A Golden Era & A Long Road Ahead
by Jim Knoedel
Fictional tale of the prep
and collegiate careers of a father
in the late sixties and his son
in the new millennium.
An inspirational story that
compares the two eras,
chronicling each runners struggle
to get to the top.
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I was a collegiate track/cross country coach for 35 years and watched the evolution of our sport - from sweep-hand stop watches to computers, low-cut basketball shoes to $175 trainers, cinder tracks to all-weather surfaces, the straddle high jump to the Fosbury Flop. I've seen it all. Over those years I have been in the stands, applauding eleven World Record performances, two within the span of ten minutes, one in a torrential downpour at the 1970 NCAA Championships.
My college coached raced against the great Jesse Owens, giving me a first-hand account of the Performance of the Century at Ferry Field in 1935, but I also watched the incomparable Carl Lewis as he won 9 Olympic Gold Medals in the 1984 and 1988 Games.
I had the good fortune to be selected to coach the 1996 US Ekiden Team in Yokohama, the 1999 World XC Championships in Belfast, and the 2007 US v Germany 'Thorpe Cup' Heptathlon in Stuttgart.