Irene Obera

Irene Obera sets a Sports Illustrated record — third time in ‘Faces in the Crowd’ since 1962

The June 18, 1962, issue of Sports Illustrated had an article by Jack Nicklaus advising right-handed golfers how to hit a left-handed shot. Also: full-page ads promoting whiskey and cigarettes (Marlboro and Viceroy) and a blooming sprinter from Northern California in “Faces in the Crowd.” It read: “Irene Obera of Berkeley, Calif., has out-sprinted everyone on her home-state tracks this season with three breezy 10.9s and an 11.0 in the 100-yard dash, gives promise of being a front-runner for the AAU women’s nationals next month in Los Angeles.” How did Irene do? She took fifth in the 100-yard dash (in…


Irene Obera wins her 3rd USATF Athlete of Week award, but (many) outdoor WRs await

For at least the third time since 2014, Hall of Famer Irene Obera has been named USATF Athlete of the Week. The latest honor was announced Wednesday. This removes the egregious stain on her rep at Torun worlds, when she was the lone entrant in the W85 high jump, passed at .80 meters (2-7 1/2) and then had three misses at .83 (2-8 3/4). NM by her name. No gold. But I guess I’ll have to forgive her, since she set three world records in Poland. Indy’s fine summary: “Obera, 85, set world records in the women’s 85 division of…


Newbie W55 Neringa Jakstiene claims 3 world records, plus an AR, at Winston-Salem

Neringa Jakstiene of Memphis via Lithiuania (in 1994) won two W50 golds (hep and triple jump) and a silver (80 hurdles) at Malaga worlds last year, so it was no surprise that she’d excel as a W55 at Winston-Salem nationals. But three world records in one day? Thus she’s my pick for star of Day 1. See results here. USATF did a good roundup of top marks, including Irene Obera’s not unexpected W85 world record for 400 meters. But Neringa’s marks really blew me away, including 4,894 in the pent, which crushed the listed WR of 4,502 by our ultralegend,…


Look for Irene Obera, Bill Jankovich to redefine age-85 abilities at Winston-Salem nationals

I’m not in Winston-Salem this weekend for indoor nationals, but I’m eager to see results, especially from newbie W85 (and Hall of Famer) Irene Obera (entered in 60, 200, 400, 800, high jump, long jump, shot put and triple jump) and M85 Bill Jankovich (60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, high jump, pentathlon, long jump, pole vault, shot put and triple jump). Bill set a monster AR in the indoor hep a month ago. Who hazards a guess at Irene’s record-setting at JDL Fast Track? Also notable: Jim Barrineau, the Olympic high jumper, is venturing WAY outside his comfort zone. My…


4 decades as friends and rivals: Aussie sprinters Kernaghan and Richards

I tell newcomers to our niche that a major joy is joining a traveling tribe. The High Jump Tribe. The Throwers Tribe. The Hurdles Tribe. We hold reunions at nationals and worlds. Now comes a story Down Under by Laura Pond of Stirling Times — a tale of the Sprint Tribe. “Masters athletes Norm Richards (80) and Barrie Kernaghan (78) have enjoyed a friendly rivalry for nearly 40 years,” Laura writes. “Mr. Richards, of Woodlands, and Karrinyup resident Mr. Kernaghan competed at the recent Australian Masters Athletics Championships at the WA Athletics Stadium, achieving 12 medals between them.” Barrie says:…