plans ‘World Rankings Awards’ in 2015

The late Olga Kotelko would likely be No. 1 in any 2014 rankings.

John Seto thinks his seasonal lists website can be a platform for “World Rankings Awards” for 2015. He writes: “Athletes will get points for their ranking (legal wind performances only) in each ranked event and the athlete with the most combined points in each WMA region after the 2015 rankings are finished in early 2016 will receive an award. The athlete who earns the most points worldwide may get a different award.” He concedes this is an idea-in-progress. But first he has to assure (or its parallel sites) is financially sustainable. More recognition is good. But some single-event athletes may consider this unfair. (What if a 50-year-old high-jumps 7 feet or runs a sub-4 mile?) Also TBD: What prizes, and who pays for them? On the positive side, this could encourage more event experimentation — and compete with the highly subjective (and political) IAAF World’s Best Athlete Awards. We’ll keep an eye on this, and see what WMA thinks of it.

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October 10, 2014  17 Comments

Doc has the wobblies in Indian 100-meter masters championship

Tamil Nadu is a state in southern India. One of its masters sprinters is named Dr. George Abraham Ambattu. But he could use a cure for the wobblies. Watch him cross the line in a 100-meter dash in March, winning what a YouTube video depicts as the “National Masters Athletics Championships-2014 in Coimbatore. Tamilnadu. Men U40 100M Final.” Officials appear to be watching the start well. Hope they watched the finish as well. Anyone got results?

October 9, 2014  4 Comments

WR in W75 shot by 18 feet? Results posted for Huntsman Games

The Huntsman World Senior Games track meet wrapped up Wednesday in St. George, Utah, and results have been graciously shared by Judie Pesznecker. One stuck out as Beamonesque, but I doubt its accuracy. W75 Ingeborg Siegers of Germany is credited with a 2-kilo shot mark Monday of 16.63 meters (54-6 1/2), or 18 feet better than the listed WR of 11.10 (36-5) by Evaun Williams and nearly twice as far as the runner-up. [Thursday update: Judie says she looked at a later report of the shot put and it shows Ingeborg Siegers with a 6.63m shot and in 6th place. "I’ve made that change on our website," she writes.]. Also, we see a first-place tie in the M80 shot of 10.02 meters (32-10 1/2) by Melvin Heath and Leonard Rosen. So neither had a second throw to break the tie? I don’t have my PDF-combining software with me at the moment, so here are the files separately for all three days: Monday field events and Monday track events, Tuesday field events and Tuesday track events and Wednesday field events and Wednesday track events. Sorry for the hassle. Any notable marks I’m missing?

October 8, 2014  13 Comments

Are track women more competitive than road-running women?

Track women have different motivations?

Women like road races more than track meets because LDR events aren’t as competitive. That’s my summary of a story summarizing an article in Evolutionary Psychology. I suspect some of y’all may beg to differ. Is it really true that female distance runners don’t really care how they finish? In any case, here’s what a Michigan shrink said: “Road races have grown tremendously in popularity in the past few decades but most runners have a recreational orientation, not a competitive one. This is shown in how they answer questionnaires and in their generally slow performances. They run for their mental and physical well-being and to socialize. Track meets are completely different — there aren’t medals for every finisher, they haven’t become popular, and the runners that do show up almost always run fast.”

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October 7, 2014  4 Comments

Ralph Maxwell dies at 94; was among greatest older athletes ever

Ralph: a rare gem

Ralph was a rare gem.

Former USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and M90 multi-event superstar Ralph Maxwell died Sept. 28 at his home in Richville, Minnesota, surrounded by family, according to news reports. He was 94 and never ceased to make me smile. He competed as recently as March in Florida. A retired judge who set many records, WMA still lists him for M90 outdoor WRs in the 80- and 200-meter hurdles and the decathlon and pentathlon. He also was vault recordman for a few years. Indoors, he holds the 60-meter hurdles record and the pent best. He’s been featured here many times, and sometimes for antics off the track (his anti-Romney poem, for example). I haven’t read a cause of death, but nearly two years ago, he talked about having cancer. Type not specified. In December 2012, he wrote me: “I’ve got good news and bad. First, the bad. It’s cancer. The good news is this: When you eventually die, it will be some other cause, not this one.” Ralph said he was in Costa Rica for Christmas, “vigorously training as usual — running, jumping, throwing. If I felt any better, I would have to be put on a leash.”

Ralph was the greatest M90 hurdler in history, especially at 2011 worlds.

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October 6, 2014  16 Comments

Seto’s quietly moves to

Here's what John's site looked like Sunday.

Here’s what John’s site looked like Sunday.

