Willie Banks beats M55 American record in TJ, finds steel tape

I wrote a story Saturday about Willie Banks getting beat in the high jump by a 13-year-old (son of former masters jumper Ron Lee). But buried is news of Willie going 42-6 1/4 (12.96) in the triple jump. That beats the listed M55 AR of 12.62 (41-5) by Gordon Farrell back in 1975 — one of the oldest records on the books. Update: After first reporting that Willie’s mark won’t be ratified, for lack of a steel tape, he wrote me Sunday morning: “They held up the event until a steel tape could be purchased from the nearest Home Depot, so the record will be ratified. The actual distance metric was 12.98, 42-7!” (See results here.) He says paperwork is being processed as well. Willie hopes to compete at Landover indoor nationals and Olathe outdoor nationals. But no Brazil worlds. He has a Japanese commitment at that time. Willie’s first three jumps were fouls, with at least one about 44 feet. He scratched after his record jump, feeling tired. Check out my Patch story on the Clash of Generations at the USATF all-comers meet in San Diego.

One thing I didn’t mention in my story:

I saw a lady in her late 20s or early 30s taking pictures near where Willie was warming up, and said to her: “You know who Willie Banks is, don’t you?”

She replied: “Yeah, he’s the La Jolla coach.”

When I shared this exchange with Willie, he just smiled and said something to the effect: “It’s age.”

An announcer called attention to Willie’s presence by calling him a world record holder and “Olympic gold medalist.”

Not quite a medalist in 1984 and 1988, but Willie deserves that respect.

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February 2, 2013

3 Responses

  1. Jim Barrineau - February 6, 2013

    Congratulations Willie! The really amazing thing, however, is that Home Depot had a metric tape!

  2. grant lamothe - February 12, 2013

    Amazing day, Willie: be proud! (and thank God for Home Depot)

  3. Roald Bradstock - February 23, 2013

    congrats Willie

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