True or False: 440 yards


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True or False: 440 yards

Postby mrbowie » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:14 pm

U. S. C. quarter-miler Jim Lea, who flirted with the world record while an under classman, became so frustrated at not breaking the record, that he spontaneously took a trip to the mountains, where he didn't train for a few weeks.

When he cooled out and got the bug to run again, he showed up at a big West Coast relay meet, borrowed a pair of spikes and proceeded to run the fastest race of his career, although missing the world mark again.

True or false?
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby jhc68 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:50 pm

I'll say true just because of my own experiences trying to HJ 6'6"... I'd had lots of close jumps at it over a long period of time until one day I showed up at an all-comers at Santa Ana JC about half-drunk and feeling fat from drinking 3-4 beers in the previous hour.
Cleared 6'6" on my first attempt, easily. That height was never a problem again. I should have tried the same protocol at 6'10" the next year but the opportunity to drink and jump didn't present itself again!
I've since seen the same sort of thing with kids I coached. Not the part with the beers but the element of being away from training and competition for a while and returning relaxed with a big result.
How are you Mr. B? Are you at Santa Anita?
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Per Andersen » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:00 pm

But Jim Lea set a world best or WR in the 440 in 1956 with 45.8.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:08 pm

[quote="jhc68"]I'll say true just because of my own experiences trying to HJ 6'6"... I'd had lots of close jumps at it over a long period of time until one day I showed up at an all-comers at Santa Ana JC about half-drunk and feeling fat from drinking 3-4 beers in the previous hour.
Cleared 6'6" on my first attempt, easily. That height was never a problem again. I should have tried the same protocol at 6'10" the next year but the opportunity to drink and jump didn't present itself again!
I've since seen the same sort of thing with kids I coached. Not the part with the beers but the element of being away from training and competition for a while and returning relaxed with a big result.
quote]

Interesting HJ story above, and I have a similar one, albeit at a lower level.
In 1962 I was an immature 19 year old college frosh, that had finally struggled over 6'0" for the first time in late April. From May into July, I had not jumped even once or done anything at all. But in July, after working all day on my feet in a warehouse heaving cartons around, I went to an all-comers meet in NYC's Van Cortlandt Park, and proceeded to jump a 2" PR of 6'2" ? How ??? I'd don't know.....just loose as a goose.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby mrbowie » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:20 pm

Per, I couldn't remember if he broke the record or not. Was it at the West Coast Relays at Fresno?
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby mrbowie » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:22 pm

I once asked the cleverest racehorse veterinarian this question: If could give a horse any drug to make it run faster, what would you use?

This guy was the first vet to use Lasix, clenbuterol, maybe EPO too.

His choice: a tranquilizer! Just to take the edge off.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Per Andersen » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:39 pm

mrbowie wrote:Per, I couldn't remember if he broke the record or not. Was it at the West Coast Relays at Fresno?

Modesto Relays, May 26, 1956.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby gh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:03 pm

i do believe (in the interest of historical accuracy) that at that point it would have been called the California Relays
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Avante » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:24 pm

Jim Lea

1952 47.2 13 Berkeley May 17
1953 46.7 4 Compton Jun 5
1954 46.3 2 St.Louis Jun 19
1955 45.6 2 Mexico City Mar 18
1956 45.5 2 Modesto May 26

Lou Jones

1953 47.7 24 New York May 29
1954 46.4 3 St.Louis Jun 19
1955 45.4 1 Mexico City Mar 18
1956 45.2 1 Los Angeles Jun 30

Coast to coast, Lea at USC, Jones at Manhatten.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Vault-emort » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:57 am

So - what was Jim's 'excuse' in Melbourne 56?

Was he injured, upset, unacclimatised, whatever? Perhaps he should have given up training and headed to the Aussie Alps in 1956 before the Games?????

Slumping from WR-holder 45.6 to 48.3 virtual Olympic nobody in a few months is a HUGE drop, no matter what the era.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby lovetorun » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:29 am

Vault-emort wrote:So - what was Jim's 'excuse' in Melbourne 56?

Was he injured, upset, unacclimatised, whatever? Perhaps he should have given up training and headed to the Aussie Alps in 1956 before the Games?????

Slumping from WR-holder 45.6 to 48.3 virtual Olympic nobody in a few months is a HUGE drop, no matter what the era.


Yes...who would have thought mid way thru 1956 that Charlie Jenkins would win gold in Melbourne in 46.7?!
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Per Andersen » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:59 pm

Vault-emort wrote:So - what was Jim's 'excuse' in Melbourne 56?

