Walt Murphy is one of the finest track statisticians 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.

This Day in Track & Field–May 21

(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.


1954—This might have been the only time a field event World Record was set in the 7th round! Using NCAA rules in effect at the time, which allowed for four preliminary throws and three more in the final, USC’s Parry O’Brien threw 60-5 ¾ (18.43m) on his last effort in the Shot Pit at the Coliseum Relays in L.A. to break his own two-week-old Record (60-5 ¼ [18.42]).

A Fordham foursome of Terrence Foley (1:54.7), Frank Tarsney (1:53.3), Bill Persichetty (1:51.1), and Tom Courtney (1:48.2) won the 2-Mile Relay in 7:27.3, breaking the metric (7:28.0) and imperial (7:29.2) World Records. Cal (7:28.5), anchored by Lon Spurrier (1:49.5), and Occidental (7:28.9) were also under the imperial mark.

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


1955—Future Hall of Famer Bud Held threw the javelin 266-8  ½ (81.29), then 268-2 7/8 (81.76), at the California Relays in Modesto to break his own official World Record of 263-10 (80.41), and Bill Miller’s unofficial mark of 266-8 (81.29).  Miller finished 3rd here (240-7 [73.34]) behind 1952 Olympic champion Cy Young (246-4 [75.08]}.

   Reportedly, a potential winner, one of Young’s longer throws, was carried by a strong crosswind into the stands, just missing his wife!  (From the World Athletics Progression of World Records):

A University of Texas lineup of Dean Smith, Alvin Frieden, Jerry Prewitt, and Bobby Whilden won the 440y-relay in 40.2 to break its own year-old World Record of 40.5. The first 3 runners also ran on the 1954 team.

Hall of Fame Bio (1987)https://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/franklin-bud-held

WR Progression(JT)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_javelin_world_record_progression

1955–Harold Connolly threw 195-10  ½ (59.70) in New York to set the first of his 12 American Records in the Hammer Throw. Connolly was a 9-time U.S. champion and won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics.

1960—Boston University sophomore John Thomas cleared 7-1  ¾ (2.18) in the High Jump at the New England Collegiate Championships at M.I.T. to break his 3-month-old World Record of 7-1 ½ ( 2.17). The mark was originally ratified metrically by the IAAF as 2.18 but later adjusted to 2.17.

WR Progression: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_high_jump_world_record_progression


Natalia Mărășescu, photo by Natalia Andrei

1977—Romania’s Natalia Mărășescu ran the Mile in 4:23.8 in Bucharest, taking almost six seconds off the previous World Record of 4:29.5, set by Italy’s Paola Cacchi in 1973.