White Sprinters by R. McGrath

Discussion in 'Track & Field' started by sport historian, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    The August issue of Chronicles has an excellent piece by Roger McGrath titled "White Sprinters." McGrath tells of sprinters of the past-Charley Paddock, Mel Patton, Bobby Morrow, Dave Sime, and others. He mentions Jeremy Wariner as well.

    McGrath describes how professional baseball is spending millions to develop black players. Nascar is also funding programs for black drivers.

    McGrath writes of how the top three 100 meter sprinters at the 1960 Rome Olympics were white (Hary, Sime, Radford) and says: "World Records. Olympic Sweeps. The World's Fastest Human. Where is the white sprinter project?"
     
  2. white lightning

    white lightning Hall of Famer Staff Member

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    It sounds like a great read.Is there anyway that you can post the article or a link to it?Thanks in advance.
     
  3. albinosprint

    albinosprint Mentor

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    I'D LOVE TO READ THAT!
     
  4. Jimmy Chitwood

    Jimmy Chitwood Hall of Famer

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    me, too.
     
  5. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    Here is Dr. Roger D. McGrath's piece in the August 2007 Chronicles Magazine:

    WHITE SPRINTERS



    For several years now, professional baseball has been pouring millions of dollars into developing black players. Evidently, the number of black players, at least American blacks, has been in decline. NASCAR is funding programs to develop black drivers after fielding complaints that the sport is too white. Similarly, the NHL now has a "Diversity Program" designed to put more blacks on the ice. I can only imagine the outcry if the 75-percent-black NBA funded development programs for white players. Since I ran the 100 and 220, though, I'm rooting for the "White Sprinter Project."

    Unknown to many today, whites dominated the sprints and accounted for nearly all of the world records until the 1960's. During all of those years of white-sprinting prowess, blacks were competing also, even winning American championships and gold medals in the Olympics. It was not as if blacks were prohibited from competing. Nearly everyone knows that Jesse Owens captured the 100 and 200 at Berlin in 1936, and Owens was only one of many black aprinters America produced. But America also produced white sprinters. So too, did the nations of Europe. Whites scorched the tracks of both hemispheres. There was even an Australian, Hec Hogan, who tied the world record for the 100-yard dash in 1954 and put the Southern Hemisphere on the sprinting map. If blacks had once dominated a sport and had nearly disappeared, every black child in America would be made aware of that fact in school, and there would be a heavily funded national effort to bring blacks back to prominence.

    Jeremy Wariner stands out today, not only because he won the 400 meters at the tender age of 19 in the 2004 Olympics, but because he is white. Since then, he has been unbeatable in the 400 and is poised to break the world record. After Wariner destroyed a stellar field in the 400 at a meet in Southern California, a black coach said that the sport needed more like him. When questioned further, the coach said, "More white sprinters would really help track."

    When I was growing up, I never saw a track meet without fast white sprinters-and California had the finest track meets in the world. The Coliseum Relays, the Modesto Relays, the Compton Relays, and the West Coast relays were legendary. For nearly a half-century, the world record in the 100-yard dash was owned by Southern Californians: Charley paddock, Frank Wykoff, and Mel Patton. Paddock ran a 9.5 (seconds) in the early 1920's; Wykoff, a 9.4 in 1930; and Patton a 9.3 in 1948. Patton's record stood until 1962. Patton and the others ran on dirt tracks and without the aid of anabolic steriods and human growth hormone. I suspect they would have run at least two-tenths faster on the springy, rubberized asphalt tracks of today.

    "Pell-Mel" Patton led the University High Warriors to the Los Angeles city prep-track championships in 1943. After World War II, he attended Southern Cal (or simply SC-nobody called it USC in those days). As a Trojan, the splendid sprinter-six-feet tall and 150 pounds-was smoking tarcks and opponents in dash after dash. He tird Frank Wykoff's record of 9.4 twice in 1947 and won the NCAA championship, then broke the 100 record with a 9.3 in 1948 and won both sprints in the NCAA championship.

    In 1948, he was the favorite for the Olympic dashes in London, but on a cold, blustery, wet day, the half-frozen Patton, who appeared to have minus body fat, tied up badly in the 100. The World's Fastest Human finished a shocking fifth. Devastated, he stood in front of his blocks for the 200 final two days later thinking that he would be lucky to place. More than 100,000 Wembley Stadium spectators were silent as the runners took their marks. Suddenly, someone in the crowd yelled, "Go Uni! Uni High Warriors!" Patton felt a rush of adrenaline course through his body like never before. At the report of the starter's pistol, he exploded from the blocks and led from start to finish. He later anchored the U.S. 4 x 100 relay team to victory.

