Olympian, masters star Willie Banks back smiling on Zoom after December bout with COVID-19

Monday’s Zoom session featuring Dick Fosbury, Linda Cohn and Willie Banks was happiness and light, with lots of helpful and inspirational nuggets. But my head snapped at one point when Willie, smiling and upbeat, matter of factly mentioned in passing that he had COVID-19 in December. Say what? He never returned to the subject, so I wrote him the next day. Did I hear you correctly? Yup. With symptoms of light fever, headache, body aches and cough, he was tested Dec. 11, 2020, and heard his results — positive — two days later. He has no clue how or where…


John Garvey (who once beat Michael Carter) adds to legend with Facebook pages

After giving John Garvey some pop yesterday on his World Masters Games Facebook page, I messaged him to learn more details on his group. He’s a lot more interesting than anything I wrote. He replied that he’s using social media to get folks to appreciate throwing and share information during this pandemic. “I am creating several throwing oriented Facebook groups to remedy this big disconnect with throwing with focus on athletes, throwing history and throwing facilities,” John said. He’s a World Masters Games veteran. At 1998 Eugene meet, he won bronze in the discus a few feet behind Dean Crouser…


San Francisco M55 thrower launches unofficial World Masters Games group on Facebook

The World Masters Games in Kansai, Japan, originally set for May 2021, were postponed to 2022. But the 2025 Games have been awarded to “Taipei and New Taipei” (Taiwan) after beating out bids from Paris and Perth. These multisport event, organized by the Swiss-based International Masters Games Association, compete with the World Masters Athletics regional and world meets. But many trackos have a great time at both — if they can afford it. So another Facebook group has emerged to discuss the World Masters Games. It was created recently by John Garvey, a San Francisco-based M55 thrower. Speaking of competition,…


Will Sacramento masters nationals go way of 2021 Millrose Games? Vaccination levels key

In late July 2010, USATF masters nationals were staged at Sacramento State University, site of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials. The 2010 meet was a warmup for 2011 worlds, also mainly at Hornet Stadium. Now the question: Will Sacramento host 2021 masters nationals — either in July or delayed till August? It’s officially still on, as national chair Jerry Bookin-Weiner said today on Facebook. But the dates are fluid. My vote is for August — with a 91-degree average high, it’s under the 92 average high for July. Another reason: An extra month of vaccinations. Last month, the masters-friendly…


Sing along with lyrical Dave Ortman: ‘Keep running through, Just like you always do.’

Dave Ortman knows adversity. In 2015, this multitalented masters champion out of Seattle had a heart attack. He wrote me: “I know several other masters athletes who have problems with their tickers. Perhaps we all should be wearing T-shirts that say, ‘I (heart) Track and Field. Not Dead, Yet!’” Dave — who already helped set two Guinness World records — made a full comeback, topped by an M65 world record in the 4×4 in September 2019. But T-shirt slogans aren’t his only talent outside track. He’s our own “Weird Al” Yankovic. He recently wrote me: “Even with 20/20 vision, 2020…


Dan King’s royal season: 3 ARs, 3 M60 mile marks averaging under New Zealander’s WR

Your Jeopardy answer: “This runner from Boulder, Colorado, swears by a plant-based diet, has a sister who boasts several American distance records and a dad who won the famous Dipsea trail race.” Too obscure? How about: “This 61-year-old track star ran a mile three times this fall, averaging under the world record for his age group and ending up with ratifiable American records at the mile, 3000 meters and 5000 meters.” Ah, that’s it: “Who is Dan King?” After reporting on his disappointing first two record tries — one under the WR but at an unsanctioned meet — I finally…


Jeff Brower steps down as masters records czar; modernized process for 6 years

For six years, Jeff Brower of Texas has been chair of the USATF Masters T&F records committee. He cleaned up a holy mess left by Sandy Pashkin, whose failures I noted over the years (including a 2006 post headlined “Sandy Pashkin, as roadblock to records, has to go.”) Sandy inherited an index-card system from Pete Mundle, a booger beyond belief. Jeff also helped update the MTF website, finally adopting a WordPress design. (Easier to use.) And in 2020, according to his annual report, Jeff didn’t take a dime from his $3,000 budget. Now Jeff is stepping down. Our fourth records…


Linda Cohn to join legends Dick Fosbury and Willie Banks for free Zoom Q&A on Jan. 11

The Pasadena Senior Center is famed for its annual Senior Games at Cal Tech, a qualifier for the National Senior Games. But in these Pandemic Times, it’s organizing Zoom talks with famed athletes. On Jan. 11, three current or former masters track stars are featured in a panel discussion and Q&A. You might have heard of Dick Fosbury and Willie Banks. The Flop creator once jumped in masters, the Rhythmic Clap inventor still does. And Linda Cohn? She has something the first two don’t — a pair of world masters age-group records. (In the W60 and W65 javelin.) In the…


Dan King’s second try at official M60 mile WR falls short in Columbia, S.C.

Colorado’s Dan King, 61, ran the mile in 4:53.41 on Saturday — one of the greatest four-lap efforts in masters history. But his paced effort at Ben Lippen School, a Christian prep school in Columbia, South Carolina, was more than 4 seconds off his August mark of 4:49 at a meet in the same city. It barely missed the listed M60 American record of 4:53.01 by Nolan Shaheed in 2012. Because that earlier event wasn’t USATF sanctioned, his miletone mile isn’t eligible for American and world record ratification (as I telegraphed a few weeks ago). On Facebook, Dan posted video…


W80 Kathy Bergen ups 2020 world record total to 5 with Texas marks in 100, high jump

In September 2019, Kathy Bergen told her story to Rachel Lapidos of wellandgood.com. Kathy counted 17 world records to her name and hoped for more as a W80. “I’ll be working harder, because next year I want to break six world records,” she said. “When I move to a new age group, I break records.” You don’t say. Earlier this month, SoCal Kathy notched WRs 4 and 5 for the year. Returning to the state where she set three indoor WRs in February, Kathy ran 100 meters in 16.62 seconds with a barely legal wind of 1.8 meters per second….