This Day in Track & Field–June 22   

1921—Paavo Nurmi, the “Flying Finn,” set the first World Record of his storied career, running 30:40.2 for 10,000 meters in Stockholm.

WR Progression’s_10,000_metres_world_record_progression

Wiki Bio::

Paavo Nurmi, photo from Wikipedia

1935—USC won the 1st of its 9 consecutive team titles at the NCAA Championships in Berkeley,CA.

Ohio State sophomore Jesse Owens, who had set 6 World Records at the previous month’s Big-Ten Championships, was a 4-time champion, winning the 100y over Temple sophomore Eulace Peacock (9.8 into a headwind), 220y (21.5/straight), 220y-hurdles (23.4/straight) over defending champion Billy Hardin of LSU, and Long Jump (26-1  ¼ [7.955]). The crowd of 18,000 gave Owens a well-deserved ovation after he took his final leap in the LJ.

USC’s “Heavenly Twins”, Earle Meadows and Bill Stefton tied for 1st in the Pole Vault (14-11 [4.55]/Meet Record), just as they would do the  following year. Sefton would win a 3rd title (by himself) in 1937.

Emporia State junior Archie San Romani, Sr, won the Mile in 4:19.1. His son (of the same name) was 2nd in the 1500-Meters at the 1964 NCAA Championships while competing for Oregon (5th in the Mile in 1963.

NY Times(For Subscribers





1940—Penn State’s Barney Ewell was a double winner at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, finishing first in the 100y (9.6) and 220y (21.1). His 220y time set a pre-IAAF World Record, but was intrinsically inferior to Jesse Owens’ mark of 20.7 for 200-meters.

            Future Hall-of-Famer Fred Wolcott won the 220y-hurdles (23.0) and was 2nd in the 120y-hurdles (he was the 2-time defending champion in the shorter event),

            3rd in the mile was USC’s Lou Zamperini, whose incredible life story was told in the best-selling book “Unbroken”. The movie of the same name, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, was released in 2014

Winner of the Long Jump was UCLA’s Jackie Robinson (24-10  ¼ [7.575?]), who went on to have a fair amount of success in another sport—baseball!

UCLA beat Stanford to win the team title (44-28  2/3).

Torrential rain both days forced the field events indoors.


Hall of Fame Bios






NY Times Review

1946—Illinois won the team title over USC, 78 to 42-17/20, at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis,MN (June 21,22). The Illini got a double win from junior Herb McKenley in the 220y (21.3)  and 440y (47.6).

Baldwin Wallace sophomore Harrison Dillard was also a double winner, finishing 1st in the 120y (14.1) and 220y (23.0) hurdles. He would win both events again in 1947, and would go on to win Olympic gold in the 100-meters (the “wrong” event) in 1948 and the 110-Meter Hurdles in 1952.

Virginia Union’s Lewis Smith (1:52.6) won the 880y over Ohio State freshman Mal Whitfield (who would the event in 1948[m] and 1949) and Lincoln University(PA) senior Roscoe Lee Browne, who later gained fame as an actor.

NY Times(for subscribers)






NCAA History

Past Champions(Through 2022)                                                      



T&F News


1956—World Records were set at the U.S. Championships in Bakersfield(CA) by Jack Davis in his heat of the 110-meter hurdles (13.4) and Bobby Morrow in the 100-meters. Morrow ran 10.2 to equal the record he already shared with 7 others, including Jesse Owens.

Davis finished 3rd in the final behind Lee Calhoun, who would win Olympic gold later in the year, and Joel Shankle. 2nd in the 100 was Lindy Remigino (10.4), the 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the 100 and 4×100 relay.

WR Progressions




1974—Rick Wohlhuter won the 800-meters at the U.S. Championships at UCLA, running 1:43.9 to break Dave Wottle’s    2-year old American Record of 1:44.3. Finishing 2nd was New Zealand’s John Walker (1:45.3).

            Steve Williams won the 100 (6-21) in 9.9 to equal the World Record and Jamaica’s Donald Quarrie, who was 2nd in the 100 (10.0), won the 200 in 20.5

            Other highlights:

            Dick Buerkle (13:33.4) beat Frank Shorter (13:34.6) in the 5000 (6-21), while the order was reversed in the next day’s 10,000, with Shorter (28:17.0) finishing ahead of Buerkle (28:25.0).

            Dwight Stones won his 2nd straight title in the High Jump (6-21) with a clearance of 7-3  ¼ (2.22).

            This was the first time in a non-Olympic year that events at the U.S. Championships were conducted at metric distances.

Results(for subscribers?)

(Top 3)

Off-The-Track: This would be the last meet on my 15-month track tour. I had driven to Pittsburgh for the IC4A Championships, then to Gainesville for the U.S. Juniors, continuing on to Austin for the NCAA meet. I had planned to drive to UCLA for the U.S. Championships, but the thought of another cross-country drive home was too much for the mind and body to accept. I drove back to Gainesville, left the car at the airport, flew to L.A., back to Gainesville, drove home. Worked at a temp job for a few months before starting a 2nd stint on Wall Street.


1974–Poland’s Irina Szewinska became the first woman to break 50-seconds for 400-meters, running a hand-timed 49.9 in Warsaw. 2-years later to the day(1976), she set an auto-timed World record of 49.75 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

WR Progression’s_400_metres_world_record_progression

1976–Dave Roberts was given three additional attempts at the World Record height After his pole broke on his first attempt at 18-8 ¼ (5.70) at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. After borrowing a pole from Earl Bell, who held the current World Record of 18-7 ¼ (5.67),  Roberts showed his appreciation by taking the record away from Bell with his final-jump clearance. He then missed three attempts at 19-1/4 (5.80). Bell and Terry Porter both cleared 18-1/2 (5.50) to fill out the U.S. team. Roberts would win Olympic bronze in Montreal.

            Madeline Manning, the 1968 gold medalist, qualified for her 3rd Olympic team in the 800-meters and set an American Record of 1:59.81. Finishing 2-3 were Cindy Poor (2:00.55) and Kim Weston (2:00.73/American Junior Record).

            There were some dramatic finishes in the final of the Men’s 10,000 (heats were run three days earlier), with Frank Shorter (27:55.45) sprinting away from Craig Virgin (27:59.43) on the final lap for the win, and Garry Bjorklund (28:03.74), who had lost a shoe 4-1/2 miles into the race, coming from 25 yards back to pass Bill Rodgers (28:04.42) for what appeared to be the 3rd spot on the time. But Shorter and Rodgers, who had earlier qualified for the U.S. team in the Marathon, decided to concentrate on the longer event at the Olympics, so 5th-placer Ed Mendoza (28:25.16) got to run the 10,000 in Montreal.


Hall of Fame Bio(Manning/1984)