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Best athlete never to have competed at the US Trials

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  • Best athlete never to have competed at the US Trials

    The death of Adolph Plummer made me wonder if he was, perhaps, the best athlete not to have made it to the US Olympic trials. Any other suggestions?

  • #2
    Cornelius Warmerdam?
    Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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    • #3
      Just looking at Olympic-era quartermilers in non-war years, I think it's pretty close to a toss-up between Plummer and Vic Williams:

      Plummer: 1 WR, 1 AAU title (220y), 1 NCAA title (plus 4th place)
      Williams: 1 =WR, 2 AAU titles, 1 NCAA title (plus 2nd place), 1 IC4A title

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      • #4
        Has to be Dutch Warmerdam, doesn't it - Powell has it right

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        • #5
          Warmerdam belongs in a special category, since almost nobody was competing in anything at that point.

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          • #6
            He was 21 in 1936, so he easily could have made it.
            Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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            • #7
              The number of competitors admitted to the trials really opened up in 1968. Its probably easier to come up with "greats" from the earlier days.

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              • #8
                I suppose it's possible that Warmderdam did compete in the '36 OT. Anybody have a biography in which that subject is addressed? (I don't have one at hand).

                I say that because Richard Hymans' definitive history of the OT notes that all contemprary accounts of the meet list only the top 4 finishers, and there were surely more competitors than that.

                And Warmderdam was No. 7 on the U.S. list that year (No. 8 in the world), so he was certainly good neough to get in (even though he never scored in the NCAA meet as a collegian).

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                • #9
                  For what it's worth. The Chicago Tribune had extensive coverage of the trials in the July 12, 13 1936 editions. Long story on Front sports page, results that appear to list all finishers, sometimes a dozen, even the field events, and the pole vault only lists 4 names.

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                  • #10
                    The Tribune has a lot of coverage about track in 1936 during the year. And the only mention of Warmerdam is about the Drake Relays noting he was the favorite since he had done 14' 2 1/2" that year. He easily should qualified through one of semi final meets held June 27,28 in four cities that year.

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                    • #11
                      There appear to have been 11 vaulters at the FOT in 1936. Warmerdam was not among them as an abscessed tooth kept him from competing.

                      There were four qualifying meets to the FOT that year, the NCAA, and regional meets at Harvard, Marquette and the LA Coliseum. Warmerdam, who was 7th on the U.S. list at the time of the FOT, did not place in the top five in any of them, and only the first two in each were guaranteed spots at the FOT.

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                      • #12
                        11 sounds right if the top 2 in each of the four cities went. The others qualified on performance at the semi-finals, which were necessary to compete in to continue on to the FOT. The July 3, 1936 Tribune lists the additional 152 athletes invited after the automatic qualifiers. There were 4 pole vaulters: Jack Rand, San Diego; Albert Haller, Wisconsin; John Hooker, USC and Richard Valentine, Los Angeles.

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                        • #13
                          And none of those were in the top 4, who were Bill Graber, Earle Meadows, and William Sefton all tied at 14' 3" and George Varoff, 14'.

                          Which is all that is listed. Is it possible everyone else no heighted?
                          Last edited by cubehead; 12-03-2015, 03:23 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cubehead View Post
                            And none of those were in the top 4, who were Bill Graber, Earle Meadows, and William Sefton all tied at 14' 3" and George Varoff, 14'.

                            Which is all that is listed. Is it possible everyone else no heighted?
                            Unlikely that the remaining seven vaulters all no-heighted. I think the key will be to find a program that a spectator has filled out, remembering that people were much more inclined to do such a thing back then than they are now. I've seen some '36 FOT programs with results noted, but not for the PV.

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                            • #15
                              You're most likely right. In the throws the July 13, 1936 paper lists the top 6. In the high jump it lists 10, but 10th tied for 4th. The triple(hop, step, and jump) lists only 4. The running events list the top 8.

                              Anyhow we know Warmerdam did not compete in the FOT that year, and thus the logical answer to the original question to this thread.

                              And not a special case.

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