Sandy Pashkin, ousted as records chair, defends 11-year tenure

Marks rejected as age-group records are at bottom.

Click to view athletes, events rejected for American masters records.

Sandy Pashkin has been USATF Masters Records Committee chair since 2003 — perhaps a record tenure. But her term has been fraught with doubts on her competence. I’ve led the charge, based on my own research and reports from aggrieved athletes. Sandy said I had been the “bane of her existence” and explained why she hadn’t answered many of my emails: She didn’t trust me to depict her answers in context. Well, the video below (actually 8 minutes long) has uncut audio of my lone interview with her, taken after the Executive Committee meeting Tuesday at the Anaheim Hilton. Among other things, she says she was “asked to step down” as records chair. She also says her only mistakes have been typos — corrected when brought to her attention. Remarkably, she defends her Committee of One, saying other national records committees have been dysfunctional. At Tuesday’s meeting, she distributed her latest list of records — plus explanations for why 15 marks were rejected, including Charles Austin’s 2.05 (6-8 3/4) would-be M45 world record. (She says proof of age was lacking and contends he was the only high jumper). Also booted were six Irene Obera marks.

Print Friendly

December 2, 2014

24 Responses

  1. Ken Stone - December 2, 2014

    In the interview, I make reference to a mutual agreement. That’s what Gary Snyder told me when asked how she came to leave the Records Committee — not how Jeff Brower came to be the incoming masters records chair.

  2. Steve Sanders - December 3, 2014

    Hopefully the OTCM will follow suit and remove Sandy Pashkin from their board as well. Perhaps that would be a step in the right direction toward restoring the Hayward Classic to a meet of masters prominence.

  3. Masters Rankings - December 3, 2014

    Thank you Sandy for doing a difficult job so well. You have always quietly done your job with the highest integrity and waveringly following the rules. I appreciate all you have done for masters especially how much time you have volunteered to make masters track and field better (many masters may not realize how much time Sandy devotes to masters and how much she helps make our T&F world better).

    I believe that the only mistakes Sandy has made are typos because I trust Sandy’s thoroughness. Sandy should not be blamed for record rejection due to onerous process or rules. I think it is a travesty that so many US or World best performances ever are not ratified but that has nothing to do with Sandy.

    I suspect that Sandy remembers the vast majority of details why a record is not presented which is absolutely amazing (many of us can’t remember what we had for dinner).

    Congratulations to Jeff Brower too. Jeff brings some great skills to this job which masters athletes will really appreciate.

  4. Anonymous - December 3, 2014

    It appears that none of Irene’s “booted” records were set at sanctioned meets. Sandy is correct on this.

  5. Mike Walker - December 3, 2014

    My impression is that the process to submit a record is pretty involved and very poorly understood. That said,in fairness to Sandy, the one time that I was involved with a meet where there was to be an attempt on an American record, we did the advance prepeartion, submitted the required paper work and I believe that the record was ratified in a reasonable time. Of course, we knew in advance of the attempt and were able to prepare properly plus we had people familiar with the process on hand. My suggestion is that improved communication to meet organizers and to athletes on the process to submit a record is needed plus the entire process should be reviewed to see if it could not be streamlined in some ways.

  6. javelin - December 3, 2014

    What is the minimum number of contests for a record to count in the multi events? Sometimes they combine age groups in heats. Does this count toward that number?

  7. Weia Reinboud - December 3, 2014

    I am puzzled by the rejection of records by ‘only 1 or 2 competitors’. You cannot blame someone for others not joining in.

  8. Ken Stone - December 3, 2014

    Javelin, it’s fine to combine age groups for sake of a record. But they all have to be competing in same race or flight.

  9. Mary Harada - December 3, 2014

    Sandy did a difficult job for many years and for that I thank her. She got a lot of flack for problems that were not of her making and little thanks for doing all the work required to ratify records.
    Going forward the process for submitting American and World records needs to be streamlined and clarified. It should not be a secret, it needs to be easily available and if possible done electronically. The process of running around with a piece of paper requesting signatures from overly busy officials is ridiculous.
    Athletes who think they might set a record should be able to go online and download forms that provide everything that will need to be done IF a record is set and be ratified. Assuming a meet director knows this can lead to difficulties. The responsibility lies with both the officials and the athlete.
    If the rules say that records can be set at only certain meets – publish the list – so athletes are not disappointed when they set a record at other meets, but do not make the list exclusive as to lock out most athletes who do not have trust funds.
    The only thing more frustrating than failing to meet one’s goal of setting an American or World Record is failing to have a record ratified because of failure to fill in all the forms properly, get the required signatures, have the wind gage readings, or not spacing the cones around the inner edge of the track at proper intervals or other such things.

  10. John - December 3, 2014

    For a meet to be”sanctioned”, a director should be REQUIRED to have all proper paperwork related to records on hand in addition to timing and wind reading equipment.If not don’t sanction the meet!

  11. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - December 4, 2014

    Well said John. There’s nothing secretive or opaque about the process. It’s all spelled out very clearly in the Rules of Competition, including the requirements that a meet be sanctioned for any records to be eligible for ratification and that there must be at least three competitors in a competition where a record is set.

  12. Mike - December 4, 2014

    Sanction application….

