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New Book! Olympians in Vacationland


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  • New Book! Olympians in Vacationland

    In July 1972, 54 members of the US Olympic track & field team took center stage at Bowdoin College where they trained for ten days before departing for the Munich Games. Fans streamed into the small coastal town of Brunswick, Maine, to collect autographs, take snapshots, and marvel at the athletes from trackside bleachers in Bowdoin’s Whittier Field stadium. The Olympians in Vacationland retrospective shares an intimate view of America’s best in action—Frank Shorter, Steve Prefontaine, Dave Wottle and Rod Milburn—and celebrates the achievements of these men who inspired millions to take to the roads and track in pursuit of their own Olympic dreams. Please visit

    I hope you enjoy it!


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    Last edited by tcoffin8; 08-13-2022, 08:25 PM.

  • #2
    You may enjoy the article by Tom Porter, formerly with NPR and now at Bowdoin College's communications office - he wrote a nice piece on the '72 training camp at:



    • #3
      I had the pleasure of connecting with Jack Bacheler last night, seeking his address to mail a copy of the book. He is a true gentleman and warrior, and was very generous with his time as I completed research for the book. I included a quote of his during an interview with Joan Nesbit of Runner's World. She asked about his transition from running to the next phase of life. Jack replied: "I never did. It's as if someone accidently died and I never got a chance to say what I wanted to say goodbye." Jack was injured after Munich and had to abruptly stop his training.
      Last edited by tcoffin8; 08-21-2022, 05:58 PM.


      • #4
        Photos were extremely hard to come by for the '72 photo-retrospective, Olympians in Vacationland. Through research and outreach to many of the Olympians, I learned many were lost, destroyed, or tucked away in some attic or garage. I was fortunate to come across the collection of Doug Morrell, whose parents Bob and Nan hosted over a dozen of the Olympians for a lobster bake at a cottage on Maquoit Bay in Brunswick, Maine. Sprinters and distance men alike lined up for steaming lobster, chicken, potatoes and corn on the cob. A few swam and waterskied, including Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler and Steve Prefontaine. This dock scene is one of the rare photos featured in the book (now available on LuLu and Amazon).


        Last edited by tcoffin8; 08-21-2022, 06:08 PM.


        • #5
          Jenner rallied the crowd when he took the American flag from a fan and took a victory lap after winning the decathlon at the Montreal Games in 1976. While researching Olympians in Vacationland, I learned the fan who handed Jenner the flag was a Maine-native and graduate of the University of Maine, Steve Elliot, who was a quarter miler and after jumping onto the track from the stands, was able to evade security and hand Jenner the Stars and Stripes.



          • #6
            Project 72 wishes to thank the Florida Track Club for allowing use of the image below for publication in Olympians in Vacationland. While still a relatively young club, it attracted the talented and hard working Jack Bacheler, and later, Frank Shorter who knew Bacheler could elevate his conditioning. Then came Jeff Galloway, who joined the two in Florida, and later, at altitude in Vail, Colorado. The training was transformative for all, as each qualified for Munich - Shorter in 10K and marathon; Galloway in the 10K; and Bacheler in the marathon, who was paced by the unselfish Galloway at the Trials.

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            • #7
              Check out this shot from Olympians in Vacationland. Bowerman is wearing a pair of Nikes with oversized swooshes - maybe even made them in his kitchen! He was a master of logistics and detail. When he received the team racing singlets before the Munich Games in 1972, he disliked the weight and feel of the fabric. During the training camp in Maine, he went to a local fabric store in Brunswick and bought some lightweight nylon fabric and had friends and family sew new tops and stitch on lettering. Also shown in the photo are Jeff Bannister (Munich decathlon) over hurdles, Prefontaine and Lee Evans (gold in 400 m at Mexico City).



              • #8
                Thank you for your postings. I very much enjoy seeing the images from the training camp.