Rex Harvey, beating cancer, gets Yahoo Sports love on USATF job

Wednesday was a great day for Rex Harvey, our new masters national chair. Yahoo Sports ran a press release on his USATF job. Bigger yet, Rex wrote on Facebook: “Good News. Just finished status checkup yesterday with CAT scan and blood work. Tumors remaining from my appendix cancer are unchanged and the tumor protein indicators in my blood are in the normal range and still reducing. Thank God and all you friends who helped me through this challenge.” I also came across this shot of quintessential Rex — as deca-stud. He won at 1989 Eugene worlds in an M40 world record 7,724 points. That’s how I define Rex — not as a cancer survivor but as the first WR man to head USATF Masters Track & Field.

Rex (right) leads his hurdle race in WR decathlon. Click for story on fifth page.

Rex (right) leads in WR decathlon in 1989. Click for story on fifth page.

Here’s the Rex news release (with a rare double dateline):

DES MOINES, Iowa and PHOENIX, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Rex Harvey, 70, a Redfield, Iowa native, now resident of Prescott, AZ, has been elected Chair of USA Masters Track & Field, the organization that governs USA Track & Field Masters (age 35 and up). At the USATF Annual Meeting this weekend in Orlando, Florida, Harvey defeated Robert Thomas of Indiana. Harvey has dedicated much of his life to track and field, has served as Vice President of the World Masters Association and in 2009 was defeated by one vote for President of World Masters at their General Assembly in Finland.

At the renowned, historic Drake Relays at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa Harvey has spent 25 years competing and 25 years, including currently, as a top referee.

At USA Masters, he has served as At-Large Executive Board Member and Games Committee Member for many years including the last ten under outgoing USA Masters Chair Gary Snyder, who was elected as World Masters Delegate. Thomas was also elected as a WMA Delegate. Harvey will also be a WMA delegate by virtue of being the USA Chair

Harvey has made Track and Field a big part of his life’s mission. “I grew up in a very small town. My introduction to the great wide world beyond that town was through Track & Field. It has shaped and directed my life in a wonderfully positive way. I would like to pass the opportunity to expand their horizons, and honorably distinguish themselves on the track, and on the field, to as many people as possible,” he said.

After winning the leadership position, Harvey told the Orlando meeting that his priorities are to ‘simplify’, ‘clarify’, and ‘document’ how we function, and ‘give more’ to competitors in our nationals who do not usually win golds/silvers/bronze, such things as more awards and recognition through eighth place and participation certificates and mementos to all. He will seek to expand our participation, and to communicate better with members including reverse flow surveys of members. He wants to strengthen masters track social media outreach programs on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and will make that an agenda item at the upcoming national masters indoor championship in Albuquerque, NM in February.

Harvey began participating in track and field at the age of 12. He attended high school in rural Redfield, Iowa, where he won seventeen individual and four team state championships. He then went on to compete for Iowa State University where he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and was a Big 8 Conference runner- up six times in the pole vault. Harvey was awarded a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California while serving as an US Air Force officer for six years during the Viet Nam conflict. He continued a successful engineering career for twenty-eight more years with over 15 patents in his field. Thousands of commercial aircraft fly with some of his patents and supercomputers run with others.

As an open athlete, Harvey was a member of six USA international track and field teams and a 1976 Olympic trials finalist. He is a five-time World Masters Athletics World Champion and broke the World Record in the M45 Decathlon in 1991 which he held for seventeen years.

Harvey has been very prolific completing 161 decathlons, more than anyone ever. He has won numerous awards including the prestigious USA Track & Field President’s Award, the David Pain USA Masters Service Award, the USATF National Masters Administrator of the year, three-time USATF National Masters Combined Event Athlete of the year winning 13 National Championships in a row in the Decathlon. He has been inducted into the Iowa State Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame and USATF National Masters Hall of Fame for both Athletic and Administrative accomplishments. In addition, he has been inducted into the USATF National Officials Committee Hall of Fame for outstanding service to the Sport as a technical official.

There are over 10,000 members of USATF Masters. Also elected in Orlando: Jerry Bookin-Weiner, Vice Chair; Amanda Scotti, Secretary; Carroll DeWeese, Treasurer; and Latashia Key, Active Athletes Representative.

Contact: Bob Weiner, USATF National Masters Media Chair, or Camille Martin
301-283-0821, cell 202-306-1200

Rex eventually lost his WR. It’s now 8542 by Olympian Kip Janvrin at 2005 San Sebastian worlds. But Rex is still champ in our hearts.

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December 7, 2016

5 Responses

  1. Bridget Cushen - December 8, 2016

    Excellent news on your medical result, keep on fighting we are all behind you here in Britain. Don’t overwork!

  2. SusieQ - December 8, 2016

    Great news and well done!

  3. Roger Pierce - December 8, 2016

    Rex Harvey is the Absolute Best… What a fabulous career.. Good on ya Rex..

  4. Jack Karbens - December 8, 2016

    Congratulations, Rex. You are truly a legend in your time! Many thanks for the many times you have provided me with individual advice and encouragement. You show great empathy for every athlete, regardless of level of ability.

  5. Rick easley - December 12, 2016

    Very glad of this news for you, Rex. I just got the same news a couple of weeks ago. My oncologist says to me “you are cancer free, I’ll see you in three months”. Best news I’ve ever had and I know it was for you also.

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