USA Championships History Introductory Material

A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2020

In 1986 one of the most important statistical books for our sport was published: The United States’ National Championships In Track & Field Athletics 1876–1985. The authors were two renowned statisticians, Bill Mallon, MD, and Ian Buchanan and the book was published by the Press Information Department of The Athletics Congress/USA (TAC), which has since become USATF.

Their epic work recreated not only the top-end results from each of those national championships, but also created a précis of each meet, relevant by-event statistics and an index of every athlete who ever finished in the top 3 at the Nationals.

With the kind permission of the authors, Track & Field News is proud to reproduce their work here. This will be an ongoing project, one which we hope will bring hours of reading enjoyment to all true fans of the world’s most wonderful sport.

We’ll begin by printing the by-event results in chronological order. Once the results sections are complete, we’ll tackle the publication of the other sections of the original book.

Our on-line version of the results is going to include more than just a reproduction of the original Mallon/Buchanan collaboration. We have picked up the trail of results where they left off and appended all the meets 1986–2020.

There are marked differences in formatting between their work and ours as we wanted both to retain the flavor of the original book and also facilitate the production of the later results by using our own in-house style. We don’t think you’ll find the difference between the two methodologies too jarring.

In addition, note that when the T&FN-production years are reached, women’s events are included, the number of placers goes from 6 to 8 and affilliations are added. Mallon, in conjunction with Dave Johnson & John Brant, has subsequently gone back and recreated the women’s results from prior to 1986, with the formatting again being slightly different.

It should also be noted that in the Olympic years of 1924, 1936 and 1948–88, the National Championships were held distinct from the Olympic Trials. The latter competition, of course, was the most important U.S. meet of the year, with many of the top athletes skipping the Nationals.

Introductory Material To Original Book
(relevant parts only)