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How Fast Was O.J.? "Stars" in Track


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  • How Fast Was O.J.? "Stars" in Track

    There have been dozens of fast football players, from All-Americans to novelty receivers. Vince Matthews was invited to Redskin camp, and Jimmy Hines suited up for the Dolphins. The Bengals tried to do something with John Carlos. We had Skeets Nehemiah, Darrell Green (what if he had solely focused on the 60- he could fly!),Ron Brown and Willie Gault. In college, O.J. Simpson and Earl McCullough (Lions WR)teamed up with Fred Kuller and Lennox Miller for a world mark in the 4 x 110 that was never broken.

    Ollie Matson, Bob Hayes and Rod Woodson were trackmen that were good football players. U. of Omaha running back Roger Sayers beat Bob Hayes in an AAU 200 M. His little brother Gale long jumped 24'11" in the state meet in Nebraska, longer than the winning leap in the Big 8 Championships that year (he beat Bobby Williams of Lincoln, a future NFL kick return leader for the late 1960's Cardinals). Has anyone read the story of how Sayers accomplished the distance? It's a great example of the power of suggestion (mind over matter).

    Wilt Chamberlain was a Big 8 Relays and Drake Relays 440 man, I think he won the latter once. Good high jumper (as was Bill Russell, who had to "choose" an Olympic sport in 1956). Johnny Mathis blew off the '56 Games to sign with Capitol and begin his recording sessions.

    BC Bayne

  • #2
    Re: How Fast Was O.J.?

    there was a mega-length thread about Wilt a few months ago. He was a pretty good high jumper but I do not believe he ever ran a 440.

    Russell was a legitimately good HJ'er, he even got his picture in T&FN in 1955. Jumped about 6'9" I think.

    As for Mathis, it's amazing how things get embellished by the main-stream media, as it has been said that " 'he qualified for the Olympic Trials'(whatever that means) but chose to concentrate on singing, so did not try to go to the Olympics in Melbourne."

    Makes it sound like more than it was. I believe he had a PR of 6'5" in the early 50's. I have heard that even he is embarrasssed that his HJ prowess has been exaggerated.


    • #3
      How Fast Was Wilt

      I beg to differ:

      Indeed, when he first arrived at Kansas -- where he jokingly says he was offered less money than some 200 other colleges would have paid -- Chamberlain was a slender 6-11, 202 pounds, not huge at all by today's collegiate standards.

      "I was fast and I could run and shoot pretty well," said the giant whose love of track and field was a plus in his recruitment to KU in 1955. His recruiting visit came on the weekend of the Kansas Relays, where he was wowed by the running of Independence native Charlie Tidwell. By his junior year, Chamberlain approached track coach Bill Easton and asked to high jump in an upcoming meet.

      "How can you jump when you haven't practiced?" Easton asked Wilt. "Just give me a chance," Chamberlain replied. He went on to jump 6-6 3/4 in winning the 1958 Big Eight championship and ran a leg on the mile relay.


      • #4
        Mathis at S.F. State

        SFSU alum Johnny Mathis receives lifetime Grammy

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        February 21, 2003

        At the 45th Grammy Awards Sunday, Feb. 23, S.F. State alumnus Johnny Mathis received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor recognizes the multifaceted singer's nearly five decades of top-selling vocal recordings.

        Mathis was attending San Francisco State College, as it was then called, when he got his first break in the recording business. On weekends, the English and physical education major sang with a fellow student's band at San Francisco jazz clubs. In 1955 a Columbia Records producer heard him and offered the 19-year-old a contract.

        Best known for his clear, velvety voice, Mathis was better recognized as a standout athlete in high school and college. As a student at George Washington High School in San Francisco's Richmond District, he was one of the city's top basketball players and a track-and-field star. He came to San Francisco State on an athletic scholarship and his record-setting high jump at State earned him an invitation to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team.


        • #5
          Re: Mathis at S.F. State

          HBijan I am not a quibbler, I promise...

          On Mathis, that press release is right in line with what I said... he was "invited " to the Olympic Trials. My guess is that meant there was then, as there is now, some sort of minimum qualification standard to compete. Assuming this was the case, he did not compete, knowing he had no chance to make the team with a PR of 6'5". I am not sure of the 6'5" business and do not know any details on his HS or collegiate prowess.

          I am knocking Mathis, he's a great singer....seen him in person twice. But the non-track fan hears this HJ story and thinks he's better than he was.