John Seto’s work-in-progress website remodel continues. But an interesting development is the name of the site. He registered to house the databases created for He also says he’s moved to a new server ( “This should perform faster and have less, if any, interruptions than the previous host,” he writes. So now you can access the U.S. and world lists via either name. The good stuff (season lists, events and age groups, men and women) are found in dropdown menus on the lefthand side. Site is less cluttered. On Oct. 2, John posted this note on homepage:”The site improvements are progressing well and you should be able to submit your results again by the end of my day on October 5th. Thank you to those who have provided feedback and suggestions. Some have already been incorporated. Obviously, the site appearance has been changed. There are some subtle things that are being done dynamically but it will not impact using the site.”

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October 5, 2014  3 Comments

Willie Banks shaken ‘to the core’ by group’s Olympic Torch award

Willie looked sharp at Chicago awards dinner.

Late last month, M55 jumper Willie Banks was honored at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly awards dinner in Chicago, which drew a crowd of 300. He received the group’s Olympic Torch award for his positive impact on the Olympic Movement. “When they told me about the award, I was shaking to the core because you don’t expect these kinds of things — especially somebody like me because I wasn’t a huge star,” Banks said. “To be recognized for the amount of time I spent away from my family and the long times in hotels and airports, it’s a great feeling.” The site report added: “His athletic accomplishments include setting the world record in 1985 and holding it for a decade. He is also well-known for popularizing the triple jump by encouraging the crowd to clap as he prepared for his run-up, a tradition that Friday’s crowd acknowledged by beginning that rhythmic clap during the presentation of Banks’ award. The 58-year-old was quick to humor his audience by hopping up from his seat and taking three jumps in front of the stage.”

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October 4, 2014  3 Comments

Plaudits for Jim Flanik — named to USATF Officials Hall of Fame

Our guy in green.

USATF officials have their own email list, and Friday’s revealed a top honor for Jim Flanik, a longtime member of the USATF Masters T&F Games Committee. (These five or so folks make sure meets are run properly and fairly.) Sue Polansky reports: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the Class of 2014 of the National Officials Hall of Fame. Those receiving this, our highest honor, have not only exhibited expertise in officiating but have contributed greatly to the promotion of our sport. All have donated their time and talents to making the lives of officials across the country better and to the National Officials Committee. We will proudly welcome Laurie Boemker, James Flanik, Len Krsak, Dan Reynolds and Eric Zemper to the National Officials Hall Of Fame. Please join us at the Officials Awards Dinner and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim. The cost is $49 per person and we know that you will enjoy this special evening.” Congrats, Jim! Enjoy your time out of the sun!

October 3, 2014  6 Comments

World champ Carol Finsrud donates field for Texas throws meets

Carol is discus specialist, but does all throws.

Seth Brower, the world-class meet diector, writes from Texas: “Some pretty exciting news. [Hall of Famer] Carol Finsrud is going to let us use her Atlas Field outside Lockhart (her training area) for future throws meets.  It will be such a relief to have a place I can count on for throws meets and even clinics. It already has the basic throwing areas. But need to purchase a cage, pour another pad, and do some other improvements.”

Whatta a sense of humor!   Actually, she means it. Lady can throw that platter thingee.

Whatta a sense of humor! Actually, she means it. Lady can throw that thingee.

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October 2, 2014  4 Comments

46-year-old Italian gets 4-year doping ban after half-marathon

Triathlete Giuseppe must have had similar expression after hearing of ban.

According to the latest IAAF newsletter, the Italian runner Giuseppe Baldelli got busted for doping and was slapped with a four-year suspension. This report, translated from Italian, said: “Giuseppe Baldelli, triathlete affiliated Fidal, according to the company Avis Perugia, was disqualified from the CONI Anti-Doping Tribunal for 4 years for use of performance-enhancing drugs. Baldelli had tested positive for NESP, the Darbopoietina, the evolution of EPO during an examination arranged by the April 6, 2014, at the Half Marathon Corciano. The prosecutor had asked for 4 years of doping stop, request received in full then. Baldelli will return to the races in 2018.” He wasn’t the only over-35er nailed. So were “Søren Hammer (DOB 13.11.71) DEN Out-of-competition test, DEN 26.03.14 2 years ineligibility 14.04.14-13.04.16″ and “Aziz Makhrout (DOB 01.01.78) MAR IAAF Rule 32.2 (c) – Refusal to submit to an in competition doping control, ‘Mezza Maratona Corcianese’, Corciano, ITA 08.04.14 2 years ineligibility 08.06.14-07.06.16.” Meanwwhile, kiddos, the IAAF has added to the banned substances list. So be careful out there.

October 1, 2014  12 Comments