Rex Harvey, beating cancer, gets Yahoo Sports love on USATF job

Wednesday was a great day for Rex Harvey, our new masters national chair. Yahoo Sports ran a press release on his USATF job. Bigger yet, Rex wrote on Facebook: “Good News. Just finished status checkup yesterday with CAT scan and blood work. Tumors remaining from my appendix cancer are unchanged and the tumor protein indicators in my blood are in the normal range and still reducing. Thank God and all you friends who helped me through this challenge.” I also came across this shot of quintessential Rex — as deca-stud. He won at 1989 Eugene worlds in an M40 world record 7,724 points. That’s how I define Rex — not as a cancer survivor but as the first WR man to head USATF Masters Track & Field.

Rex (right) leads his hurdle race in WR decathlon. Click for story on fifth page.

Rex (right) leads in WR decathlon in 1989. Click for story on fifth page.

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December 7, 2016  2 Comments

Alisa Harvey ZCT-missing 800 mark OK’d by Records Committee

In Orlando, Masters T&F Records chair Jeff Brower submitted a list of 129 “approved” marks for USATF American age-group records. The wider USATF Records Committee signed off on 130. The extra mark? It’s No. 166 — Alisa Harvey’s W50 indoor 800 record of 2:18.14 on February 20, 2016. Jeff listed it as “In Waiting” because of a “missing” zero-control test for the starter’s gun. Maybe it arrived in time, or maybe the Records Committee found a work-around. In any case, congrats to Alisa. (I’ll check with Jeff on how the mark got accepted.)

Alisa Harvey races at 2012 Olympic Trials in masters 400 exhibition.

Alisa races at the 2012 Eugene Olympic Trials in masters 400 exhibition.

December 6, 2016  3 Comments

Veteris through 1979 searchable, but hunt is on for missing issues

Possibly the last issue of Veteris.

Possibly the last issue of Veteris.

While updating mastershistory.org, I uploaded newly scanned issues of Veteris magazine from 1977 through 1979. When first created in 2008, the site had issues only through 1976. But when I reviewed the old archive I was shocked to realize I hadn’t made them searchable PDFs. In other words, they were invisible to Google as far as indexing text and pictures. Not good. So I downloaded the whole original batch and made each issue searchable (or editable in PDF parlance). So now we have almost a complete set of the British-based magazine of the short-lived Association of Veteran Athletes. If anyone has issues before April 1979, let me know. Also ready for your nostalgic pleasure are newspaper stories about the 1989 WAVA world meet in Eugene, Oregon. The Oregonian and Register-Guard did a ton of stories and even featured the meet on Page 1. The clips are incredible. The late NMN publisher Al Sheahen saved them, thank goodness.

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December 5, 2016  One Comment

Rex Harvey wins national masters T&F chair; Spokane nationals

Rex is the new king of USATF Masters T&F Committee.

Rex is the new king of Masters T&F Committee.

Rex Harvey lost the WMA presidency by one vote in 2009 but handily won the chairmanship of the USATF Masters T&F Committee over the weekend in Orlando. He had 76 votes to 46 for Robert Thomas. He took over from termed-out Gary Snyder. Jerry Bookin-Weiner won the vice chair job (edging Mark Cleary 69-54), and Amanda Scotti of National Masters News outpointed incumbent Joseph Ols 84-37 for secretary, according to Masters Media Chair Bob Weiner. Carroll DeWeese was re-elected treasurer by acclamation. Bob adds: “Rex said his first priority is to ‘simplify’ how we function, ‘give more back’ to competitors in our nationals, to expand our participation, who do not win golds/silvers/bronze like more ribbons through eighth place and certificates for participation to all, and to communicate better with members. He wants to expand MTF social media component and we’ll ask Sandy Lee Triolo, who has launched good starting MTF programs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as part of Media Committee, to talk with the e-com meeting in Albuquerque which will be held the Friday evening during the meet.”

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December 4, 2016  30 Comments

Germany’s Alfred Hermes hits IAAF for not honoring masters, vow

Alfred turned 70 this year. But he's not getting soft.

Alfred turned 70 this year. He’s not getting soft.

Our German masters blogger friend Alfred Hermes is angry about IAAF’s failure to fly in masters for its renamed gala. He wrote me: “IAAF is obviously no longer willing to honor Masters during the Athletics Gala in Monaco. This decision was announced by the WMA in the run-up to the 2016 [WMA] elections. For this reason, WMA postponed the election of the masters athletes of the year 2016 to the end of the year in order to be able to take account of the achievements of the World Championships in Perth. Also affected are the Masters World Athletes of the previous year Silke Schmidt and David Heath. In 2015, IAAF had not organized an athletics gala to honor the Athletes of the year 2015 in Monaco because of the doping scandals. But IAAF invited them to the Athletics Awards 2016, as the Gala is now called, but not Schmidt and Heath. It is a demonstration of low rating of Master sport.” On his website, Alfred quoted WMA Vice President Margit Jungmann as saying: “Our efforts to change that were unfortunately unsuccessful. This is a huge step backwards for us; we have to start with the new owner from the front. This is the situation that we very depressed about, but we will persistently fight to reach it again.”