          Back to The Big Dipper.... have to defer to others' expertise, but your comment made it sound like he a 440 runner. Did he indeed run on the KU mile relay team in the conference meet and/or Drake ? I sure do not know.


          • #6
            Re: Mathis at S.F. State

            I second Steve on all this stuff. Whoever wrote the press release about Mathis probably confused attaining a qualifying mark with real Olympic potential. Johnny's marks seem to have been 4-6 inches below the level he would have needed to actually make the US Team. I've got my doubts that very many people got "invited" to try out for the Olympic team. I DO know, though, that Mathis has been a generous contributor to the SF State athletic program over the years and he deserves credit for that.

            As for Wilt, well, it was obvious from previous threads that so many contradictory claims about him were published that almost all of them lose credibility. What is obvious is that not many verifiable results back up the claims made by Wilt and by those who wrote puff pieces about him. He was an amazing guy who loved the personal mythology that was built around him and took lots of opportunities to expand the legend. At different times he portrayed himself as a potential Olympian in several track events, as a world class volleyball player and the best boxer on earth. My guess is that he had a lot of fun with all that bunk.


            • #7
              Re: Mathis at S.F. State

              OK,do we have to put a header at the top of the board that says "no more Wilt bullshit allowed"?

              Wilt was a marginal national-class high jumper (in terms of height cleared, not in terms of meets won). He was not a world class high jumper, he was not national-class performer in any other event, including 400, shot put, whatever event you choose. Other than spreading bullshit.

              His 20K+ sexual exploits have more validity than his track claims, OK? If you want to get into this tired topic again, please do a search on Chamberlain. Do we have to lay this utter crap to rest on a monthly basis?


              • #8
                Re: Mathis at S.F. State

                This book has tons of performances for celebrities and stars. It's a great book!



                • #9
                  Re: How Fast Was O.J.?

                  >was a legitimately good HJ'er, he even got his
                  >picture in T&FN in 1955. Jumped about 6'9" I

                  Ranked #7 in the world in 1956. Qualifies as "legitimately good" to me! (And better than Wilt to boot!)


                  • #10
                    Re: How Fast Was O.J.?

                    >As for Mathis, it's amazing how things
                    >get embellished by the main-stream media, as it
                    >has been said that " 'he qualified for the
                    >Olympic Trials'(whatever that means) but chose to
                    >concentrate on singing, so did not try to go to
                    >the Olympics in Melbourne."

                    Makes it sound like more than it was. I believe he had a PR of 6'5" in the early 50's. I have heard that even
                    >he is embarrasssed that his HJ prowess has been

                    If Mathis's prowess has been exaggerated--and it surely has--one need look no farther than the man himself. It was on a morning program during the LA Olympics (maybe w/ Bryant Gumbel) and they were indeed puffnig him a bit and he gave the "I was invited but declined" speech.

                    As you note, his PR was somewhere around 6-5. I don't know exactly how the "invitations" were handled in those days, but given that there were 25 Americans who jumped 6-7 or better in '56, and only 18 competed in the OT, I find it very hard to believe that a 6-5 guy was asked to join the party.

                    Great pipes though: he can come to any party I throw anytime.


                    • #11
                      Re: Mathis at S.F. State

                      This being inserted in all Wilt threads, in hopes of stifling the never-ending BS about his career. Check out facts from gh and dj on this thread:

             ... read=10792


                      • #12
                        DG vs. BH

                        Not to highjack this thread back to its original intent (altho I refuse to address the OJ issue), but I think Darrell Green and Bob Hayes were the two fastest on a football field, which is not the same as on the track. Dickey was purty fast in cleats too.


                        • #13
                          Re: DG vs. BH

                          Tommie Smith played in the preseason for Cincinnati in 1969, caught 1 pass for 44 yards, separated his shoulder and that was the end of his NFL career.


                          • #14
                            Re: How Fast Was O.J.?

                            O.J. Simpson ran a 9.7 second 100 yard dash in the superstars competition in 73' or 74' but he ran that time without the benefit of spikes. I dont know what time the 2nd place finisher ran, but Simpson was approx. 15 yards ahead.


                            • #15
                              Re: How Fast Was O.J.?

                              Athletes weren't invited to the 1956 trials. They qualified by being in the first six in either the NCAA nationals or the AAU nationals, with one person (I believe; it may have been two or three) qualifying from the interservice meet.
                              I am sure that Mathis qualified. I thought he competed.