  13. Bill Murray - December 4, 2014

    Thank you Sandy for your tireless and thankless contributions to master’s track & field. Its’ easy to be critical when you don’t know what it is, you don’t know.

  14. Tim Edwards - December 4, 2014

    For those of us who have been around for a while, we remember what a disaster the records were before Sandy took over. Thanks for all of your hard work, Sandy.

    It has been my experience that those who yell the loudest do the least or nothing at all to improve the sport.
    Tim Edwards (Colorado)

  15. Ruth Thelen - December 4, 2014

    That makes me sad. I had sent record information to her and found her to be warm and professional. I do not understand what happened, and I don’t have to understand. All I know is that I hope she was treated with kindness and thankfulness for her years of service to USATF. Sandy — Thank you, and may the years ahead be gracious to you in whatever lies ahead. I have a feeling that you have learned much thru your ordeal and are much wiser for it. Growth is good for the soul.
    Take care, Ruth

  16. Noel Ruebel - December 5, 2014

    I’ve never performed to a level to need Sandy’s role as records chair, but I can tell you that her assistance with putting on the 2014 Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships as a member of the Games Committee was invaluable and much appreciated, (as was the help of the entire Games Committee). Those who complain the loudest are usually those who have never held a position like Sandy’s and have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. I found Sandy to be very approachable and prompt with responses to the plethora of questions I threw her way leading up to our meet, and very professional in dealing with issues that came up during the Championships.
    Sandy, thank you for your years of service to Masters Track & Field and I hope to see you in Winston Salem this coming March.
    PS – Everyone, please remember to thank an official at your next competition for their dedication and assistance in providing you the opportunity to compete in this great sport of ours.

  17. Alan Kolling - December 6, 2014

    I am confused by the claim that all of Irene’s booted marks were set at unsanctioned meets. Two of her marks were set at the Pacific Association masters championships, while the Sonoma County Snr Games certainly claimed to be sanctioned. I find it hard to believe that our Association masters championships are unsanctioned! Perhaps #4 Anonymous can shed more light on this.

    Also would appreciate someone clarifying what the “zero control test” refers to. When meets state that they are sanctioned, and elected Association officers are present as meet officials, one assumes that there are appropriate procedures in place.

    Finally, I am too new to the masters scene to “pass judgment” on any volunteer’s performance as a Masters committee officer. I can tell you however that in my years of serving on several committees including as Men’s T&F secretary, National Champs competition/Trials committee, and Law & Legislation (13 years and counting) I never ever failed to acknowledge or respond in a timely manner to any email message from any USATF constituent on any matter. And I certainly never used the excuse that I was too busy to do so. My limited interaction with Sandy Pashkin in this regard at least helps me understand the passionate reaction she generates in some quarters.

  18. Ken stone - December 7, 2014

    Alan, the zero control test is new to me as well. It deals with calibrating FAT systems. I’ve been told not every timing operator does this as required.

  19. mark williamson - December 7, 2014

    The records process really needs a form that requires several forms of contact once it has been received. The attitude that its none of our business is mistaken. There is no excuse as to why the system and athlete submitting it is not in sync. It does not need to be visible to everyone. The athlete needs information to access its status. Not knowing what was going on is the main problem.
    There are other deeper problems too. Go online and research what sanctioning is all about. It should not be a blind reason for a record rejection. It depends on the meet. Why? Some larger meets have their own version of what sanctioning accomplishes. If the meet facility and equipment has passed USATF certification and the meet has followed every other rule requirement plus have officials administer and submit a record there is no difference in that than a meet with usatf sanctioning. I am not talking about all comers but bigger meets. If they did it by the rules, this is where the records person must do their job instead of grabbing the rubber stamp …REJECT. I just hope it does not get any worse! Having 3 records rejected I know a thing or two.

  20. Anthony Treacher - December 8, 2014

    Ken. The Zero Control Test prerequisite for records is maybe better described on
    Mark. Yes. If the athlete is aiming for a record, in practice there is no alternative to the athlete ensuring that all prerequisites are satisfied prior to the event and that all the required paperwork has been submitted after the event.

  21. Alan Kolling - December 8, 2014

    My sincere thanks go to Peter Taylor for patiently setting out the parameters for Masters record ratification in an email message to me. Since I don’t fancy becoming labeled as a “Committee of One” I invite anyone out there who is equally concerned about the records ratification process to join me in working together to draft some rules changes in this regard. Who knows? We might even have an impact at some point in the future! (My email address is

  22. Myrle Mensey - December 10, 2014

    I’m still wondering if my outdoor mark of 16.81 will get ratified as a World record. It’s listed as an American record. Listed World record is 16.77

  23. Cheryl - December 12, 2014

    So our W55 4X100 record set at nationals was over looked. Who do we contact for consideration?

  24. mark williamson - December 15, 2014

    Cheryl, good luck going to the committee contact list and send Jeff Brower an email. Make sure you get a reply. That is accountability. Under the old records management, you will not know the status or reason. At a minimum there should be on-line accountability. If this continues with athletes not knowing, the problems will continue no matter who takes over. The verification process at the meet keeps integrity. At Nationals it is done for us but mistakes happen. If 2 or more people break a record in the same event but with different marks they both get credit for a pending record. This one gets overlooked.

Leave a Reply