December 3, 2016  One Comment

Bill Collins wins 4th Athlete of the Year Award; Hall of Famers told

Bill Collins would have lowered his own M65 WR with this 12.18 at Perth. Photo by Rob Jerome

Bill Collins kicked butt at Perth. Photo by Rob Jerome

For the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career, Bill Collins has been named USATF Masters Male Athlete of the Year. (Other years were 1997, 2003 and 2006.) He outpointed 5XWR distance man Sean Wade and 400-meter WR crusher Allen Woodard. Bill’s three indoor WRs and Perth exploits — going from hospital bed to gold-medal stand — made him irresistible to voters on Mary Trotto’s Masters Awards Committee. (Irene Obera is default Women’s AoY.) The panel also listed age-group athletes of the year. And Mary’s Hall of Fame Committee (of which I’m also a member) has chosen for induction sprinter Renee (Henderson) Shepherd in her first year of eligibility and middle-distance great Horace Grant in his last year on the ballot. Also named to the HoF are the late Bill Benson and meet announcer Pete Taylor (as an administrator). Woohoo to all! Many are in Orlando for the annual meeting, and I’m still waiting for results of elections and meet-site selections. Please pipe up if you have the lowdown.

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December 2, 2016  11 Comments

Jeff Davison wins David Pain Award as shuttle hurdles relay maven

Jeff Davison isn’t a stellar hurdler — although he claims an age-57 record for the 110-meter highs set at 42 inches (22.74). But he’s famed in a bigger way — as founder of the shuttle hurdle relay in masters track. Before him, it never happened. Because of him, it did. And to honor that effort started 10 years ago, I nominated him for the David Pain Distinguished Service Award. This week, the USATF Masters Awards Committee agreed. He was voted the prestigious Pain award (formerly called Masters Administrator of the Year Award). My first mention of Jeff and the shuttles came in January 2006 under the headline “Shuttle hurdle relays: Virgin territory for masters.” Later, I reported in 2010 how USATF adopted the hurdle relay as an official event at masters nationals. Now we have 13 records in the event — over 320-, 400- and 440-meter distances. Dozens of athletes call themselves American record-holders as a result. David Pain pioneered a sport. Jeff Davison pioneered an event. Proper that he won this award.

Jeff also runs shuttles, here in 2014.

Jeff of Laguna Hills (south of Los Angeles) also runs shuttles, here in 2014.

December 1, 2016  12 Comments

120 USATF masters records set for ratification at Orlando meeting

Sean's 10K WR is set for ratification at Orlando annual meeting.

Sean’s 10K mark (also a WR) is set for record ratification at Orlando annual meeting.

Jeff Brower, masters records chair, has filed his list of USATF age-group records for approval in the wider Records Committee at the Orlando annual meeting. (See it here.) Some 168 marks were considered for review. Ten were rejected for reasons like illegal wind, meet lacking a USATF sanction or track not being marked properly. Three dozen were tossed as having already been surpassed. And a pair (by W50 Alisa Harvey for 800s) are still listed as “waiting” on zero-control test (the gun check). Most records went to W85 thrower Gloria Krug (six), M50 distance Sean Wade (six), W75 thrower Joanne Marriott (six), W65 thrower Myrle Mensey (five), W55 sprinter-hurdler Joy Upshaw (five), W80 thrower Mary Roman (four) and W75 sprinter-jumper Kathy Bergen (four). Generally, record submissions are rubber-stamped. So if you need to object, make your voice heard soon.

November 30, 2016  2 Comments

Merlene Ottey done sprinting? Retirement suggested in news story

Merlene in 2010, age 50.

Merlene in 2010, age 50, in WR 100 (11.72).

Merlene Ottey in her 40s and 50s has been fun to follow as fan clubs (and moi) tracked her progress from one Olympiad to the next. Now it’s done. Merlene, 56, is quitting the masters record chase, says a Jamaican newspaper: “The evergreen sprinter told The Gleaner that she would welcome the opportunity to get involved in coaching or to play an ambassadorial role in advancing and promoting the sport.” She said of Usain Bolt: “I know what he is going through. I got a bit tired. In the beginning, I was just going out there to run to see how fast I could run and I got to the point where I said I was satisfied and it was time to walk off.” She also reveals a shift from Slovenia to another European nation: “I am in Switzerland. I just moved there two years ago.” Merlene thus hangs up her spikes with all 100 and 200 WRs in W35, W40, W45 and W50. Plus four indoor WRs (three in the 60, one at 200). I last wrote about her in 2011. Maybe I will again.

November 29, 2016  2 Comments

Irene Obera paired with Sydney McLaughlin in AoY announcement

It’s not news that W80 superstar Irene Obera is USATF’s Masters Athlete of the Year. But I love how Indy paired Irene, 82, with 16-year-old phenom Sydney McLaughlin in Monday’s homepage announcement. Sixty-six years apart, but fellow hurdlers they are. “McLaughlin and Obera will be honored on Saturday, December 3, at the Jesse Owens Awards in Orlando, Florida,” says USATF. “The event is held in conjunction with USATF’s Annual Meeting. A limited amount of tickets are available on site beginning Wednesday, November 30, at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista Hotel.” And just to think that Hall of Famer Irene was talking retirement 11 years ago and also more recently.

Sydney and Irene are just two peas in the superstar pod. Great work by Indy graphics person!

Sydney and Irene are just two peas in the superstar pod. Great photo editing!

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November 28, 2016  6 Comments