“There is nothing wrong with being friends with your competitors unless you allow friendship to weaken your resolve to compete with them. Unless you allow friendship to dishonor the sacred pact that binds you: to give each other your absolute best effort.” – Jeff Johnson
WHAT US-USSR* International Dual Meet – 600 yard event
WHERE Richmond (VA) Coliseum (160 yard banked board track) (11 laps/mile….smaller than UNH))
WHEN March 17, 1972
WHO Lee Evans**, USA (#5), 1st place, 1:10.8 (other competitors – Kocher, USSRm #55, 2nd place, 1:10.9; Bratchikov, USSR hidden, 3rd place, 1:11.0; Clyde McPherson, USA #6, 4th place, 1:13.5
THE RACE (according to T&FN)
“In the 600, Lee Evans appeared set on a record attempt, took a big lead right away and zipped through the 220 in 23.4. But then he tore his shoe and things
changed. ‘I had trouble keeping my balance, and couldn’t run relaxed,’ said Lee. Evans hung on though and, after passing the quarter in 49.5, barely held off two fast-closing Soviets to win in 1:10.8. Tommie Turner twisted an ankle warming up. A last minute substitute, Clyde McPherson, was spiked in the early stages of the race and finished last.”
* The Soviet Union, officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state that existed from 1922 to 1991. The USSR was a union of fifteen national Soviet republics (most notably Russia, The Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Georgia), existing with a highly centralized government and economy.
* Lee Evans was a two-time Olympian (1968 and 1972). At Mexico City in 1968, he set a world record (43.86), leading an American sweep of the 400m event. Evans won a second gold as the anchor on the 4 × 400m relay team, setting another world record of 2:56.16. Both the times stood as a world record for almost twenty years (the relay, for almost 24 years). Evans finished only fourth in the 1972 Olympic Trials, but was named a member of the 4 × 400m relay team. However, at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the United States couldn’t field a team because Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett were suspended by the IOC for a demonstration at the 400m event medal ceremony similar to the one staged by Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the Mexico City.
Editor’s Note: Due to the graciousness of Jeff Johnson, John Goegel and others, we are continuing our series begun last spring and through the cross country season on our sister site newhampshirecrosscountry.com For those of you that don’t know, Jeff Johnson was employee #1 for Nike. He actually is the one responsible for naming what is now a world corporation. Fortunately for us, he was also a world class photographer of our great sports in the 1960s and 1970s during which he captured thousands of sports photographs. We are honored and thankful for their choice to use our sites as their medium for sharing their passion. We hope our presentations can do them justice!
Photos by John Goegel
Digitized by WC
Quotes by Jeff Johnson from his work in progress: “In Other Words: Things I Think I Said When I Was Trying To Think Of Something To Say.”
If you are interested in a poster version of a photo from this series, they are available for a small charge. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org