Facts, Not Fiction

 

Thread: Off We Go.....

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    #11
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    Great story, midwestfan. I would have loved to have been at that brunch in Florida.
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    #12
    Courtney graduated from Fordham University in 1955, then competed for the US Air Force team in subsequent years.

    The fact that he anchored the gold medal 4x4 team in '56 is indicative of the esteem in which he was held considering that earlier legs were run by world record holder Lou Jones (lead-off) and 400m gold medalist Charlie Jenkins (3rd leg.)
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    #13
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    Good point, dj. Relay splits from the U.S. team in Melbourne (December 1, 1956): Lou Jones (fifth in the 400 final) ran 47.1 out of the blocks. Jesse Mashburn was 46.4 on leg two. Charlie Jenkins (Olympic 400 champ at 46.7 two days before this relay) ran 45.5 on the third leg. Tom Courtney's anchor leg was 45.7.
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    #14
    Wasn't it that Jim Lea's injury opened up the position for Courtney on the relay?
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    #15
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    The way Courtney told me and it is reviewed in his book was that Olympic Coach Kelly had the four 440 runners have a time trial against Courtney one week before OG in Australia. Courtney beat all four but Kelly had indicated that "if any of the four beat him he would not be on the relay" and none of the four beat him so Kelly left the foursome intact. It was the poor showing of Lea in the OG 400m that let Kelly decide to insert Courtney. Kelly did not want to take off the 4th runner Mashburn (he finished 4th in OT) because he did not get a chance to run in 1952 OG.

    Courtney was the strongest dependable 400 m anchor with the greats of Lou Jones and Charlie Jenkins running ahead of him and thus Kelly used Courtney as his anchor.

    Courtney wanted to double in the 400/800 in Melbourne but the OT were run in two days and his 800 Final was only minutes finished when he had to run first 400 m OT heat and he pulled out.

    He said to me that at Melbourne it was different and the 800/400 were more easily separated in time that he felt he could have won both.
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    #16
    Given that the 400 was run with the semis and the final on the same day, and the sub-par performances in Melbourne by Jones and Lea and the slowish final, I buy into the notion that Courtney would have had a very good chance at the double.
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