AS I SAY EVERY 8-PLUS YEARS, here at T&FN we like to think of every one of our monthly offerings as a “landmark issue,” but among the landmarkiest are the centenary issues.
This one marks edition No. 900 we’ve published since the first one rolled off the presses dated February 1948. It has been my pleasure to have worked on no fewer than 636 of our 900 issues (my first was January of ’70).
(If you’ve got a head for figures you may have noticed that the century issues haven’t come at exactly regular intervals. For various reasons, during our 72-year life span we’ve had volumes of 11, 12, 17 and 18 issues.)
A trip down 8 previous Memory Lanes:
ISSUE #100, MAY 1956
Back in the days when the layout was more newspaper-like, the front page featured stories on 4 World Records: Dave Sime with a pair of 220y straightaway marks (22.2 over the hurdles, 20.1 on the flat), Parry O’Brien with a 61‑1 (18.61) put and Leamon King’s 9.3 for 100y. King got a picture, as did Jim Bailey for upsetting WR holder John Landy in a 3:58.6 mile before 38,543 fans in Los Angeles.
ISSUE #200, SEPTEMBER 1964
Ralph Boston made the front page for upping his own long jump WR to 27-4¼ (8.33) in winning the Olympic Trials, which we somehow covered (men only) in a concise 2½ pages. Most of the issue was dedicated to a preview of the Tokyo Games. Briton Lynn Davies, who would upset Boston and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan for the gold, was only picked for 5th.
ISSUE #300, II MAY 1971
The “Dream Mile” lived up to expectations, with Marty Liquori outdueling WR holder Jim Ryun. “Jim made it boring by being so good,” said Liquori of Ryun’s previous dominance. “Maybe we can make it interesting again.” To blunt Ryun’s speed, Liquori went out hard. “I wanted us both sagging in the stretch, looking more like boxers,” he said. His strategy worked.
ISSUE #400, JANUARY 1978
The Athlete Of The Year crown for ’77 went to Cuba’s incredible 400/800 talent, Alberto Juantorena. It was the second win in a row for El Caballo, but it was the closest voting ever as he beat Edwin Moses by only 4 points. Moses actually lost a race during the season: that was something that wouldn’t happen to him again for another decade.
ISSUE #500, JUNE 1986
Up-front honors went to Texas A&M frosh Randy Barnes. Just a 66-9½ (20.35) putter with the 12-pounder a year before, he had exploded to 71-9½ (21.88) with the 16 to replace icon Randy Matson as Aggie school record holder. It had been a good month for American Records. Joe Dial claimed 3 in the vault, Jud Logan 2 in the hammer and JJK raised the heptathlon standard.
ISSUE #600, NOVEMBER 1994
One of the brightest covers ever featured “The Green Machine,” Dennis Mitchell, who had just won the Grand Prix 100 title over Linford Christie, Jon Drummond, Frank Fredericks and Donovan Bailey. Interview subject Mitchell said, “It’s our nature as sprinters to be a little cocky, self-centered and to jaw-flap some. It’s all just part of the game.”
ISSUE #700, MARCH 2003.
Regina Jacobs made the cover for her historic first women’s sub-4:00 indoor 1500. Sadly, she would later become symbolic of what went so wrong with the sport in the new millennium. Jacobs wasn’t the only 30-something burning it up; vets Gail Devers and Stacy Dragila were in AR form too. In a scoop, Sieg Lindstrom broke the news of Gabe Jennings’ impending walkabout to Brazil.
ISSUE #800, AUGUST 2011
The first centenary edition ever to focus on the NCAA Champs, this one had Robbie Andrews on the cover after his sensational big-kick 800 win, but the biggest star of the meet was Florida State’s Ngoni Makusha, who became the first man ever to score a 100/4×1/LJ triple. The high school scene produced no fewer than 6 NRs, plus another sub-4:00 miler in the person of Lukas Verzbicas.
AND NOW, ISSUE #900, DECEMBER 2019
Please enjoy the final Rankings of the second decade of this millennium. In next month’s issue we’ll do our regular end-of-decade recap. Who’s your choices for Athletes Of The Decade? You’ll see ours in the January issue.
Assuming that we continue on in a normal 12-issue mode, the super-landmark 1000th issue will come out as April 2028, perhaps beamed direct to the chip in your brain. I’m planning on reading (and writing?) it; hope you are too!
(ps—Just a few days after this column is published, I’ll be celebrating a landmark of my own. Having shown up for work at T&FN for the first time on December 29, 1969, that date will mark 50 wouldn’t-trade-them-for-anything years on the job.) ◻︎