Gerry Lindgren’s backstory — the dark side of a running legend
Boy, was I naive. When I interviewed Gerry Lindgren at the Hawaii masters nationals last month, I had no clue about his many-splendored malfeasances. I knew only about his track career. But today I read a 1987 article in Sports Illustrated by Kenny Moore about Gerry’s mystery life — living under an assumed name (Gale Young) for years, ignoring a paternity suit verdict, abandoning his wife, Betty, and their three children.
The article tells the story of a truly tortured soul, but it also contradicts what Gerry tells people in public. Gerry’s new autobiography begins with a little family history but says nothing about “the missing years” that Moore chronicles.
What a shame.
Moore’s 1987 article concluded thusly:
Lindgren turned 41 in March and says he intends to race contemporaries Jim Ryun and Tracy Smith on the newly popular masters circuit. His first chance will come May 16, in the Bud Light Legends Mile, on the same Eugene track where he held off Smith and sprinted into the spotlight 24 years ago.
”I’d like to run, and run really well, to show age is no barrier,” he says, his voice edging into the old song. ”And maybe talk to kids afterward about how if they believe and work, they can do anything. And then . . . then ideally I could go ‘Poof. . . .’ ”
He tosses up his hands, as if filling the air with magic smoke. ”. . . And be back in my secret, simple place.”
Later, a reader asked how Gerry did in that masters mile.
Lindgren finished 11th in a field of 15 with a time of 4:39.6. — ED.
Gerry’s life is still a Hollywood movie — but not just a running fairy tale.
Forget Ron Howard as director. Only Oliver Stone would do it justice.