Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Runninghorse » Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:28 pm

Carl Lewis, Houston McTear, Steve Riddick, Evelyn Ashford, Tim Montgomery, FloJo, Henry Carr, Bob Hayes, Larry Black, Reynaldo Nehemiah,
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby spinoza » Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:26 pm

>let's be serious here - tommie smith at full stride - case closed

In 1968 in Victoria B.C. Canada I saw Tommie Smith run anchor on a US B 4 X100 team against the US team that would go on to win at Mexico. The A team had a bad first exchange, and in the result Smith was within a couple of yards of Hines when he took the baton. He easily ran down Hines and beat him by a couple of yards. Smith, at full speed, was simply in a different league than Hines. I've seen lots of sprinters, but I've never seen anyone as fast as Smith that day.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby dj run » Sun Aug 29, 2004 5:00 pm

I had the priviledge of being a teammate of Obadele Thompson (Sydney Bronze medallist) at UTEP and got to see him run a super wind aided and altitude assisted 9.69 in El Paso in the late 90's.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Starwoman » Sun Aug 29, 2004 6:55 pm

Tommie Smith. It was at the 1966 "International Games" in Los Angeles -- you know, the meet they created on the fly when the Russians chickened-out of their scheduled dual meet with the US.

I was a twerp, but I audaciously counted myself among the cognoscenti who were anticipating the possibility of a world record in the 1600 meter relay, and I insinuated myself into the front row to watch. The team delivered, running 2:59.6. The first time under 3 minutes. Tommie Smith ran the third leg in 43.6 or 43.8, something like that, and was just flying down the backstretch. The Coliseum is a great venue for track, and for that meet and that race in particular the fans were wild - the whole scene was something of godlike magnificence (or at least I thought so then). I think it was probably the most exciting race I ever saw, even though it wasn't close: Australia, or somebody, took second in around 3:13.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Bob Duncan » Sun Aug 29, 2004 7:00 pm

>The fastest guy I ever saw was back in high school, a cat by the name of Leroy
>Russell. This dude was a bad ass pot smokin, bear drinkin bad boy who once
>challenged the school 100yards champ to a race for a dollar.
Sounds like John Carlos!
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Randy Treadway » Sun Aug 29, 2004 7:33 pm

I stood right behind Valeriy Borzov's starting blocks at an indoor meet in the mid-70's. I just walked right up there as they were called into the blocks and nobody told me to get lost. I was a college freshman and somewhat agaw at the reigning double Olympic champion.
I found out that he took off his sweats just like everybody else, and if I remember right he got beat in that race.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Decastar » Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:03 am

Josh Norman (6.63 - US #10 2004) and Leonard Myles-Mills (6.66)...unfortunately, I watched from a few meters back (and growing), as they made quick work of me!
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Arnie » Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:43 am

Over 60 yds, " Bullet" Ed Conwell.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby capconsys » Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:24 pm

Calvin Smith 1979 International Prep
Butch Wolfolk 1981 Big Ten Championship 200M finals (was in the race...kinda)
Calvin Smith 1981 Indiana Relays 60yd
Rodger Kingdom 1981 Illinois Relays 300m WR (I ran in that race...for a few seconds)
Mel Latteney 1981 Drake Relays 100m (I watched him hit gears that I did not know existed from the lane next to him)
Albert Robinson 1984 Indianapolis 200M 20.07 (I watched the race from lane 8! I ran a good turn but...)
Robert Hacket 1984 Wisconsin, unbeleivable sprint endurance
Last edited by capconsys on Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby track_tyme » Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:44 am

Carl Lewis - 4x200r Mt. SAC Relays

Marion Jones - her Junior & Senior HS years

Angela Williams - from age group track club to present!

Also have been in races with past California High School greats Bryan Howard, Marques Holiwell & Pat Johnson(who now plays pro football). Plus,a few other pro football players Chris McAlister,Darrell Rideaux,
Daylon McCutcheon & Lawrence Phillips.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby SouthsideStevie » Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:07 am

I saw Curtis Mills set a 440 yd. world record at Knoxville in 1969 at NCAA championships. Same meet had Richmond Flowers win high hurdles and Frank Shorter place 2nd in 3 mile after winning 6 mile (in his first ever race at the distance!).

