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Frank Deford on Tommie Smith- 1967 Vintage

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  • Frank Deford on Tommie Smith- 1967 Vintage

    Classic:

    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ ... /index.htm

    They don't write 'em like that anymore.

  • #2
    Somebody's spending too much time in the vault . . .

    Comment


    • #3
      The Vault

      Gotta love it- a time when the Big Boys in Manhattan covered T & F, and athletes such as Lindren, Ryun, Boston and Matson received top billing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Frank Deford on Tommie Smith- 1967 Vintage

        Originally posted by bijanc
        Classic:

        http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ ... /index.htm

        They don't write 'em like that anymore.
        People forget he wasn't 100% in his WR/Olympic 200m. If he had of been....19.75 in 1968?

        I saw him run many times between 66-68. If they ever come up with a Mount Sprintmore, Tommie Smith will be there.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here's what I know of Tommie Smith.
          He came and raced in Victoria in 1968, 3 weeks before the Olympics.
          He jogged through the 400 m. in sunglasses, winning by 2 seconds in
          45.4... An hour later, he ran the anchor leg on the USA "B" 4 x 100 m. relay team, taking the baton from John Carlos, about 2-3 metres behind Jimmie Hines. Tommie blasted by Hines and won going away, and threw the baton about 80 feet in the air. The standing room only crowd erupted, having witnessed one of the most amazing relay races ever.
          The following year (1969), Tommie came back to Victoria, and ran through a 200 m. just for fun. After the race, and sharing a beverage with Tommie and a few others, he told us the following about the Olympic 200 m. Final.
          He had a mild strain (can't remember if it was quad. or hamstring), and was feeling it in warmup, and worried about running the turn. So, basically
          he was going to try and get through the turn, and then go for gold on the straight. Which is exactly what happened, of course. I have no idea how fast he might have been able to go, without that injury. What I do know is that Tommie's top-end speed was by far the best of his era, and way up there on the all-time list.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Frank Deford on Tommie Smith- 1967 Vintage

            Originally posted by bijanc
            Classic:

            http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ ... /index.htm

            They don't write 'em like that anymore.
            So true! Great stuff, really enjoyed that. Thanks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rasb
              Here's what I know of Tommie Smith.
              He came and raced in Victoria in 1968, 3 weeks before the Olympics.
              He jogged through the 400 m. in sunglasses, winning by 2 seconds in
              45.4... An hour later, he ran the anchor leg on the USA "B" 4 x 100 m. relay team, taking the baton from John Carlos, about 2-3 metres behind Jimmie Hines. Tommie blasted by Hines and won going away, and threw the baton about 80 feet in the air. The standing room only crowd erupted, having witnessed one of the most amazing relay races ever.
              The following year (1969), Tommie came back to Victoria, and ran through a 200 m. just for fun. After the race, and sharing a beverage with Tommie and a few others, he told us the following about the Olympic 200 m. Final.
              He had a mild strain (can't remember if it was quad. or hamstring), and was feeling it in warmup, and worried about running the turn. So, basically
              he was going to try and get through the turn, and then go for gold on the straight. Which is exactly what happened, of course. I have no idea how fast he might have been able to go, without that injury. What I do know is that Tommie's top-end speed was by far the best of his era, and way up there on the all-time list.
              It appears you saw Tommie on one of his really good days. I believe the time in the 400 m was 45.2. It is a shame we never got to see his full potential in this event - I am sure he could have gone quite a lot faster than his 44.5 in 1967 at SJS. Many great 400 m relay legs, but the best of many years back must remain Herb McKenley's 1952 Oly run (44.6) , and Tommie's (43.8) in 1966. Intrinsically, Herb's looks like the greater run, but then Smith was returning from injury. How many open 400/440s did TS run? And did he lose any of them?

              Comment


              • #8
                I missed the ESPN Smith-Carlos piece that was on recently. Will it be on again?

                Was there any footage of actual running (other than the Olympics) in the ESPN show?

                Wonder if the French documentary mentioned in the Deford article is around anywhere.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Peter Michaelson
                  I missed the ESPN Smith-Carlos piece that was on recently. Will it be on again?

                  Was there any footage of actual running (other than the Olympics) in the ESPN show?