    As a senior at USC in 1949, Patton ran a mind-boggling 9.0-some watches read 8.9-but a tailwind was fractionally above the limit. Most observers, including my older brother, who was then running the sprints as a sophomore at Uni, thought the wind was of only small advantage. Patton later broke the world record in the 220 with a blazing 20.2. He finished his college career by winning both dashes at the NCAA championship and anchoring the SC 4 x 220 relay team to a world record.

    White-sprinting dominance continued throughout the 1950's. Larry Remigino won the 100 in the 1952 Olympics, and Dave sime and Bobby Morrow ruled the rest of the decade. After breaking Patton's record in the 220 with a 20.0 and twice tying Patton's 9.3 in the 100, Sime, a Duke sophomore, was expected to star in the 1956 Olympics. An injury put him on the sideline, though, and at Melbourne, Abilene Christian sophomore Bobby Morrow won both dashes and anchored the U.S. 4 x 100 relay taem to victory and a world record. By the time Morrow finished running, he had won 80 of 88 races, tied world records in both sprints, and anchored two world-record relays.

    Recovered from injury, Dave Sime ran a 9.3 again in 1957. He graduated from Duke a year later. leaving behind nine school records-two still stand-and entered medical school. Despite little time for training, he made the Olympic team in 1960 in the 100. At Rome, a terrible start left him dead last, but he closed the gap dramatically and hit the tape in a photo finish with Armin Hary of Germany. Hary got the nod, but both runners broke the Olympic record. With Peter Radford of Britain finishing third, white sprinters had swept the 100 again as they had at Melbourne when American Thane Baker and Aussie Hec Hogan followed Bobby Morrow to the finish line.

    World Records. Olympic sweeps. The World's Fastest Human. Where is the White Sprinter Project?
     
  6. white lightning

    white lightning Hall of Famer Staff Member

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    That article is a joy to read. How can we get it published in a p.c. magazine like Sports Illustrated?
    I'm so sick and tired of how whites are the only ones to be made fun of and put down. Even when the hispanics become the majority & whites are the minority,it will never change. White people need to wake up.Sports is a reflection of life. We need white sports stars to look up to and especially in the Olympics.Thanks for the great read.
     
  7. mastermulti

    mastermulti Mentor

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    A little aside re; Hec Hogan finished 3rd just behind Morrow and Baker in
    1956 OGs.

    He was unable to regain his best form even though he had a few good
    races after that. It was found that he had leukaemia , dying the day before
    the Rome 100 final 4 years later.

    He was 27 and some would think that the perfect age to go a little better
    than 3rd in 1960. Alas, none of us know what tomorrow holds.
     
  8. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    About 25 years ago, during one of the periodic statements in the sports media that blacks are always faster and athletically superior to whites, there was a contrary opinion from a surprising source. I saw Harry Edwards quoted that there were several world-class white European sprinters. Edwards also said something like, "We used to have them to, Bobby Morrow and Dave Sime."

    Edwards was a professor at San Jose in the laste 60's. He instigated the semi-boycott and protests by blacks of the 1968 Olympics.
     
  9. albinosprint

    albinosprint Mentor

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    great article! white kids need to read this.
     
  10. Liverlips

    Liverlips Hall of Famer

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    Great piece. I met McGrath at an AR conference a few years ago and found out that he was a sprinter in high school. I wonder if he reads CF?

    Sam Francis told me McGrath was also friends with lots of actors including Steve McQueen. As I recall, McGrath was a former model and/or actor himself.

    We need more like him.
     
  11. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    This piece is now at the Chronicles site with some comments.
     
  12. trevo81

    trevo81 Newbie

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    I was just wondering about the article above. I'm thrilled to see those facts and if they are true, then why does everyonesay whites have never broke the sub 10? It doesn't make sense to me. Someone please clear that up for me because I'm not very educated on track history.
     
  13. albinosprint

    albinosprint Mentor

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    back then they were running the 100 yards dash, now its the 100 meters. hope that helps.
     
  14. white lightning

    white lightning Hall of Famer Staff Member

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    I just want to bump this thread before the start of the olympics. To think that just back in 1960, whites swept the 100 meters. That is when there was an even playing field. After the civil rights movement, whites dissapeared in great numbers in track, football, baseball, and basketball. It's like they forgot how to compete. We know the truth. Whites like blacks are amazing athletes. It's too bad that the media, coaches and fans don't realize that. Cheers to the Wariners of the world who are helping to change a few skeptics.
     
  15. speedster

    speedster Mentor

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    Yup,the white guys finished one,two,three and the blacks finished four,five,six that being Norton,Budd and Figuerola.Think about that.Also love the "Go Uni,Uni High Warriors."It gives me chills.
     
  16. Bronk

    Bronk Mentor

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    Guys, Chronicles is a great magazine and McGrath is a terrific historian who has written several articles about white athletes.

    Subscribe and support it!
     

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