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  • Helen S
    replied
    I am curious now what the state of women’s track was at various times in the US. At my HS in Gary, Indiana there was a team, but I can’t tell you much about them- their longest race was 180 yards, they did not have meets when the boys did. It was barely above an intramural sport.
    I started the women’s team at my college (Earlham ‘74) the year after I graduated because there were a few women who wanted to run track, but the men’s coach said they were not in his job description.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    Originally posted by tandfman View Post
    It's interesting that you should mention Debbie Heald. I confess that like almost all of the people I knew who were serious track fans, including the Nelsons, there was a time when I followed the men closely but the women not at all. All of that changed when I attended the US-USSR indoor meet in Richmond, VA in March, 1972. Heald upset the Soviets and in doing so set a World Indoor Record in he mile. It was by far the most exciting event of a good meet and it really got me hooked on the possibility of following the women's side of the sport, which I've done closely ever since.
    One of the best and exciting races I've ever seen....

    On a similar note, I never paid attention to women's marathons until Cheryl Bridges ran 2:49 in 1971. A decent time for that era by anyone. It was the first time I realized women could run competitive times.
    Last edited by Conor Dary; 04-12-2021, 05:07 PM.

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  • tandfman
    replied
    Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
    Debbie Heald was my age and she ran as fast as I did in high school.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LrvJ2bsFduY
    It's interesting that you should mention Debbie Heald. I confess that like almost all of the people I knew who were serious track fans, including the Nelsons, there was a time when I followed the men closely but the women not at all. All of that changed when I attended the US-USSR indoor meet in Richmond, VA in March, 1972. Heald upset the Soviets and in doing so set a World Indoor Record in he mile. It was by far the most exciting event of a good meet and it really got me hooked on the possibility of following the women's side of the sport, which I've done closely ever since.

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  • Powell
    replied
    Originally posted by Trickstat View Post

    In the UK, international meets tended to include both, but, until about the early 1990s, there were a lot of separate meets at national and regional level. In the late 1970s and 1980s there was the UK Championships which was an early season meet with men's and women's events but there was also the AAA Champs for men and WAAA Champs for women. The AAA was always televised and often included some overseas athletes, while the WAAA rarely had overseas athletes, was often not televised and also incorporated the championships for under 17 and under 15 girls. The vast majority of spectators for the WAAA would have had a personal connection to a competitor which was not the case for the AAA.
    The Polish championships included both sexes in one meet since 1950. Many, though not all, international matches (which were a big thing in the 1950s and 60s) also had both men's and women's events. So did major meets like the Kusociński Memorial.
    Last edited by Powell; 04-11-2021, 07:44 PM.

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  • noone
    replied
    While not covering women’s track, T&FN did have room for Masters’ track back then.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    Originally posted by Trickstat View Post

    Here in the UK, Athletics Weekly began in 1946(?) and I think always covered men's and women's sides. I know it covered both in the mid 1960s issues my parents had. This is despite England in particular having separate governing bodies until the early 1990s and quite a lot of men only and women only clubs existing, particularly in London, until around about that time.
    In the US high school and college track has long been a big deal ...something the UK doesn't have on a significant level so not surprising they would have cover women's track back then.

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  • Trickstat
    replied
    Originally posted by Powell View Post

    But again, that was a US thing. Internationally, most T&F meets included both men's and women's events.
    In the UK, international meets tended to include both, but, until about the early 1990s, there were a lot of separate meets at national and regional level. In the late 1970s and 1980s there was the UK Championships which was an early season meet with men's and women's events but there was also the AAA Champs for men and WAAA Champs for women. The AAA was always televised and often included some overseas athletes, while the WAAA rarely had overseas athletes, was often not televised and also incorporated the championships for under 17 and under 15 girls. The vast majority of spectators for the WAAA would have had a personal connection to a competitor which was not the case for the AAA.

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  • aaronk
    replied
    For a sport that took 32 years to get even one event in the Olympics (1896 to 1928!), and that it took Title IX to rev up Women's coverage of T&F in T&FN---is not surprising!
    I'd heard of Women's track mags, but couldn't afford them!
    It took until the very late 70's before my Record Book started including Women's marks!
    That was due to it being near impossible to find any books or magazines that had that info!
    But I still didn't like Bert Nelson's decision to not cover them!
    (I think the first women's coverage in T&FN was in 1973 or 1974 with a story about Mary Decker!)

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  • Powell
    replied
    Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
    The only women sports noticed much at all then were the ones that had women competing at the same time as the men. Swimming and tennis...
    But again, that was a US thing. Internationally, most T&F meets included both men's and women's events.

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  • Vault-emort
    replied
    Originally posted by Powell View Post

    But from what I heard, the ATFS Annual didn't include women's lists until around 1980, either.
    Apparently, the ATFS Annual had women's stats from 1952 but they were removed for some reason in the 60s. The ATFS then put out a 'Handbook of Women's Track & Field' from 1964 which it appears was published into the 70s. Thankfully the ATFS added women back into the main annual from 1979.

    The ATFS, at the time, included no females (and still doesn't have many women members), so there may well have been similar views to those of Bert Nelson and few to argue against them.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    The only women sports noticed much at all then were the ones that had women competing at the same time as the men. Swimming and tennis...

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    I remember in 1970 or so they said the same thing again when the question came up..there was no room in the magazine for women's track ....which made sense at the time. Men's track was a pretty big deal. There was more than enough for one magazine.

    Women's track wasn't much...few competitions and fewer cared.
    Last edited by Conor Dary; 04-11-2021, 01:32 AM.

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  • Atticus
    replied
    While that sentiment sure wouldn't fly today, at the time, he was just being old-school candid. Lots of people like to disparage the word 'woke', but I feel it perfectly describes what is happening now, as we emerge from our long slumber of ignorance.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    Originally posted by Vault-emort View Post

    Surely the women's track publications only began because there was no women's coverage in T&FN?
    From Louise Tricard's Women's Track history, 1959....



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  • Vault-emort
    replied
    Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
    I don't know why T&FN didn't cover women then. It could have been that they didn't want to intrude on the women track publications. There were so few women's meets.
    Surely the women's track publications only began because there was no women's coverage in T&FN?

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