Also saw indoor professional track meet in 70's with John Smith winning 400 and Ben Jipcho running and winning a distance race.

Smith was probably the fastest person I ever saw live, but the thrill of Mills WR run is one I still remember.

Also saw Harvey Glance at an indoor meet, as well as several Georgia High School sprinters who went on to fame later (Mel Lattany, Hershel Walker, Lorenzo Daniels, Roger Kingdom, Antonio Mckay, among others).

Fastest woman-saw Evelyn Ashford at an indoor meet. I think it was in San Diego at one of the meets where Eamon Coghlan set a WR in mile, but my memory fails to pull up the details for the moment.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby dj » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:46 am

1969 at NCAA
>championships. Same meet had Richmond Flowers win high hurdles and . . .

Your memory has slipped. Flowers never won an NCAA outdoor title. Erv Hall (Villanova) won the race you're thinking of. In fact, Flowers wasn't the first Vol in the race. Flowers was 3rd, with 2nd going to a Tennessee freshman. Name him.

Hall tied the WR of 13.2 for the 120y hurdles in the first heat--probably because the timers weren't ready. The auto time was 13.67!
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby SouthsideStevie » Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:41 am

Thanks DJ,
It was indeed Erv Hall. RF was in race, but didn't do well. He just stuck in my memory because all the surrounding fans were rooting for him and the other Vol runners that day.
Thanks for the memory jog/correction.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby SouthsideStevie » Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:54 am

>1969 at NCAA
>championships. Same meet had Richmond Flowers win high hurdles
>and . . .

Your memory has slipped. Flowers never won an NCAA outdoor title.
>Erv Hall (Villanova) won the race you're thinking of. In fact, Flowers wasn't
>the first Vol in the race. Flowers was 3rd, with 2nd going to a Tennessee
>freshman. Name him.

Just a complete guess, was it Bill High?
And looking back on the net, apparently John Carlos was in the meet. If so he definitely would be the fastest runner I ever saw, but darned if I remember him!! Curtis Mills is the one who sticks out in my mind.
Guess that's because I was a 440 man...
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby GotdaBends » Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:45 am

I saw John Carolos tie the WR in the 100 yards at the West Coast Relays. Time was 9.1 I think.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby dj » Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:16 pm

>>1969 at NCAA
>championships. Same meet had Richmond Flowers win high
>hurdles
>and . . .

Your memory has slipped. Flowers never won an NCAA
>outdoor title.
>Erv Hall (Villanova) won the race you're thinking of. In
>fact, Flowers wasn't
>the first Vol in the race. Flowers was 3rd, with 2nd
>going to a Tennessee
>freshman. Name him.

Just a complete guess, was it
>Bill High?

Bill High it was. He ran 13.5 that day. I thought he was going to be a killer, but he never scored again.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby MacG » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:45 pm

I noticed that Forrest Beaty's mind-boggling 20.2 220 at the CIF Southern Section Finals in 1961 was the subject of comment. I would like to add that when he ran the race he was a 16-year-old junior and was flirting with the world record. Know anybody doing that today? Beaty did not have a great start but was like a runaway locomotive from 50 yards on. Somebody might be able to come up with the time but he ran a 220 split in the 880 relay that was the fastest in the national--high school or college. He ran 9.5s in the 100 as a junior and then 9.4 as a senior. He was CIF 220 champ three years in a row and won the state 100 twice and the 220 once. He was on his way to running a world record 19.7 or 19.8 220 in the State Finals as a 17-year-old senior when his hamstring ripped. He was nearly ten yards ahead of Richard Stebbins of Fremont High (and later a star at Grambling)and pulling away (as he always did) when the hamstring went. He was never the same again. He went to UC Berkeley and moved up to the 440 because every time he tried to sprint his hamstring went. Nonetheless, he ran sub 46 quarters and was ranked fourth or fifth in the nation in the mid-60s. As Steve Caminiti (who tied the prep high hurdle record--13.7--and set the low hurdle record--18.1)said, "There was fast. There was f . . . ing fast. And there was Forest Beaty." In 1961 and 1962 there was no one who could beat him or even come close. He ruled high school tracks in California. He tied Jesse Owens 9.4 high school record (Owens was 19 when he set it) and he set the 220 record with his 20.2. I might add that Beaty, unlike these sprinters today (and probably for the last 30 years or more) did it without steroids or human growth hormone.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby paulthefan » Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:54 pm

gosh, if there are any photos or records of that performance from a 16year old Id like to see them.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby JZ » Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:15 am

