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    Dick Buerkle question
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    When Dick Buerkle beat Filbert Bayi and Wilson Waigwa in the 1978 Wanamaker Mile, and made the cover of Sports Illustrated (see below), he appears to have been wearing a West German singlet. Is that correct? Does anyone know why he was wearing that singlet?

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    #2
    Probably just traded singlets with someone because he liked the way it looked. Remember that Ovett wore a Russian singlet for a year or two before Moscow Olympics.
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    Buerkle
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    It was great watching him emerge as a leader in the sport. He entered Villanova as a walk- on, as his high school credentials were not strong. That was when Villanova was doing great things in the sport. One of the guys from my hometown was either a roommate or a friend of Buerkle. My friend was not on the team and never had been a runner, but he followed the sport closely. Long before Buerkle started to make his mark, my friend kept telling me about this new runner, who hadn't done much, but was coming on. And boy, did he do something! I enjoyed watching this once unheralded runner make his mark among the best in the world. Later as a coach, I never discounted an athlete who started off without showing talent.
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    Buerkle
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    As I understand it, he had no scholarship at Villanova for his first three years. He set a world record, made two Olympic teams, was a USA champion at 5000 meters, won the Wanamaker Mile, and brought Prefontaine's unbeaten streak to an end. Not too shabby for a guy with a 4:28 high school PR for the mile.
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    #5
    I did not meet him in Philly in the 1970's, but he came to NJ to do a clinic for NJ-TAC in the 1980's and I got to talk to him a bit. Seemed like a class guy. He had some fascinating stories about training in Rochester in the WInter.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmiler2
    I did not meet him in Philly in the 1970's, but he came to NJ to do a clinic for NJ-TAC in the 1980's and I got to talk to him a bit. Seemed like a class guy. He had some fascinating stories about training in Rochester in the WInter.
    Never met the man myself, but watching him speak on the Prefontaine "Fire on the Track" documentary put him on my short list of people I'd like to sit down and have a conversation with about anything. He seemed to have that thoughtful sort of intelligence and a sense of humor to boot--solid credentials for an interesting discussion.

    He wrote a very poignant poem in memory of Prefontaine upon hearing of Pre's death. This is reprinted in Geoff Hollister's book "Out of Nowhere" that came out last year.

    The film clips reminded me of the T&FN interview not long after he broke the indoor WR...he was "man enough" to open up a little and let you see inside, which is/was always neat (as he himself says in the interview). One of T&FN's best interviews, IMHO. Right up there with the Paul Geis one....which was an interesting twist by a certain managing editor...!
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    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coghlan View Post
    When Dick Buerkle beat Filbert Bayi and Wilson Waigwa in the 1978 Wanamaker Mile, and made the cover of Sports Illustrated (see below), he appears to have been wearing a West German singlet. Is that correct? Does anyone know why he was wearing that singlet?

    I was a teammate of Dick's at Villanova and he has an amazing story. He ran with the team for 2 years and slowly improved. My Senior year, 1968, I won a two mile at Tennessee and Dick was right next to me in about 8:56. After I graduated, Dick broke all distance records and later broke the World Record in the mile indoors and had many great races after that. He is a great guy as well as a fun guy and we all loved him at Villanova. Why Dick wore the shirt, I do not know, but Dick did alot of strange things and this may have been one of them.
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    #8
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    In that era, when sheo companies weren't mandating that athletes wear their kit, and in an era where one of the great things about making an international team was swapping jerseys with somebody from another nation in dual meet, it wasn't uncommon to see athletes in "foreign" jerseys.
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    #9
    When I lived in Rochester I had a rule that I would not go for a run if the wind chill was below minus 30 F. But I imagine Buerkle is made of sterner stuff.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by gh View Post
    In that era, when sheo companies weren't mandating that athletes wear their kit, and in an era where one of the great things about making an international team was swapping jerseys with somebody from another nation in dual meet, it wasn't uncommon to see athletes in "foreign" jerseys.
    It wasn't only team members who could make a swap. Just coming into contact with a member of a Soviet team in the infield could lead to a swap.

    I got Janis Donins' bright red "CCCP" singlet with the Hammer and Sickle emblem from him on the infield after he had finished throwing the javelin at the 1971 USA-USSR Dual meet at Hughes Stadium in Berkeley. I don't recall what I gave up in exchange, only that it wasn't my tee shirt and I had whatever it was available to trade without pre-planning.

    The singlet I got showed signs of wear and prior repair. Unfortunately, at the moment, it needed a thorough washing. It must have been hand washed in the past you could put a finger through the light material it was made of with little effort. After just a few machine washes, it quickly fell apart. Still, I was proud to have it and I ran in it until the arm/neck hole seams, straps of red cloth and the emblem could not hold it together any longer.
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