Ross Dunton’s rankings are dead; long live any future rankings

In 2003 and 2004, with Dave Clingan retired from his world masters rankings efforts, Ross Dunton of Tennessee took up the challenge. Coach Dunton, an unpaid volunteer for World Masters Athletics, collated some national championship results from Europe, America and Oceania and called it a world performance list. The online rankings were useless, which I pointed out. And now they are worse than useless. They are gone. Dead links.

Dunton’s 2003 outdoor lists page says: “Contact me if you want one of the 2003 Outdoor Rankings data files.” Ditto for the 2004 outdoor lists. Ross apparently gave up on a 2005 set — either tired of being bashed or finally realizing the embarrassment that they were.
But wait! I am omnipotent. I have the power to raise the dead. With help from The Wayback Machine, an Internet archiving service, I resurrected Dunton’s 2003 outdoor lists. Check out the archived 2003 page. The 2004 lists haven’t been spidered yet, that I can find. They’ll show up eventually.
In October 2002, WMA records honcho Brian Oxley wrote: “The WMA has acknowledged the desirability of rankings for all our championship events. President Carlius has already announced that the work will be undertaken by Ross Dunton and I am very happy to be able to work with Ross on this challenge. Rankings are of great interest to all.”
Well, they still are, Brian. But with Ross Dunton’s failed efforts put out of their misery, who will be handed the torch and provide masters athletics with a true and credible world seasonal masters rankings?
Time to get serious, WMA. According to your June 2005 interim budget, $500 was allocated for masters rankings. It wasn’t spent. So what’s the deal? Why not bump up the gig to $1,000 or $2,000 and find someone with high professional standards to produce a seasonal rankings similar to the IAAF Top Lists? Skim some dough from the $150,000 rights fee you charge folks hosting world championship meets.
An investment in seasonal rankings — updated frequently DURING the season, not just posted long afterward — would go a long way toward satisfying a ravenous curiosity of age-group athletes around the world as well as giving our niche some long-overdue respectability.
The unpaid-volunteer experiment was a bomb.
Or rather, given their yanking from the Web, a dud.

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October 1, 2005