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Remembering Mel Lattany
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Kishan Gill
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 4:09 am    Post subject: Remembering Mel Lattany Reply with quote

In 1980 as a 12 year old I first became interested in track. The Mosow olympics were around the corner and the great rivalry between the middle-distance greats steve ovett and sebastian coe building up to the their clash in the olympics was definitely one of the most exciting chapters in athletics and the unusual outcome an interesting twist to their story.

However, it was the following year in a cold damp day at crystal palace stadium in london, an athletics meet televised on the BBC that I watched this amazing young american in green shorts and top, his name written on the back and distinctive white wrist bands (apparently an East German training technique to improve arm action), resembling more a comicbook hero than a runner. Lattany went on to win the race in 10.06 in very bad sprinting conditions to set an all-comers record which I believe was unbroken for over a decade. That was the day I began the long love affair with athletics that would produce in that decade other great sprinters to watch like calvin smith, Allan Wells, chidi Imoh and of course Carl Lewis.

I would love to hear your impressions of this brilliant but soft-spoken sprinter who missed out on the big championships with the exception of the 1981 rome world cup 200m gold. He also had a low altitude best of 9.96 in athens, georgia in 1984 but finished last in the olympic trials.
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Conway
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lattany woulda coulda shoulda been 84 Oly champ ... Beauutiful sprinter technically ... And very fast ... His arm bands were his trademark and tey were designed to keep his arm action and rhythm correct ... Came along at a time when sprinting was making a major shift to the sub 10 realm ... He Smith and Lewis being the top dogs of the day ... Was not a big talker, simply went out and got the job done ... I wish he had stayed in teh sport longer ... No telling what his potential may have been ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing the memories. Thumbs Up Always nice to hear more about the people remembered by few...

Dan
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Kishan Gill
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 9:42 am    Post subject: Mel lattany Reply with quote

I agree with conway, lattany could have medaled at the olympics, he was having his best year. Maybe the pressure got to him. Calvin smith was not in the form he had the previous year and was suffering from cramp on the day according to his coach wayne williams. I still feel that lewis was unbeatable that year.
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Conway
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, the pressure did not get to Mel or Calvin ... Used to be that the US had both a national championships AND Olympic trials in Olympic years ... Athletes used to use the Nationals as either a tune up or skip it altogether to focus on the Trials ... In 84 both Lattany and Smith attended Nationals - I was there ... Both suffered hamstring injuries - Lattany's major, Smith's less so ... As a result Lattany had no shot at the games .. Smith being a superior sprinter just missed the top 3 but made the team on the relay ... Smith rehabbed nicely and ran a scintilating 9.94w at a pre games meet in Sacramento in near freezing cold conditions to how what might have been - I was there too ... The games was robbed of a truly great race with the absense of these two ... I must also say that Calvin ran an awesome 3rd leg at the games as well - oh I was there too !!! Man that was a good year !!
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was the timing of the two meets?

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 weeks if memory serves me ... If I am not mistaken the process stopped with the second World Championships - since the National meet was the selection meet for Worlds it was decided that only one meet would also be held for the Olympics, so in Olympic years (starting in 92 after the increase in World meets) only the Trials are held ... Potatoe, potato, tomatoe, tomato - either way a championships just a matter of what you call it I guess ...

But used to be a burden on the athletes none the less ... And in 84 it was deadly ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of what I was getting at is where were the two meets held with relation to the championship season? If they were too far removed, that could be rough trying to hold a peak for several weaks long before the real peak. Neutral

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what the question is ... They were held at approximately teh same time as Nationals are held now ... Only a couple of weeks apart ... Our Nationals are too early anyway if you ask me ... Not sure why ... We are always a month or more away from major meets ... THAT is a problem if you ask me .. Give em two weeks ... Wina title ... GEt a week break ... And then bam go get em ... I konw ... A logistical nightmare ... However ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's about what I figured. That setup would have made it very difficult to run both National meets and still come back strong for a European season and late summer Championship run. It's bad enough having one early National meet, but having two of them a week or two apart means either running through them or hitting an extended peak at a very awkward time of the year, neither of which makes any sense for the athletes.

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you imagine however that that was teh set up until the 90's !!!!!! And yet we have the medal history that we do in teh Olympics (and Worlds for that matter) ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't fix what ain't broke...

If they tried pulling that off today, they'd have a lot more no shows and/or injuries. Neutral

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No shows !!! I can't even remember who was there in '88 ... Definitely no one in contention ....
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