Ralph Romain dies at 88; lanky Trinidad sprinter was WR legend at 200 and 400

Ralph Irving Romain was an education expert who worked for the World Bank and UNESCO. He taught history at New York’s Medgar Evers College of CUNY. In the 1960s, not long after his native Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from the UK, Ralph was the Caribbean nation’s education minister, writing a 15-year plan through 1983. “Equipped with training at the graduate level at Cambridge University, Romain took on the challenge of creating an educational system designed to allow equal opportunity to quality education for all the children of the country,” wrote Ralph Henry in the nation’s oldest newspaper. “He was…


GeezerJock magazine reincarnated as free newsletter, with veteran sportswriter at helm

In 2004, a Chicagoan’s idea for a masters sports magazine caught my attention and fluttered my heart. It had me at its title — GeezerJock. Despite the cheeky name, editor Sean Callahan and partners were serious, and I joined as a contributing track writer. In 2005, it even named an obscure 54-year-old sprinter named Bill Collins as its inaugural Michelob ULTRA GeezerJock of the Year. But in 2008, after months of editorial excellence but poor circulation (and changing its name to Masters Athlete), the book I called Sports Illustrated for age-groupers folded amid the Big Recession. (The same publication pandemic…


Sacramento 2021 masters nationals spiked? Email newsletter provokes questions on when, where

Yesterday’s newsy email from USATF Masters has raised concerns that our 2021 national outdoor meet won’t be held in Sacramento as previously awarded. All we know is: “Summer 2021 – USATF Masters Outdoor Championships: To be announced soon.” But the newsletter also says: “July 17 – Northwest Region Masters Outdoor Track and Field Meet: Seattle, WA – details forthcoming soon.” Given that the Sacramento Sports Commission website shows dates of July 15-18 for Sacto masters nationals, we now have dueling mysteries: When and where will outdoor nationals be held? (Meanwhile, the official USATF Masters website says: “USATF Masters Outdoor Track…


Superstar announcer Pete Taylor recovering from new stroke, delays return to booth

Pete Taylor, our Hall of Fame meet announcer, has been through the medical ringer over the years, but always bounced back. I’m hoping his luck holds as he faces yet another challenge. “On February 16,” Pete writes, “I suffered my third stroke; very soon thereafter I was lying in a bed in Inova Fairfax Hospital (Falls Church, Virginia) to begin a 3-day stay on an inpatient unit there.” His second stroke was in March 2012. “The date of my first stroke is not known, as I only know about it because the radiologist in 2012 indicated that I had had…


25 years and counting: Masters Track & Field Home Page launched in February 1996

Whenever I hear “OK boomer,” I smile. It’s meant to be a slur on my g-g-g-generation for being digital dunces, among other thing. Well, I just reply: I started my first website before you were born, whippersnapper. Case in point: My Masters Track & Field Home Page (every site in the late-1990s was a “home page”) went live in February 1996. The exact date? Lost in the mist of time. The URL migrated over the years, ending up as masterstrack.com and now masterstrack.blog. Between December 2002 and May 2018, I posted nearly every day. Then I got lazy, thanks to…


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…