Peter Hlavin wins international bronze medal — as visual artist

Peter draws what he knows. But who posed?

Peter draws what he knows. But who posed?

The National Art Museum of Sport this week announced awards for the 4th Annual International Fine Art Competition, called Commitment to Excellence in Art & Sport. Medals for 2D works were awarded, including a bronze to Peter Hlavin of Aliso Viejo, California. Yes, that’s our Peter Hlavin, the former M55 American record-holder in the high jump. A news release said: “The National Art Museum of Sport, NCAA and New Canaan Historical Society will host an awards ceremony and opening night reception for the competition exhibition featuring the artwork of the finalists at the New Canaan Historical Society, 13 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT, Sunday, September 7, 5-7pm EST. A special preview for families with young children will be Sunday from 3-5pm. Sponsors of the competition will attend a preview and VIP reception Saturday, September 6, 5-7pm. Christine D. Glidden, Redding, CT, is chairman of the competition and exhibit. … The exhibit is open to the public through November 3, 2014.” Congrats, Peter! Tell us where you get your art ideas!

September 7, 2014  7 Comments

Dedicated to Randy: First 28 issues of NMN are now posted

Also historic: NMN debuts on glossy paper.

As noted, Randy Sturgeon gave the USATF Historical Archive Committee permission to post complete early issues of National Masters News. Today the first 28 issues of this pivotal publication appeared on They are color, searchable PDFs. That means if your name was in the paper between the summer of 1977 and December 1980, you’ll find it. Many photos grace these issues as well. Among current stars who showed up in NMN during its infancy was Irene Obera, who set a bunch of records in 1979 and was named Masters Athlete of the Year. She was 45. Read Al Sheahen’s fire-breathing reports on issues in the World Association of Veteran Athletes and Mike Tymn’s first columns. On behalf of the USATF-funded committee (me, Jeff Davison and Andy Hecker), I welcome you to view these historic documents. (Easy way to search the issues: In Google, type: “Your Name or Keyword Here”)

First 10 issues had no photos, but they were packed with vivid reporting and bold opinions.

First 10 covers had no photos, but were packed with bold reporting and opinions.

September 6, 2014  7 Comments

Randy Sturgeon dies at 62; coach published NMN for 7 years

Randy’s last major meet was 2010 Sacramento nationals, near home.

Randy Sturgeon, who bought National Masters News in November 2006 and gave it up last January amid a cancer fight, died with dignity and courage about 5 a.m. Thursday. NMN’s current owners followed Facebook postings with an email that said: “It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the news of Randy Sturgeon’s passing. Randy, former publisher of National Masters News, coach, athlete and friend to all in Masters LDR and Track & Field, slipped away peacefully early this morning after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed.” In May 2013, he gave people hope that he was beating mouth and throat cancer. But in July 2014, he was looking at the end game, writing “The plan is a two- to three-week break and then start a lesser chemo regimen [or] go with none. None really isn’t an option because they want to keep the mouth cancer in check [and] focus on the lung, giving me some more quality days. I am hopeful. However, I am okay and ready to go home anytime the Lord calls. I just want to finish with grace, dignity and at home with friends and family. That is the best thing that can happen.”

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September 6, 2014  14 Comments

No age limit on hoaxes: ‘116-year-old’ sprinter back in the news

What's the payoff for this gent?

What’s the payoff for Dharmapal? Who’s using him?

If track and field is ageless, then so is the hunger for attention. Remember Dharmapal Gujjar — the skinny sprinter claiming to be 116? Well, he’s baaaccck. Otherwise reputable Japanese mega-newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports (without using his name) that DG has entered the Asian Masters Athletics Championships in Kitikami City, Japan. The credulous headline: “At 116, Indian man ready to take on younger athletes.” Gag me with a Pacer pole. At least the newspaper quotes the chairman of Japan Masters Athletics as saying: “He looks a far cry from 116 years old in the photo. If (the man’s age) proves authentic, it would be astonishing news.” Don’t bet on it, fella.

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September 6, 2014  No Comments

Eurovets become Euromasters, finally righting a 40-year-old wrong

Logo is updated, too.

Logo is updated, too. But EMA also stands for European Medicines Agency.

In 1975, the vote was tied: What would they call the worldwide adult age-group governing body? “Masters” and “Veterans” had equal votes. So the tie was broken by a Brit: presiding chairman Jack Fitzgerald of The Association of Veteran Athletes. That’s how WAVA came to be. Later, they thought better of it (worried that “veterans” suggested military vets, hurting their branding and sponsorship potential). So WAVA became WMA. Now the last vestiges of veteranism are gone. The European Veterans Athletics Association has become the European Masters Association. So says the Eurovets site. About time.

