Runners who left before their time


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

Runners who left before their time

Postby Guest » Mon May 05, 2003 1:59 pm

With Kimani passing at such an early age it is hard not to think of other runners who died young. Pre, the McChesneys and Eric Hulst come to mind. Many of us wonder what Pre might have become if he hadn't gotten into the car that fateful night.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby Guest » Mon May 05, 2003 3:05 pm

I'm not sure Pre could have won an Olympic medal. He lacked the temperament, and maybe the foot speed, to excel at big-time tactical races. He might have, like Ron Clarke, set some WRs. He certainly would've have become rich from his association with Nike.

van Damme died in a car accident not long after his 1,500 silver in Montreal. He was in his early 20s.

As mentioned on other threads, Rudy Harbig's brilliant career was halted by WWII.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby gh » Mon May 05, 2003 5:33 pm

Over the years on the Darkwing list there have been multiple discussion on "what would Pre have done?" While I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, or let my own bias unduly influence my memory, my thinking is that most people figured he never would have medalled.

Or, if he did, it might have been in the 10K by 1980.

If you want to search the Darkwing archives for this (or anything), you can search away at

http://www.mail-archive.com/t-and-f@lists.uoregon.edu/
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby jsquire » Wed May 07, 2003 5:32 am

If you want to go to field events, include Al Blozis. His track career was over when he joined the NFL, but he was killed in WWII after only a few seasons. (He went out into a blizzard after some soldiers who didn't return, and his body was never found.)

If you never heard of him, he was undefeated in the shot from 1940 to 1942. While he never set a WR, he came close numerous times (and actually beat it while doing an indoor exhibition for photographers).

He didn't play long enough to be in the NFL Hall of Fame, but was named of the NFL's 300 greatest players. He's not in the USATF Hall, either, which needs to be fixed. He's possibly the best athlete in either sport who's not in their respective HOF.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby dj » Wed May 07, 2003 6:48 am

>If you want to go to field events, include Al
>Blozis. His track career was over when he joined
>the NFL, but he was killed in WWII after only a
>few seasons. (He went out into a blizzard after
>some soldiers who didn't return, and his body was
>never found.)

If you never heard of him, he
>was undefeated in the shot from 1940 to 1942.
>While he never set a WR, he came close numerous
>times (and actually beat it while doing an
>indoor exhibition for photographers).

He
>didn't play long enough to be in the NFL Hall of
>Fame, but was named of the NFL's 300 greatest
>players. He's not in the USATF Hall, either,
>which needs to be fixed. He's possibly the best
>athlete in either sport who's not in their
>respective HOF.

Clearly he belongs in the USATF Hall of Fame, but there are several other athletes who aren't in and belong ahead of Blozis, among them Bill Carr and Fred Wolcott. But that's picking nits. They all belong, and should have been in for a long time.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby gh » Wed May 07, 2003 8:52 am

Actually, Blozis set four indoor WRs.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby jsquire » Wed May 07, 2003 9:18 am

>Actually, Blozis set four indoor WRs.

Yeah, you're right. None of them were official, since the IAAF didn't deal with indoor records until the 80s. None of them were better than the outdoor WR at the time, either.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby Guest » Wed May 07, 2003 4:47 pm

Eric Krenz, world record of 163-8 3/4 in 1929, then 167-5 3/8 in 1930. Told Dink Templeton he'd throw over 185 fett in 1931, died trying to save a drowning child in Lake Tahoe later in 1931.
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Re: Runners who left before their time

Postby jsquire » Thu May 08, 2003 5:10 am

Thanks! I never knew what happened to him -- he just kind of disappeared from the World Lists. Now I know why.
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