Jesse Owens running an exhibition 100y in 1946, Harrison Dillard several times in 1948, although always in the 120y HH.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby hugh » Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:43 pm

In 1948 (or 1949?) I went to a dual track meet in Westwood between USC and UCLA and saw Mel Patton run 9.1 in the 100 yard dash, smashing the existing world record!! Immediately after the race, we knew something great had happened, because I vividly remember all the official timers running around and waving their arms and smiling, pointing at their stopwatches, before the official time was annnounced. Unfortunately, there was a slight following wind, so it could not be submitted as an official record, but it remains the most exciting moment I have ever experienced at a track meet
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby slowcoach » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:15 am

>Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades.

Huh, you guys have whole schools for single students!

The fastest guy I ever saw was a West Indian/Trinidadian guy from about 1970. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, so if anyone thinks they know who I'm talking about, I'd be obliged. (or even what I'm babbling about)
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby wineturtle » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:29 pm

GotdaBends wrote:I saw John Carolos tie the WR in the 100 yards at the West Coast Relays. Time was 9.1 I think.

GotdaBends did you write the script for this Tommie Smith interview?
http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Interv ... 63574.html
Last edited by wineturtle on Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Bruce Kritzler » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:09 pm

slowcoach wrote:>Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades.
The fastest guy I ever saw was a West Indian/Trinidadian guy from about 1970. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, so if anyone thinks they know who I'm talking about, I'd be obliged. (or even what I'm babbling about)


Think Larry Shipp went to St. Albans in Wash.DC, coached by Brooks Johnson.
Trinidad guy must be Hasely Crawford.
Fastest sprinter I ever saw was Herb Washington, over 50-60yds.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby SQUACKEE » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:10 am

GotdaBends wrote:I saw John Carolos tie the WR in the 100 yards at the West Coast Relays. Time was 9.1 I think.


If memory serves, i Saw John Carlos run a windy 9 flat at San Jose State, anyone remember?
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby robert5744 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:13 pm

While coaching at Hawthorne, Ca. HS 1982-1996 I was fortunate to see Henry Thomas 10.25,20.4, 45.09 (44.50 relay split) and future Olympian and Olympic Champion 1992- 200m runner Mike Marsh everyday 8-)
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby SQUACKEE » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:02 am

robert5744 wrote:While coaching at Hawthorne, Ca. HS 1982-1996 I was fortunate to see Henry Thomas 10.25,20.4, 45.09 (44.50 relay split) and future Olympian and Olympic Champion 1992- 200m runner Mike Marsh everyday 8-)


I was running around the reservior in central park, new york city, looked up and there was Mike Marsh! cool. Also ran behind Alberto Salazar at the lake, man does he have weird running form.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby nevetsllim » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:48 am

I've seen Usain Bolt in person about four times now (three times at CP and in Sheffield 07).
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Jon » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:03 am

9.58 / 19.19
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Hedgehog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:46 am

Standing trackside at ACU for a dual or practice meet or somesuch -- Darrell Green. Briefly had a class with Mark Witherspoon, but he just sorta sat there.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby MacArtParkSprinter » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:44 pm

