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RIP: Dick Buerkle, 72

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  • #31
    I had a chance to meet and talk to Dick when he came to do a clinic for NJ-TAC in the early 1980s. I always recall the stories of he and his training partner in the Upstate NY winter shoveling off one lane of snow on the local track so they could do an interval workout.

    May he Rest In Peace.

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    • #32


      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ture=emb_title

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      • #33
        It was on this day, July 6, 1974, that I saw Buerkle run. It was in the US - USSR dual meet in Durham, NC, the first big meet I ever saw. He won the 5000 by nearly 15 seconds, running 13:26.11 (still the fastest 5000 ever run in NC) with the crowd roaring its approval.

        If I remember correctly, in the TFN article about the meet, Buerkle was asked what he thought about during a race, and he replied, "Sex. And this race was one long orgasm."

        (Probably my favorite memory of that meet are of Rick Wohlhuter winning the 800 in 1:44.03, when Yevgeniy Arzhanov was a no show. Wohlhuter ran (I think) negative splits of c. 52.5 / 51.5. Another memorable moment was the streaker who leaped out of the stands, raced down the field, then did a two-footed front dive over the fence at the open end of thes stadium (while a female Soviet discus thrower looked around in amazement).

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        • #34
          Why does he wear a German jersey?
          Regards
          Basslop

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          • #35
            Originally posted by basslop View Post

            Why does he wear a German jersey?
            He must have got it from an exchange with a German athlete. For many years, Steve Ovett, when running in meets when he didn't have to wear a national or club colours, would wear a Soviet Union vest he must have obtained from a meet at some stage.

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            • #36
              A good guess as to where Buerkle got the German singlet would be at the US-WG dual meet in 1973. (Fair chance we might see a picture of that race in Part 12 of "The Pre Chronicles.)

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              • #37
                NY TImes obituary (may be behind paywall): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/21/s...ies-at-72.html

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                • #38
                  Very nice obit....with this closing...

                  Shortly after Prefontaine’s death the following year in an automobile accident in Eugene, Ore., Buerkle wrote a poem that he dictated over the telephone to a reporter at The Register-Guard in Eugene. It read in part:

                  And now it’s over just like that.

                  The hearts begin to bleed.

                  No more will dirt in London, Oslo,

                  Crush beneath your feet.

                  It’s up to other artists now

                  To make the tempo sweet.

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                  • #39
                    I am trying to find an interview my daughter
                    had with Dick before 2008 Beijing OG. She was In Medill
                    School of Journalism and USA had considered
                    boycotting OG in Beijing, I believe around 2004-5 and she wrote a story on two
                    athletes reflections on what it was like in 1980 to
                    sit home. One was a neighbor who missed 1980 OG
                    as a gymnast for Puerto Rico and the other was Dick.
                    i remember Dick’s responses as being humble and
                    accepting of US decision in 80 and how he moved on with his life...

                    After being quarantined out of state for six months
                    i returned to my neighborhood finally last week and
                    will look for article.. it was a good insight into the
                    character of Dick.
                    Last edited by midwestfan; 07-25-2020, 06:01 PM.

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                    • #40
                      I don't know if he was humble about it...though perhaps with your daughter he was ...but in the Times obit his comments were similar to what I thought at the time.

                      Buerkle disagreed with boycott, ordered by President Jimmy Carter. “Of course, the boycott is justified if it can bring about peace,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer at the time, “but the way it was handled was obnoxious, underhanded, threatening.”

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
                        I don't know if he was humble about it...though perhaps with your daughter he was ...but in the Times obit his comments were similar to what I thought at the time.

                        Buerkle disagreed with boycott, ordered by President Jimmy Carter. “Of course, the boycott is justified if it can bring about peace,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer at the time, “but the way it was handled was obnoxious, underhanded, threatening.”
                        I think everyone was hostile and angry with Carter's decision. My daughter's interview with Dick was some 25 years later around 2004-2005 and it was a telephone interview from Chicago to Atlanta.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by midwestfan View Post

                          I think everyone was hostile and angry with Carter's decision. My daughter's interview with Dick was some 25 years later around 2004-2005 and it was a telephone interview from Chicago to Atlanta.
                          That's right..long after....I remember you mentioned it once...

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by midwestfan View Post

                            I think everyone was hostile and angry with Carter's decision.
                            Let's not forget that it was not Carter's decision; it was Carter's recommendation and the USOC's decision. The USOC knuckled under Carter's pressure and voted to boycott. The British Government made the same recommendation, and the British Olympic Association told the government to go stuff it. So Coe, Ovett, Wells, et al went to Moscow and Buerkle, Paige, Nehemiah, et al, did not.

                            Daley Thompson, who won the decathlon in Moscow, has expressed gratitude to the BOA for defying the government's instructions.

                            https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other...itude-22416932
                            Last edited by tandfman; 07-26-2020, 11:33 AM. Reason: Edited to add the reference to Thompson's comments, which I just saw this morning.

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                            • #44
                              It is amazing when you think about it how 1996 was only twelve years after 1980/1984, yet the threat of boycotts was thankfully long gone when we got to it.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Halfmiler2 View Post
                                It is amazing when you think about it how 1996 was only twelve years after 1980/1984, yet the threat of boycotts was thankfully long gone when we got to it.
                                Well the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of apartheid in South Africa certainly helped.

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