track and field historians


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

Postby gh » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:31 pm

Parienté's book is easily the best history of the sport I have ever read. And that's saying something, since my knowledge of French is somewhere south of fluent.
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Postby bambam » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:15 pm

gh wrote:Parienté's book is easily the best history of the sport I have ever read. And that's saying something, since my knowledge of French is somewhere south of fluent.


Pariente's book is great, and he himself was a top-notch historian of the sport. He was also very kind and helpful to this track & field fan when in Paris. Like Garry, my French is passable, but not fluent, but he never cared. He also wrote a very nice history of the Olympic Games.
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Postby bambam » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:18 pm

gh wrote:Sorry Kuha, but what a load of crap. You've been brainwashed by the Lausanne elitists into actually believing there's such a thing as "Olympism." Sport = business = politics and vice vice versa.

I'm not an uncultured man, but to believe the "social and cultural ideas" have anything to do with modern sport just doesn't fly for me.

So I'll stand by my contention that Guttmann isn't a sports historian in the vaguest sense of the word as practiced by the vast majority, and that as I suspected, he's revered by those with a lot of letters after their name, but that's pretty much the dividing line.

Excuse me while I go crack another beer.


Despite my affinity for the Olympic Games and the "Olympic Movement" I must admit I share E. Garry's feelings about Olympism. I was interviewed yesterday for a Canadian newspaper about "The Olympic Truce" and what good it has done since the UN has passed a biennial Truce policy since 1993. I said its symbolic, its the IOC trying to act like they are more than they really are, which is a sports organization, and it hasn't done squadoosh.
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Postby kuha » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:34 pm

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:Sorry Kuha, but what a load of crap. You've been brainwashed by the Lausanne elitists into actually believing there's such a thing as "Olympism." Sport = business = politics and vice vice versa.

I'm not an uncultured man, but to believe the "social and cultural ideas" have anything to do with modern sport just doesn't fly for me.

So I'll stand by my contention that Guttmann isn't a sports historian in the vaguest sense of the word as practiced by the vast majority, and that as I suspected, he's revered by those with a lot of letters after their name, but that's pretty much the dividing line.

Excuse me while I go crack another beer.



Despite my affinity for the Olympic Games and the "Olympic Movement" I must admit I share E. Garry's feelings about Olympism. I was interviewed yesterday for a Canadian newspaper about "The Olympic Truce" and what good it has done since the UN has passed a biennial Truce policy since 1993. I said its symbolic, its the IOC trying to act like they are more than they really are, which is a sports organization, and it hasn't done squadoosh.


For what it's worth, I found E Garry's post to me utterly baffling and entirely beside the point. His ranting that social history has nothing to do with sport history is, to me, as wrongheaded as it gets. So wrongheaded, in fact, there's hardly any meaningful response I could make.

As for "Olympism"--since when am I a defender of anything like this? I have NO interest in any Lausanne "elites" and any search through my past posts on the Olympics will reveal pretty starkly that I am NOT a believer in their social/political ideology/rhetoric. And, further, the kind of history that Guttmann represents also has nothing to do with that either. GH's entire take on my post was so wide of the mark that it bordered on parody.

GH's heated comments make it all the more clear that the two "sport histories" in question--one, an academic, socially oriented history; the other, a fan-based and statistically based history--have extremely little overlap. I was simply pointing out that fact, certainly NOT advocating the first over the second. In truth, I have much more personal interest in the second. However, I also recognize the value of some of the academic work in question--and am baffled by any baby-with-bathwater rejection of that model.

But, perhaps all the above was just about brandishing blue-collar bona-fides. If so, jolly good.
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Re: track and field historians

Postby tandfman » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:03 am

BisonHurdler wrote:
bambam wrote:Probably is in the top echelon of academic sports historians in the US. John Lucas would merit mention with him, but John is older and no longer producing much original work. There are several others, also tend to be older now.

I had the privilege of taking History of the Modern Olympics while I was at Penn State, taught by John Lucas. He had already retired "officially", but still came back to teach that class.

Great stories (obviously), and it was a class I skated through (I guess being a track/Olympics nerd pays off sometimes).

