Awarded: Jim Ryun, 73
The legendary miler received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump during a July White House ceremony. Olympic 1500 gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz and mile AR holder Alan Webb were among those on hand for the ceremony.
Elected: Seb Coe, 63
On July 17, as a member of the International Olympic Committee. For the first time since disgraced Lamine Diack was set down in ’15, track has a voice at the highest level of international sport. The head of WA’s selection was long held up over concerns about potential conflicts of interest because of his position with a sports consultancy group.
Appointed: Laurent Boquillet, 54
As Head Of Global Development at World Athletics. The former Paris DL director was also the CEO of the ’20 European Championships organization.
Died: Marlene Ahrens, 86
On June 17, in Santiago, Chile; after heart failure. The silver medalist in the javelin in ’60, she was the first Chilean woman to win an Olympic medal. She also won the Pan-Am gold in ’59 and ’63. She World Ranked No. 8 in ’56.
Died: Witold Baran, 80
On June 22, in Bydgoszcz, Poland. A 3-time World Ranker in the 1500, he topped out at No. 5 in ’61. He placed 6th in the ’64 Olympics, that same year setting a European mile record of 3:56.0.
Died: Dick Buerkle, 72
On June 22, in Atlanta; of multiple system atrophy. At Villanova Buerkle placed 3rd in the ‘70 NCAA 3M. He won the AAU 5000 in ’74, Ranking No. 4 in the world. In ’76 he captured both the AAU and OT 5000s. Two years later, he made a foray into the mile and set a World Record of 3:54.93 indoors. He placed 2nd at the ’80 OT in the 5000. Altogether he earned 10 U.S. Rankings (1 at 1500, 7 at 5K, 2 at 10K). Made the February ’74 cover of T&FN for breaking Steve Prefontaine’s long winning streak against Americans.
Died: Georges Elloy, 90
On June 5, in Jullouville, France. The 400 hurdler was No. 5 in the ’49 World Rankings, the year he won the World University Games for France in a World Junior Record 53.0.
Died: Ingvar Ericsson, 92
On May 14, in Stockholm, Sweden. The 7th-placer in the ’52 Olympic 1500, he made No. 6 in the World Rankings in ’50 and ’54, making the cut a total of four times in his career. In ’57 he just missed joining the early sub-4:00 club with his mile PR of 4:00.4.
Died: Ödön Földessy, 90
On June 9, in Budapest. The Hungarian long jumper won Olympic bronze in ’52 and won the European title two years later. He made the World Rankings four seasons, with No. 2s in ’53 & ’54.
Died: Bruno Gallicker, 88
On May 27, in Zürich, in a car accident. The Swiss 400 hurdler ranked No. 9 in the world in ’59. The following year he placed 6th in the Rome Olympics.
Died: Garth Gilmour, 94
On June 25, in Auckland. The New Zealand writer partnered with coaching legend Arthur Lydiard on a number of books that promoted the jogging boom. He also wrote No Bugles, No Drums with Kiwi mid-distance legend Peter Snell.
Died: Jim Grelle, 83
On June 13. The NCAA mile champion for Oregon in ’59, the next year Grelle was runner-up in the Olympic Trials. He World Ranked five seasons (1962–66) and was No. 4 in ’62. At the ’64 Olympic Trials, he finished 4th, edged at the line by high schooler Jim Ryun. He set an American Record of 3:55.4 in the mile in ’65—it lasted only 9 days.
Died: Svein Arne Hansen, 74
On June 20, in Oslo, 3 months after suffering a stroke. The forward-thinking president of European Athletics, Hansen had been the longtime director of Oslo’s Bislett Games.
Died: Mel Hein, 79
On July 8, in Reno; of a brain infection. As a USC vaulter, Hein placed 5th in the ’62 NCAAs and 6th the following year. In ’65 he set an American Record indoors of 16-5¾ (5.02); that year he ranked No. 6 among Americans, his best finish in three seasons of U.S. Rankings.
Died: Jerry Herndon, 65
On June 14. The ’74 NCAA long jump champ for UCLA as a frosh, Herndon ranked No. 8 in the world and No. 3 in the U.S. that year.
Died: Willi Holdorf, 80
On July 5, in Achterwehr, Germany. Holdorf won the ’64 gold medal in the decathlon. A 4-time World Ranker in the event (1961–64), his No. 1 came in ’64.
Died: Ben Jipcho, 77
On July 24, in Eldoret, Kenya; of prostate cancer. The ’72 silver medalist in the steeplechase, perhaps his finest running came at the ’74 Commonwealth Games, where he won gold in the steeple and 5000 and bronze in the 1500, a race where the top 2 broke the previous World Record and Jipcho, at 3:33.16, effectively tied it. In the ’68 Olympics he helped rabbit his teammate Kip Keino win the 1500 gold medal. He set 3 WRs in the steeple, topped by his 8:14.0 in ’73, the year he was named T&FN Athlete of the Year. He World Ranked 9 times: 3 in the 1500 (No. 1 in ’73), 4 in the steeple (No. 1 in ’73), and 2 in the 5000 (No. 1 in ’74). His international career was cut short when he turned pro with the ITA.
Died: Ron Larrieu, 83
On June 3. The Cal Poly Pomona alum competed in the ’64 Olympics in the 10,000 and was a 2-time national XC champion. He was a 5-time U.S. Ranker at both 5000 and 10,000 (1963–67).
Died: Don MacGregor, 80.
On June 3. No. 8 in the marathon World Rankings in ’72, the year he placed 7th in the Olympic marathon for Great Britain.
Died: Bobby Morrow, 84
On May 30, in Harlingen, Texas; of natural causes. The multiple-WR-setting Abilene Christian legend won triple gold in the 100, 200 and 4×1 at the ’56 Melbourne Olympics.
Died: Roberto Moya, 55
On May 21, in Valencia, Spain. Cuba’s ’92 Olympic bronze medalist in the discus World Ranked once, a No. 8 in that year.
Died: Kevin Ross, 73
On July 9. In ’72, Ross ran first leg on the New Zealand 4 x mile relay that set a World Record of 16:04.8.
Died: Hermann Salomon, 82
On June 11, in Mainz, Germany. A 2-time javelin World Ranker, he was No. 5 in ’63.
Died: Mort Tenner, 92
On June 22. A great friend of the sport in general and of T&FN in particular, Tenner was long a fixture on the SoCal track & field scene as both an official and administrator. He did exemplary work as Competition Director of the ’84 LA Olympics. ◻︎