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.

(c)Copyright 2024-all rights reserved. It may not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.

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


This Day in Track & Field–April 4

1959—Kansas Junior Bill Alley set an American Record in the Javelin, winning 270-1 ½ (82.33m) at the Texas Relays. His June NCAA Championships win helped propel the Jayhawks to the team title. He would win a 2nd NCAA title in 1960 and made the U.S. Olympic team that competed in Rome (didn’t make the final).

            Alley threw 283-8 (86.46) in 1960, bettering Al Cantello’s World Record of 282-3 (86.04). However, the mark was never ratified because it was determined to be made on “sloping ground.”

            Before transferring to Kansas, Alley won the 1956 IC4A title while competing for Syracuse.

            A native of New Jersey, Alley, a prolific inventor, moved to Vermont in 1969 to open a Research Engineering Corporation. This company manufactures everything from T&F equipment to fishing poles to medical devices. Check the links below for much more on Alley’s accomplishments.



Bill Alley, photo by the University of Kansas

1964—Dallas Long set his fifth official Shot Put World Record with a toss of 65-11  ½ (20.10m) in Los Angeles.

WR Progressionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_shot_put_world_record_progression

Dallas Long, shot putter, photo by the University of Southern California.

1964—Arizona State’s Henry Carr ran 20.2 on his home track in Tempe to equal his own-year-old World Record for 220 yards. Later in the year, he would win Olympic gold in the 200 and the 4×400 Relay in Tokyo.

1975–Competing in an ITA Professional indoor meet in Daly City, California, colorful Brian Oldfield, using the still-new spin technique (The “Oldfield Slingshot”), won the shot put with the longest throw in history, 72-6 1/2 (22.11), which was better than George Woods’ “Amateur” World Record of 72-2  ¾ (22.02m).

Brian Oldfield, Sports Illustrated Cover, one of the true sport icons of the 1970s.

            Raven Saunders, the 4-time NCAA Champion from Southern Illinois and Ole Miss (and the 2021 Olympic silver medalist), learned the spin technique by watching videos of Oldfield in action.

Tribute Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HVjS6kdPjg


T&F News Interviews

(1973): https://trackandfieldnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/OldfieldIV.pdf

(1976): https://trackandfieldnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/brian-oldfield2.pdf


1987–Recruited as a relay runner by Baylor coach Clyde Hart, a young freshman named Michael Johnson contributed a 45.5 3rd leg as the Bears won the 4×400 at the Texas Relays.

Clyde Hart, photo by World Athletics

Dag Wennlund, a Texas senior from Sweden, set a Collegiate Record of 271-1 (82.62) in the Javelin (still #10 All-Time Div.I College).  He set the previous Record of 268-7 (81.86) in 1986. Wennlund went on to win the NCAA title in June and competed in 3 Olympics (1988-1992-1996).


1991–Just looking to get a good 10k race in before running in the London Marathon 2 weeks later (she would finish 2nd in 2:27:35), 38-year-old Francie Larrieu-Smith surprised herself by running a solo 31:28.92 at the Texas Relays to break her own American Record of 31:35.52.  “I did not realize I was on record pace until the PA announcer called the four-mile split and mentioned I was on record pace. In fact, for me, just the final two miles of the race was an attempt on the record, not the first four.”  It would be the last of the many American Records set by the 5-time Olympian and Hall-of-Famer,  who retired after the 2018 season after coaching for 20 years at Southwestern  University in Georgetown, Texas.

A Look Backhttps://texassports.com/news/2007/3/1/030107aaa_575.aspx


HOF Biohttps://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/francine-larrieu-smith