During our discussion of the '88 games, he nearly broke out in tears (this was tempered by visible anger, however) when explaining the whole Ben Johnson thing. His description of "the yellow-eyed monster!" was not to be missed.

I just saw the sad news that John Lucas has Alzheimer's.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stori ... ic-legend/
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Re:

Postby noone » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:22 pm

gh wrote:As an analogy think of the world's great Scrabble players. The ones who know all X 2-letter words that are acceptable, and all Y 3-letters (there are such lists; I've seen them).

Does that make them linguists?


As a tournament Scrabble player with a rating of ca 1600, I want to tell you that your analogy is very flawed. Not only the experts know all the 2's and 3's, every tournament player except for the very lowest-ranked know them

It is as if you said "there are actually some track and field geniuses who know who holds all the world records, all the way up to 10,000 metres -- there are actually lists, I have seen them with my own eyes!"

Having said that it is true that Scrabble players do not generally study the meanings of the words they memorize, but only the "hooks".. for example XU takes no hooks but KAY takes an O front hook as well as an O back hook! Don't ask me what XU means..

By the way Nigel Richards, a New Zealander who now represents Malaysia has just won the North American Championshop for the 3rd time!
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Re:

Postby catson52 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:08 am

bambam wrote:
gh wrote:Parienté's book is easily the best history of the sport I have ever read. And that's saying something, since my knowledge of French is somewhere south of fluent.


Pariente's book is great, and he himself was a top-notch historian of the sport. He was also very kind and helpful to this track & field fan when in Paris. Like Garry, my French is passable, but not fluent, but he never cared. He also wrote a very nice history of the Olympic Games.


Pariente's two books are treasures. When they were up for sale at a TFN site back in the late 70s, I acquired both with some difficulty - as I was then living in "a third world country". The capsule biographies of famous athletes, cartoons, and photos, add to the books values to a student of history in its widest sense.
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Re: Re:

Postby dj » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:14 am

noone wrote:By the way Nigel Richards, a New Zealander who now represents Malaysia has just won the North American Championshop for the 3rd time!


You give great comfort to the typo-afflicted. If a scrabble master can typo, that takes the rest of us off the hook! :)
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Re: track and field historians

Postby Powell » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:40 am

That's coz you don't use a keyboard while playing Scrabble
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Re: track and field historians

Postby wamego relays champ » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:03 am

tandfman wrote:
BisonHurdler wrote:
bambam wrote:Probably is in the top echelon of academic sports historians in the US. John Lucas would merit mention with him, but John is older and no longer producing much original work. There are several others, also tend to be older now.

I had the privilege of taking History of the Modern Olympics while I was at Penn State, taught by John Lucas. He had already retired "officially", but still came back to teach that class.

Great stories (obviously), and it was a class I skated through (I guess being a track/Olympics nerd pays off sometimes).

During our discussion of the '88 games, he nearly broke out in tears (this was tempered by visible anger, however) when explaining the whole Ben Johnson thing. His description of "the yellow-eyed monster!" was not to be missed.

I just saw the sad news that John Lucas has Alzheimer's.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stori ... ic-legend/


And according to a release from Penn State linked a the home page, John Lucas passed away on Friday November 09.
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Re: track and field historians

Postby bambam » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:58 pm

John was my roommate at 3 Olympics - 1996, 2000, and 2004. I have known him since 1980. Until he developed dementia he sent me a letter (real-live old-fashioned letter) almost every week after his wife died. He went downhill very fast after his wife's death in 2010. He was a kind, kind man. He was a good runner as a young man, ran several Boston Marathons, and competed in the Olympic Trials in the 10K in 1952. He coached track & XC at Penn State for about 10 years from about 1958-67 before turning exclusively to sports history. One thing he was very proud of was that he ran a 10K on every Olympic track from 1960-2004 the day before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, always getting permission from the Organizing Committee and/or the IOC. We were able to get Jayne Pearce (LOCOG 2012 Media Director, formerly with the IAAF and Atlanta 1996) to send him some London 2012 memorabilia this summer. I hope he was able to know what they meant and that they brought him some solace in his final days. I'll miss him and miss those weekly letters.
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