Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hall of Fame Week in New York City

An honor and a privilege this week to attend the induction of the inaugural class of the National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame at the New York Athletic Club at Linda Prefontaine's invitation.

Here Linda is giving the induction speech for her brother, Steve:

Gonzaga's legendary coach Pat Tyson spoke (via video) on behalf of Pre as well as several additional lucky inductees:

I asked inductees, as well as athletes at the New Balance National High School Indoor Championships, what they think it took or takes to become a member of this Hall of Fame.

I think their answers will interest and delight you, and I'll be posting this article soon.

Linda and I saw some of the sights, especially in Central Park. It snowed upon arrival and Linda was stuck in Denver while two flights were cancelled and a third brought her to New York  almost a full day late. Many thanks to Linda for hanging in there and being so focused on getting to the NYAC for her brother's induction.

I'd like to conclude with sending my heartfelt thanks to Linda Prefontaine for her wholly unexpected invitation which made this thrilling experience possible. 

I mean, I spoke with Jesse Owens' granddaughter!

Pinch me.

Steve Prefontaine in a high school race.
Marshfield High School
Coos Bay, Oregon

Thursday, March 8, 2018

High School T+F Hall of Fame Broadcast Tonight

The NSAF - National Scholastic Athletics Foundation - will induct 30 members into its  inaugural class of their National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame tonight at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

NSAF is a non-profit foundation known for sponsoring the national indoor and outdoor high school championships; the indoor championships get underway tomorrow at The Armory in New York City.

Tonight's event begins at 6:00 and will be live-streamed on USATF.TV starting at at 7:40 Eastern:

The inaugural class of 30 includes Jesse Owens, Jim Ryun, Willye White, Steve Prefontaine, Kim Gallagher, Milt Campbell, Lynn Bjorklund, Bob Matthias, Kathy McMillan, and Allyson Felix. Here's a link to the complete list:

Many of the inductees are expected to be in attendance, as well as family members of inductees who are no longer with us.

Trackerati is in attendance and a full report will be posted here this weekend. One of the more unexpected phone calls of my life came when Linda Prefontaine, Steve's sister - and about whom I had written an article last summer - invited me to be her guest tonight.

photo credit:

Steve Prefontaine and Coach Bill Bowerman
the day Pre ran his first sub-4:00 
minute mile.

Here a link to the article about Linda Prefontaine:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Roger Bannister

Royalty of a Different Kind

Roger Bannister, icon of track and field, runner of the first sub-4:00 minute mile, and noted scientist and researcher of neurological conditions, passed away quietly in his sleep on Saturday at his home in Oxford, England. His family announced his passing this morning.

I never had the privilege of meeting this legend, but I did see him at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, when he was announced as the presenter of the medals in the 1500m. 

The crowd gasped at this unexpected privilege. Prince Andrew was in attendance and had been expected to do the honors. 

Instead, we got royalty of a different kind.

One note: so much was and is made of the first sub-4:00 minute mile that we rarely see it referred to as the world record it was. 

Bannister's 3:59.4 broke Gunder Hagg's (Swe) 4:01.4 by an astonishing 2 full seconds.

copyright Vanguard News

copyright BBC

Numerous tributes are available on the web.

From England, here are posts from the BBC, The Guardian and Athletics Weekly:

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Day #2 Madness from spikesmag

The IAAF Spikes Magazine's delightfully demented crew has outdone itself with its Day #2 report. Even Polonius - the only man in Great Britain not to have been DQed on Friday - gets a nod. Then ITO (International Technical Official) Hamlet shows up and delivers the ultimate DQ.

Huh? Exactly. This is as close to a must-read as you'll find this year.

And it's only March.


The magic may be found here:

Must note that the excitement in Seattle is palpable as Brooks Beast Drew Windle qualified for the men's 800m final on Saturday with a personal best 1:45.52. He has drawn lane 3 with favorite Adam Kzsczot (Pol) to his inside in Lane 1 - a perfect setup for a medal-winning performance.

Will Windle become the 2nd Beast to bring home a World Championships 800m medal?
Nick Symmonds was the first (outdoors) in Moscow in 2013 when he won silver.

It looks good for Windle from here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Two Favorites and an Upset

The IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, got underway today with three finals: both high jumps and the women's 3,000m.

The men's high jump featured a big upset when Russia's 20 year old Danil Lysenko upet Qatar's heavily favored 2017 outdoor World Champion Mutaz Essa Barshim. Germany's Mateusz Przybylko took bronze, his first major meet medal.

World Indoor Champion Danil Lysenko, Russia
copyright gettyimages for IAAF

The competition went according to form in the women's high jump as Russia's two-time outdoor World Champion Mariya Lasitskene continued her dominance of this event with an 8cm win. Defending champion Vashti Cunningham (US) won silver while Italy's Alessia Trost, a recent entry to the field, surprised with bronze.

Lasitskene clearing the high jump bar; the logo covers the landing pads.
copyright gettyimages for IAAF
Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba, returning from an uncharacteristically challenging 2017, won the women's 3,000. Sifan Hassan (NL) won silver while Great Britain's Laura Muir won a surprise bronze after a harrowing trip from Glasgow to Birmingham in the snow.

Genzebe Dibaba wins the 3,000m with Sifan Hassan 2nd and home crowd favorite Laura Muir 3rd.
copyright gettyimages for IAAF

Kudos to IAAF for their creative presentation of the high jump competition. The event took center stage with the respective men's and women's pits placed in the center of the arena, back-to-back, with the two competitions taking place simultaneously.

(post written in Seattle)