Monday, May 28, 2007

Some Track History On the Web

I love finding nuggets on the web like this classic video of Emil Zatopek's gutsy come-from-behind win in the 1952 Olympic 5000m. If you've never watched him run, check out that exaggerated head roll for which he was famous. Here's a vivid description of the end of that awe-inspiring race (in the section titled "The Nickel, the Dime, and the Big One"). Also watch for Great Britain's unlucky Chris Chataway (who would help pace Roger Bannister 2 years later to the first sub 4 mile in history) as he trips and falls with 150m to go in the race, thus losing out on a medal. Ouch! That's cinder! He did get up and finish the race in 5th place (you might not know that Chataway had a hand in the creation of the Guinness Book of World Records):

Check out these vintage photos, including this one of professional runner Walter G. George, who in 1886 ran the mile in 4:12.75, a world record that stood until 1915, when amateur Norman Taber ran a 4:12 3/5:

This website dedicated to Alfie Shrubb, a British runner who dominated middle-distance events in the early 1900s, is an interesting peak into the early days of middle-distance running, when races were held at all kinds of unusual distances, including 1.75 miles and 4000 yards:

Okay, one more. Here's some footage of Bob Beamon's world-record long jump in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He jumped so much further than ever before, the official measuring device wasn't long enough to measure the results! I still love watching that incredulous look on Beamon's face mid-jump and his unbridled display of joy and disbelief after he heard the official result of 8.90m (29' 2 1/2"). The looks on the officials' faces are priceless, too, when Beamon composes himself after his celebration and goes around shaking all of their hands:

Finish Line Pundit Archives