I see that this post was started in 2003, so it is an HONOR to get to put in my two cents worth. I did go to the big indoor track meets at the Coliseum and the Forum in Los Angeles, and they had big crowds, in the early to mid 1970's and saw Jean Louis Ravelomanatsoa and Houston McTear run very fast. In June 1970, I drove from Los Angeles to Bakersfield to see the AAU Championships. I drove my friend Carmen's new Ford Maverick. The license plate was AUV842. It was 40 years ago. How is my memory holding up? I drove 100, and I ask you, please don't do that. On the way back, we stopped at Denny's midway to Los Angeles. At a table were Charlie Greene and John Carlos. I went over and met them and talked with them. Then Carmen was upset because she wanted to meet them too. There was practically no one but us in the restaurant. Now for what happened at the big meet. Frank Shorter and Jack Bachelor finished holding hands in the 6 mile in 27:24. But there was something very impressive in that race that has never been revealed before by any sports writer that I know of. It certainly left a big impression on me. There was a handicapped runner who was a hunchback, who was all legs, like longer than four feet, and was doubled over with very bad posture not conducive to running fast. But he finished the 6 miles in under 30 minutes, well back in the pack. There but for God's grace go I because my mother for the last ten years of her life was practically doubled over with scoliosis.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby MacArtParkSprinter » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:03 pm

Hugh: I know it is kind of late to be replying to your comment of Oct. 8, 2005, about the track meet at UCLA in which Mel Patton ran 9.1 for the 100 yards. In about 1975, I was a student at UCLA and ran in the intramural track meet. A history professor I knew, whose name I do not recall right now, told me about that outstanding run by Mel Patton. He said it was 1948. As I recall, he said the track was remeasured and found to be one inch short of the 100 yards and that was why the record was disallowed. In fact, though, a sprinter at the end of a 9.1 hundred yards is doing every inch of real estate in about .00214 seconds, so the odds are Mel Patton would have that day run 100 yards exactly in 9.1 as well.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Per Andersen » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:05 pm

No, Hugh was right and the history professor was wrong. It was '49 and the 9.1 was wind assisted.

"then they waited for the wind to die down and Patton ran a legal 20.2 220 beating Owens record.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby no one » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:42 am

"There was a handicapped runner who was a hunchback, who was all legs, like longer than four feet, and was doubled over with very bad posture not conducive to running fast."

MacArtParkSprinter ... do you recall the runner's name ... 30:00 in those days was not too bad.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Bruce Kritzler » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:21 pm

no one wrote:"There was a handicapped runner who was a hunchback, who was all legs, like longer than four feet, and was doubled over with very bad posture not conducive to running fast."
MacArtParkSprinter ... do you recall the runner's name ... 30:00 in those days was not too bad.


Suspect that was Tom Hoffman, Whitwoth State.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby GYM » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:42 am

This is an old thread that could use some new life. I saw Usain Bolt on the 4x100 anchor at the 2012 London Olympics. This means that I also saw Gatlin, Gay and Blake in the same event. I go a ways back, having also seen Tommie Smith and Charlie Greene in 1966.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby KDFINE » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:10 am

I saw Bob Hayes' 6.0 indoor WR at his Madison Square Garden debut in 1964. If I recall correctly it was also Charlie Greene's NYC debut. (Ron Clarke ran a 3M WR). At the other end I was at Icahn Stadium for Bolt's first WR. That's a pretty good spread of speed over time.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby runforlife » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:28 pm

Guest wrote:the '81 Drake Relays, , but in lane #1 was Herschal Walker. I couldn't imagine stepping in front of that freight train and squatting to try and tackle the guy.

Yes, I was there that day and yes he was a VERY impressive sight bowling down the track.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby batonless relay » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:52 am

Bolt fastest I've ever seen; Deloach fastest I've ever raced.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby huntinwr » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:14 pm

Mel wrote:I watched Donovan Bailey run 9.91 standing right beside lane 8 in 1995, with Bruny Surin chasing him in 9.97. Being at trackside makes it look faster than it ever does from the stands or on television. Track suffers because television cannot convey the true ability of these athletes. The closest they have come is with the little roll-along cameras beside the track.

Yeah, I like the sense of speed you get from those little trackside cameras. My first "major" meet in person was the 1971 AAU in Eugene. Dr. Delano Meriwether won in 9.0hw
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby James Fields » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:20 pm

batonless relay was terse:
Bolt fastest I've ever seen; Deloach fastest I've ever raced.

I will follow that example:
Bolt fastest I've ever seen; LaBeach fastest I've ever raced.
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