                  Wonder if the French documentary mentioned in the Deford article is around anywhere.
                  Its on late tonite 1 am on ESPN. There is a little footage of them running elsewhere i believe. Here is a teaser- dont miss this its great!

                  http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=3879669
                  phsstt!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe my favorite track memory:

                    Standing on the infield next to Randy Matson watching Tommie Smith at the old West Coast Relays in the ramshackle Fresno State stadium on a balmy early summer evening, Tommie running at full-stride, tricked-out in his relaxation shades, passing people on the back stretch like they were standing still or maybe running backward, with the full house crowd in the bleachers jumping up and down and howling like banshees.

                    It doesn't get any better than that!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jhc68
                      Maybe my favorite track memory:

                      Standing on the infield next to Randy Matson watching Tommie Smith at the old West Coast Relays in the ramshackle Fresno State stadium on a balmy early summer evening, Tommie running at full-stride, tricked-out in his relaxation shades, passing people on the back stretch like they were standing still or maybe running backward, with the full house crowd in the bleachers jumping up and down and howling like banshees.

                      It doesn't get any better than that!
                      If it was a 4x2 I was there and saw that race. One of those...woooooooooooooooooooo's..for sure. Keep in mind (if we are talking the same...woooooooo) that the guy he finally caught was a national caliber 200m man. Bernie Rivers was no slouch.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Texas, I don't recall the specific race but I imagine you are right (you usually are about such matters).

                        The old West Coast Relays was a wonderful meet. The high jump pit was mid-field and right next to the track on what I guess would have been the west side of the field. For me, the negative was that you faced the bleachers when jumping and the bar was hard to see since it was in front of a wall of spectators. The positive was that there was so much energy in the air and so many spectacular performers all around.

                        The night I was recalling, my team-mate and I stashed our goods to the left of the high jump apron, near the shot ring, and began stretching when we noticed Randy Matson standing a few feet away throwing his shot straight up, very high into the air and catching it with his throwing hand. He was casual and completely in control but we decided to move to another spot just in case we might get accidentally brained. Of course, it never occurred to us to ask Matson to move away!

                        Later, when the relays were going full-bore, most everything stopped and most everyone stared to see what the speed city guys would do. Matson and I stood next to each other and exchanged a few words I don't recall but amounted to a mutual "Wow!"

                        Another great thing about Fresno was that winners used to get a watch! I always wanted one (some relay guys I knew had several!) but the closest I got was a pair of seconds which produced a belt-buckle and a tie-clip. Oh, well, I wear the tie-clip occasionally and the watch would have crapped out decades ago (or so I like to believe).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhc68
                          Texas, I don't recall the specific race but I imagine you are right (you usually are about such matters).

                          The old West Coast Relays was a wonderful meet. The high jump pit was mid-field and right next to the track on what I guess would have been the west side of the field. For me, the negative was that you faced the bleachers when jumping and the bar was hard to see since it was in front of a wall of spectators. The positive was that there was so much energy in the air and so many spectacular performers all around.

                          The night I was recalling, my team-mate and I stashed our goods to the left of the high jump apron, near the shot ring, and began stretching when we noticed Randy Matson standing a few feet away throwing his shot straight up, very high into the air and catching it with his throwing hand. He was casual and completely in control but we decided to move to another spot just in case we might get accidentally brained. Of course, it never occurred to us to ask Matson to move away!

                          Later, when the relays were going full-bore, most everything stopped and most everyone stared to see what the speed city guys would do. Matson and I stood next to each other and exchanged a few words I don't recall but amounted to a mutual "Wow!"

                          Another great thing about Fresno was that winners used to get a watch! I always wanted one (some relay guys I knew had several!) but the closest I got was a pair of seconds which produced a belt-buckle and a tie-clip. Oh, well, I wear the tie-clip occasionally and the watch would have crapped out decades ago (or so I like to believe).
                          Fresno was a happening, no doubt about it. Everybody came all dressed up and it was big. As you know it would get real territorial especially in the high school competition. The 4x1 being the biggie. Could that local Edison team hang with teams from San Jose, Sac, the Bay area and SoCal. If it was close at the final exchange that place would go bonkers.

                          I was there when the word came down that this kid in Florida a Houston McTear had just ran a 9.2. That got a woooooooooo. Some time later the word came down that McTear had just ran a ...9....(pause).......FLAT!!!!!!! That brought a ..WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Anyone got Tommie Smith semi winning FAT for the 220yards at 1967 NCAA.
                            Patinauds 1932-1983 Temps Automatiques doesn't show it.
                            It does however show :
                            2nd 20.94 Bob Rovere
                            3rd 20.97 Jerry Bright
                            I may have asked this before, so forgive me my senior moments!

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                            • #15
                              Frank Deford: g's favorite track writer! :wink:

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