Puerto Rico catastrophe sparks memories of 1983, 2003 worlds

Hurricane Maria, destroying power to Puerto Rico for months, is a catastrophe for the island. It brings to mind the fifth and 15th World Masters Athletics Championships — held in San Juan and Carolina in 1983 and 2003. Forty world records were set in the first visit and 27 the second. Al Sheahen’s account of the 1983 disaster remains the most honest and courageous meet report in history. It spares nobody. But it also celebrates the resiliency of visiting officials who righted a sinking ship and the friendliness of the people (even with the reported muggings). Many masters athletes have friends and family in P.R., and who knows the status of stadiums where 400 mainland Americans competed in 1983 and many more 20 years later. We hope the Roberto Clemente Sports Complex in Carolina and Sixto Escobar Stadium in San Juan will someday see age-groupers again excel. For now, life down there is brutal. Hope we hear soon from y’all.

Jerry Wojcik covered 2003 Puerto Rico worlds, far better than the 1983 fiasco.

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September 22, 2017

2 Responses

  1. David E. Ortman (M64), Seattle, WA - September 23, 2017

    The 2003 WMA San Juan meet was held in the same stadium where Javier Sotomayor set one of his world high jump records in 1989 (2.44m)). This meet was marred by the passage of Tropical Storm Claudette, which lashed San Juan with high winds, horizontal rain, and blowing tents and, ironically, postponed the start of the M50 High Jump.

  2. em - September 26, 2017

    Trump doesn’t care.

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