Was he injured, upset, unacclimatised, whatever? Perhaps he should have given up training and headed to the Aussie Alps in 1956 before the Games?????

Slumping from WR-holder 45.6 to 48.3 virtual Olympic nobody in a few months is a HUGE drop, no matter what the era.

Jim Lea suffered various leg injuries during the fall of '56 and never regained his shape. By Melbourne he was short on conditioning.

Various athletes from the Northern hemisphere struggled to regain their top shape. Lou Jones for instance.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby DoubleRBar » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:47 pm

The times were fairly slow in the Melbourne Olympic 400 for more than one reason. Melbourne was the last Olympic Games where the final and the semi-finals were held on the same day.

The Melbourne 400 was run in very late November (almost December). That made it tough for many runners to peak at that time.

Also, the 400 was run in pretty windy conditions. Most runners don't like the wind. By the way, 47.0 was third place in 1956.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby oldvaulter » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:57 pm

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Last edited by oldvaulter on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby gh » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:40 am

oldvaulter wrote:..... When I first got into T&F in 1958, Lea's 45.8 was still the WR for 440y, though inherently inferior to Jones' 45.2 for 400m.....


Given that Jones's mark was made at Mexico City, I'd consider the Lea mark (far) superior.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby oldvaulter » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:09 am

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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:33 am

oldvaulter wrote:
gh wrote:
oldvaulter wrote:..... When I first got into T&F in 1958, Lea's 45.8 was still the WR for 440y, though inherently inferior to Jones' 45.2 for 400m.....


Given that Jones's mark was made at Mexico City, I'd consider the Lea mark (far) superior.


Avante's list indicates that Jones's mark of 45.2 was made in Los Angeles.


That's correct.. it was at the FOT in the Coliseum.

A minor aside... I heard this 3rd hand or more..... someone told someone I knew, then that person told me, that Jones finished the race one lane inside of the lane he started in, having presumably saved yardage by cutting inside, accidentally or otherwise, before the turn. Idle talk ? Probably. I have never seen it mentioned anywhere other than the one comment I heard as described above, which occured about 40 years ago.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Per Andersen » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:37 pm

I always liked the fact that both Lea and Jones ran faster in '56 than they did in Mexico city, at altitude, the previous year.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Daisy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:45 pm

mrbowie wrote:I once asked the cleverest racehorse veterinarian this question: If could give a horse any drug to make it run faster, what would you use?

This guy was the first vet to use Lasix, clenbuterol, maybe EPO too.

His choice: a tranquilizer! Just to take the edge off.

Could explain why so many fast times happen in the semi finals.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Jackaloupe » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:12 pm

Sorry I'm so late to this Thread, but I clearly recall T&FN reporting that Jim Lea had spend some time prior to the WR race "body surfing". As a NJ HS Hurdler/Decathlete, not knowing what this was, I headed for Long Branch to loll in the shore break zone "massaging" my legs. I did win the State Group I 100 yds. and 180 LH, but that was the prior year; I'd pulled a hamstring when I read this and thought my erroneous notion of Body Surfing might work. [We didn't have a Whirlpool, but I did have some Ultrasound.]

I actually lived in the same apartment building as, behind Leo's 32nd St. Market (still there), and ran across some of his random jottings.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby rhymans » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:33 am

Duke HJ Steve wrote -

A minor aside... I heard this 3rd hand or more..... someone told someone I knew, then that person told me, that Jones finished the race one lane inside of the lane he started in, having presumably saved yardage by cutting inside, accidentally or otherwise, before the turn. Idle talk ? Probably. I have never seen it mentioned anywhere other than the one comment I heard as described above, which occured about 40 years ago.

Having just watched the video again, I can assure him (and everyone) that Jones finishes in the outside lane (and was well in his own lane coming off the final curve). I think it was considered so fast at the time (equivalent to around 44.5-6 at Mexico City) that people were looking for some reason to disbelieve the 45.2. This was added to by the injury/health problems that both had later in the season.
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Re: True or False: 440 yards

Postby Pego » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:42 am

mrbowie wrote:I once asked the cleverest racehorse veterinarian this question: If could give a horse any drug to make it run faster, what would you use?

This guy was the first vet to use Lasix, clenbuterol, maybe EPO too.

His choice: a tranquilizer! Just to take the edge off.


This should be a mandatory reading for those that consider stimulants PEDs.
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