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Pekka Vasala at BYU, 1969.

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  • Pekka Vasala at BYU, 1969.

    It's not a secret that the BYU track program had a "pipeline" to Finnish/Swedish track athletes in the late 1950's up into the 80's. But few realize that Pekka Vasala was at BYU in the fall of 1969 and would have competed for the Cougars except for a calf injury that sent him back to Finland for treatment...and then he decided not to come back. And Lasse Viren also came to BYU about the same time and did run in some races for BYU in the spring of 1970.

    Here's a brief quote from my October 17, 1969 journal, "Had fun joshing around with David Hindley and Pekka Vasala and the Bergeson's." Then another quote from the next day, "Pekka and I ran about 4-miles over the campus route--running the hills hard up and easy down."

  • #2
    And Juha Vaatainen was at Adams State College a bit earlier.

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    • #3
      someone (not "no one") told me that Joaquim Cruz attended (or camped out for a while at) BYU as well - late 70s early 80s(?). Pretty rare talent air.

      Sports Illustrated:

      in Provo he struggled both on and off the track. Unable to speak any English, he had difficulty making friends. For the same reason, he could not enroll at BYU. Worst of all, the unmercifully cold weather forced him to train indoors, where the pounding on hard surfaces contributed to the growth of a bone spur on the top of his right foot. He lived in pain.

      When the pain in the foot became too intense, Cruz and de Oliveira traveled to Eugene to consult Dr. Stan James, an orthopedic surgeon. Cruz's right leg is slightly shorter than his left, and that disparity had caused both the bone spur and the occasional back pain Joaquim had been experiencing. Cruz and de Oliveira took a liking to both James and Oregon. In January 1982, they moved to Eugene.

      "It was a very difficult time for us," says de Oliveira. "Everybody in Provo had been so nice to us—but the weather was just so cold." In Eugene, things were slow to improve. Cruz enrolled in special English courses at the University of Oregon, but three times he failed the equivalency test required for full admission...."

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      • #4
        Must have passed it on his fourth try?

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        • #5
          It's interesting that BYU has been away from recruiting from abroad for some time now...virtually all of their best athletes now are all "made in the USA"...just ask Ed Eyestone or Mark Robison. I don't know if it was a conscious effort to so do, but , nevertheless, it is the status now.

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          • #6
            Love to run; take a look at your PM's.

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            • #7
              What do you mean by "PM's"?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lovetorun
                What do you mean by "PM's"?
                Personal messages.

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