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September 4, 2014  4 Comments

Indian masters medalists can win mega-rupees at WMA meets

Yowza! Medal-winners at major WMA meets can earn paychecks — at least those from the northern Indian state of Haryana. According to the Times of India, “The government has also increased the cash awards for medallists in Asian Masters Athletics Championship and World Masters Athletic Championships. … The cash award for medal winners … has also been increased for gold medal from Rs 35,000 to Rs 70,000, silver from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 and bronze from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000.” Before you book your flight and apply for citizenship, be aware that the exchange rate is about 60 rupees to a dollar. So the payouts are about $1,200, $850 and $500. Anyone else offer moola for medals? In its early years, WAVA fought to include professionals (athletes excluded from IAAF competition by earning small stipends. Think Jim Thorpe and his lost Olympic medals.) Love the $$$ idea. Are you listening, USATF?

A W55 Indian hurdler (eventually DQ’d) at Lahti worlds would miss payday.

September 3, 2014  5 Comments

WMA has a year to create 105-and-over age group — or else

M100 isn’t what she used to be. Hidekichi “Golden Bolt” Miyazaki, 103, of Japan is challenging Usain Bolt to a race in 2015 and planning an assault on the record books. Only one problem: WMA affords him no opportunity to set records when he’s 105. As I’ve noted, WMA age groups end at M100 and W100. In other words, 113-year-olds are lumped with their spring-chicken centenarian cousins. But in this otherwise delightful story, we’re told: “Having become the planet’s fastest centenarian in 2010, he now has his sights on another milestone in the unlikely 105-109 age group category. ‘That’s what I’m training for,’ said Miyazaki, who loses valuable seconds at the start of races because he can’t hear the gun go off. ‘It’s my birthday next month and that’s my next goal.’ He need only cross the finish line to set the new world record as no official mark exists in that age class.” So listen up, Japanese affiliate. Request a WMA rule change that creates a 105-and-over age group. Or you’ll have to answer to the Golden Bolt.

Hidekichi is gunning for a showdown with Bolt and a nonexistent record.

Hidekichi is gunning for a showdown with Bolt and a nonexistent record.

September 2, 2014  10 Comments

Joe Johnston went high at Rocky Mountain Masters Games

Joe (left) and Jerry with RMMG award.  Janet Johnston photo

Joe (left) and Jerry with RMMG award. Janet Johnston photo

Sue Norton graciously shared results of the USATF Colorado Association, Mid-America Region Championships and Rocky Mountain Masters Games, held August 23-24 at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. See the results PDF, which includes ages. Sue, prez of the Colorado Masters Track & Field Club, writes: “We had a great meet — 26 Mid-America and 22 RMMG records were broken.” Top award went to M70 jumper/hurdler Joe Johnston,   reports Christel Donley: “Colorado Masters Track & Field “Jerry Donley” pole vault award was presented to Joe for the highest [Age-Graded] percentage men or women. Five more awards were given, a tradition at that meet.” Jerry is Christel’s hubby, a longtime athlete and masters official. Joe jumped 2.90 (9-6) in the vault, and also excelled at the 100 (15.65), 80 hurdles (14.45), high jump (1.31), discus (27.55) and javelin (28.78).

September 1, 2014  3 Comments

Gia Lewis-Smallwood sets discus AR at 35; masters snub next?

Check out Gia’s interview after USA nationals.

Can there be any doubt that Gia Lewis-Smallwood holds the W35 American record in the discus? If other mammoth heaves since turning 35 in April weren’t proof enough, she did us all a favor Saturday in Valence, France. As reported by her alma mater, Gia “set a new American record in the discus at the French-sanctioned DecaNation meet. The Champaign, Illinois, native won the event with a throw of 69.17 meters (226-11), besting the field by over 6 meters. [Her] toss surpasses the previous American record of 67.74 meters, set by Stephanie Brown-Trafton in the spring of 2012.” Her previous PR was 67.59 at the Glasgow Diamond League earlier this year. Gia is expected to compete in Marrakech, Morocco, on Sept. 13-14. Next goal would be the W35 world record of 69.60 (228-4) by Russian Olympic champ Faina Myelnik. Since age-group ARs set at North Carolina nationals are listed as pending, it’s only fair that Gia get her name in the masters record books as well.

August 31, 2014  8 Comments

W85 Rachel Hanssens of Belgium may be next Olga Kotelko

Rachel added many medals at Eurovets meet.

Rachel Hanssens is no stranger to world records, but in the past two months, she’s outdone herself — and even the legendary Olga Kotelko. Belgium’s Rachel beat the listed Olga record in the throws pentathlon — twice. First was in early July and again (but lower score) at the Eurovets meet in Turkey. According to the possibly error-ridden record tally, Rachel set eight W85 WRs at Euro WMA regionals. (But her pent score in July was 4,926 points, vs. the 4846 at Eurovets.) Both crushed Olga’s listed WR of 4211. So now Rachel is in the running for IAAF World Best Masters Athlete. In July, she reportedly set three WRs. Rachel deserves consideration despite the WMA prejudice against the oldest age groups because “they don’t have much competition in their age group.” Bull-puckey. WRs still count. Soft records are rare.

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August 30, 2014  One Comment