Scholar - Athlete - Champion
This great athlete needs no introduction to track fans in Saskatoon-or throughout the world for that matter. But how many Saskatonians remember the Bill Crothers of the 1960 Olympic Games Trials held in Griffiths Stadium? Bill failed to qualify for the Rome bound team that year by 1/10 of a second in the 400 metres. But a switch to the half mile event and his world-famous career was launched.
In his second appearance in Saskatoon, the 1963 Canadian Championships, Bill won the 880 yards with ease. Only Saskatonian Ralph Morris pushed him to the finish line in that race. He won race after race both indoors and outdoors. Incidentally no American track scholarships could lure Bill or his teammate Bruce Kidd away from the University of Toronto and their dedicated coach, Fred Foote. He ran tirelessly winter and summer week-in and week-out. His 880 yds. victory (1:46.8) in the American National A.A.U. Championships in St. Louis in June of 1963 placed him second only to Peter Snell world record holder, in the world ratings that year.
Then came the Olympic Games in Tokyo in October 1964. It was there that Bill’s old nemesis, Snell, beat him again. Bill had to settle for a second-place silver medal. He must have enjoyed some satisfaction knowing that he was the second fastest 800 metre runner in the history of track, with a clocking of 1:45.6 sec. For this and other track accomplishments Bill was voted Canada’s outstanding athlete, amateur and professional, for the year 1964.
And now Snell is retired. But Bill Crothers continues to run, and in so doing leads the way in the revitalizing of track and field in Canada. Bill’s accomplishments both on indoor and outdoor tracks, in events ranging from 500 yds. to 1,000 yds., and even the mile (4:02.4) are too numerous to recount. He is respectfully known as “king of the boards” by his opponents on the indoor circuit.
World Record Setter...
One year ago, Bob Seagren came to Saskatoon, nursing a cold, wondering whether his fibre glass pole had arrived safely and in possession of the world indoor pole vault record at 17 feet, half an inch.
Forty-eight hours later, Seagren helped put Saskatoon on the world track and field map by raising the world indoor record to 17 feet, one inch.
But it was just the start of a banner year for the University of Southern California star. He reached 17 feet, two inches at Albuquerque and later 17 feet, three inches at Cleveland — and that’s where the indoor record presently stands.
Outdoors, he set a new record, too, but before the summer ended, the record went to his team-mate Paul Wilson at 17 feet, eight inches. Seagren’s best outdoors is 17 feet, seven inches — second best of all-time.
Seagren passed up a trip to South Africa to come to Saskatoon again – and that’s been the best news of the winter for Saskatonians.
Directors of the Knights of Columbus Jubilee Games accomplished some prize catches in assembling talent for the women’s invitational 600 yard and 300 metre races.
Slated to appear are:
Abby Hoffman, winner of the 880 at the British Empire Games, at Kingston, Jamaica;
Cecelia Carter, a Hamilton school teacher, who owns the world’s fastest time for the 600 yards, one minute, 23.6 seconds;
Madelaine Manning, a Cleveland native, who owns the world indoor half-mile record for women, two minutes, 10.2 seconds;
Una Morris, a former Olympic star and now in an American college, and holder of the women’s indoor 300 yard record in 35.9 seconds;
And Janet Maddin, brilliant University of Manitoba speedster, who may be favored in the 300 metre sprint.
Top Performers Galore...
Former world record holder at 7 feet 3 and 3/4 inches and co-holder of the Olympic record at 7 feet 1 and 3/4 inches. The only man to jump higher than John Thomas is the Russian Valery Brumel, present world record holder at 7 feet 5 and 5/8 inches. Thomas tied with Brumel in the Tokyo Olympics in the height cleared but had to accept a second – place medal because of more misses in the overall competition
The 24 year old Thomas stands approximately 6’5″ and is therefore capable of jumping nearly a foot over his own height, the mark of a truly geat jumper. If the Boston, Mass., University senior is pushed by the rest of the field we might see a new Canadian Open mark set in this event.
Olympic Champion Attends...
Gold Medalist DICK FOSBURY
No other athlete captured the imagination of the Olympic spectators like this great athlete, not only with his unique self-evolved backward-flop high-jumping style, but with his great competitive concentration and ability to come through under pressure.
Dick cleared 7 feet for the first time, less than a year ago. Since then he has cleared that mark in every pressure meet. He won both indoor and outdoor NCAA championships and improved to 7’3″ in the final Olympic Trials only to lose first place on a count back. This tremendous 7 foot 4 and one quarter inches Olympic triumph was witnessed by millions in the stadium and on television.
To quote Fosbury’s coach, Berney Wagner, “Dick has a tremendous dynamic competitive attitude. It’s one of those intangibles but he has that superb ability to come through when it counts most.”
World Record Holder...
TOM VON RUDEN 600 Metres and Relays, Pacific Club
Tom Von Ruden has been on world record-holding relay teams in the two mile and distance medley events, and for this reason, could be the spark in Pacific’s two strong contending relay teams.
He will also run the 600 metres.
His best times include 1:47.9 in the 880 and 3:56.9 in the one mile.
A five-time member of U. S. international teams, Von Ruden won a gold medal at the Pan-American Games at Winnipeg and was a finalist at the Olympics.
He is current world record holder in the indoor 1,000 yards at 2:06.8 and at one time, held the indoor 880 record at 1:49.