Facts, Not Fiction

 
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    #11
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    Clarke was simply brilliant and I was lucky to have seen him race several times. Like the great Jim Ryun, he sadly never won Olympic Gold, but his star shines brightly. RIP Ron Clarke. You were an inspiration to many young distance runners.
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    #12
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    Truly saddened. He always came to make a race of it. As a high school senior I saw what I believe was his U.S. debut (or at least his first post WR debut) in Madison Square Garden, setting an indoor 3 mile WR. It was also Bob Hayes' NYC debut and he set the record in the 60. They just didn't seem to be on the same planet as we mere mortals.
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    #13
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    Some may recall that he'd undergone heart surgery, which I believe was done to repair a damaged mitral valve attributed to his extreme exertion during the Mexico OG 10k.
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    #14
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    He never feared any competition. What a legend he was.

    Here is his career record:

    http://www.file-upload.net/download-...-ufe-.ods.html
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    #15
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    I wouldn't perpetrate that rumor. Highly unlikely he injured his mitral valve in a single race in Mexico City, and also impossible to prove that in retrospect. Far more likely he had a congenital mitral valve problem that manifested itself later in life. DrJay would know more than me and can probably comment on it.

    Takes nothing away from Clarke - among the greatest distance runners ever
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    #16
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    The ultimate competitor, the heart of a lion. May the fact that his memory will live on and inspire others give added comfort to his family.
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    #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam1729 View Post
    I wouldn't perpetrate that rumor. Highly unlikely he injured his mitral valve in a single race in Mexico City, and also impossible to prove that in retrospect. Far more likely he had a congenital mitral valve problem that manifested itself later in life. DrJay would know more than me and can probably comment on it.

    Takes nothing away from Clarke - among the greatest distance runners ever
    bambam, I've thought the same thing whenever I've heard any version of that story. I just don't think one could run themselves into that situation. As far as hypoxia, climbers that summit high Himalayan peaks have far lower oxygen saturations than he could have achieved in Mexico City and they don't suffer permanent heart damage.
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    #18
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    Sad news. I never saw him in person but always believed he would have gotten his gold medal anywhere but in Mexico City.
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    #19
    It is a measure of the man that he was held in such high regard by his contemporaries. The wonderful stories involving Zatopek and Landy have been told many times. A story perhaps not so widely known is that Lachie Stewart apologised to Clarke after beating him in the 1970 Commonwealth 10,000m! The BBC commentary for the Mexico Olympics 10,000m says words to the effect that if a British athlete couldn't win it (Ron Hill had just dropped off the back of the leading pack) then every British distance running fan would be cheering for Clarke.

    The languid ferocity with which he raced is the kind of unteachable quality that comes around once in a generation. He brought the distance events kicking and screaming into the modern era. More than that, though, he epitomised an older, more reflective era that recognised that athletics and sport in general was about so much more than just elite performance.

    Finally, he was also jointly responsible with Norman Harris for in my mind the finest book written about athletics, "The Lonely Breed". I still get inspired reading it!

    I very much hope his family know to what extent he was loved by the athletic public. We will miss him.
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    #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam1729 View Post
    I wouldn't perpetrate that rumor. Highly unlikely he injured his mitral valve in a single race in Mexico City, and also impossible to prove that in retrospect. Far more likely he had a congenital mitral valve problem that manifested itself later in life. DrJay would know more than me and can probably comment on it.

    Takes nothing away from Clarke - among the greatest distance runners ever
    The media has reported his getting permanent heart damage from 1968, and passing out for 10 minutes post race. Fact or fiction I don't know.
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