial), official, fan, volunteer, expert analyst and amateur anenometrist.
"The best throwers need a tailwind to get their best throws.
"Today, they were throwing into the wind, which probably cost them a lot of meters.
"It's been like that at Hayward - forever. "
Had Thompson, et al, been throwing north to south, the numbers on the results sheets would have been very very much larger..
But such is life with these wielders of the ancient weapon.
They take the conditions they're given. They don't bitch and moan.
Bobby Smith certainly didn't in 2008. He got on with his life, and now directs a busy, growing, successful physical therapy practice in
Ocean Township, N.J.
He surely wishes fellow New Jerseyan Curtis Thompson the very best if and when the list-makers add him to the roster of the
Tokyo javelin field.
It's a clear case of "c'est la vie" all over again.