Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service that provides true geek stories about our sport. You can check out the service for FREE with a free one-month trial subscription! (email: WaltMurphy44@gmail.com ) for the entire daily service. We will post a few historic moments each day, beginning February 1, 2024.

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By Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission.


1896—A day after winning the Discus at the Athens Olympics, Bob Garrett added a 2nd gold in the Shot Put

(36-9  ½ [11.22]) and a silver in the long jump (19-8  ¼[6.00]). Garrett was part of a U.S. sweep in the Long Jump, with Ellery Clark (20-10 [6.35]) winning the gold and James Connolly (19-2 [5.84]) the bronze.  Clark, who would win the High Jump 3 days later, was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1991.

This photo from the 1896 Olympics was credited to the Greek City Times

Only two men showed up for the final of the 110-meter Hurdles, with American Thomas Curtis (17.6) edging Great Britain’s Grantley Goulding (17.7) to win the gold medal. Australia’s Edwin Flack won the 1500 meters in 4:33.2.

Runners had to negotiate tight turns on the unique 333-1/3m track.



1962–Oregon’s Dyrol Burleson, already the American Record holder in the Mile (3:57.6), ran  8:42.5 for 2-miles in Eugene to break the previous U.S. mark of 8:43.8, which was set by former Oregon Duck Blll Dellinger in 1960 (also in Eugene).

Dyrol Burleson runs 3:58.6 mile, 1960, copyright Eugene Register-Guard.

Burleson, inspired to become a runner in 1954 after seeing Roger Bannister’s picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated, set a U.S. High School Record of 4:13.2 in 1958 and was the first athlete to receive a track scholarship to the University of Oregon.

Gary Cohen Interview(2012)http://www.garycohenrunning.com/Interviews/Burleson.aspx

Burleson Looks Back at His H.S. Career (2008):http://bringbackthemile.com/news/detail/dyrol_burleson_1954_58_lions_world_class_track_legend

1965—Ted Nelson set a World Indoor Record of 1:47.4 for 800 meters on the 1st night of the USA-Germany dual-meet in Berlin.

In a battle of 1964 Olympic medalists, Germany’s Harold Norpoth, who won silver in the 5000-Meters in Tokyo, won the 3000-Meters over Billy Mills, the Tokyo gold medalist at 10,000-Meters (7:55.8-7:56.6).

The shoes of Olympic champion, Mike Larabee, photo courtesy of adidas

There was a great battle in the 400-Meters the following night (4-8), with Mike Larrabee edging fellow American Jack Yerman (46.8-46.9) as both bettered the previous indoor best of 47.2 that Dave Mills ran for 440 yards on a dirt track in 1961.  (From T&F News)

Before the meeting, Mills, his wife Patricia, and Nelson took a tour of Berlin that included a trip through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin.

In Billy’s Wordshttps://indianyouth.org/road-to-tokyo-a-trip-to-berlin-and-check-point-charlie/

1979–42-year-old Al Oerter, the 4-time Olympic gold medalist in the Discus, took advantage of a favorable wind in Mountainside, NJ, to throw a personal best of 219-10 (67.02?). Oerter would get the final PB of his career the following year with a throw of 227-11 (69.46) in Wichita, Kansas.

Al Oerter, photo by IOC

50th Anniversary of his first gold medal(2006):


1980–Sebastian Coe wins an 8k road race in Vigevano, Italy, and then announces he will run both the 800 and the 1500 at the Moscow Olympics later in the year (he would win gold (1500) and silver (800) in Moscow).


Seb Coe, a collage from Jeff Benjamin