INDIANAPOLIS – USA Track & Field announced Thursday that all-time track and field greats Charles Austin, Kim Batten, Pat McDonald and Arthur Duffey along with Millrose Games legends Fred and Howard Schmertz make up the 2012 class of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
The group will be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame on Saturday, December 1, at the Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet as part of the 2012 USATF Annual Meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Austin, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the high jump and American record holder, and Batten, the 1996 Olympic 400-meter hurdles silver medalist and former world record holder, will be inducted as modern athletes, which include those retired within the past 25 years.
McDonald, the 1912 Olympic gold medalist in the shot put and 1920 gold medalist in the weight throw, and Duffey, a former world record holder in the 100-yard dash, will be inducted as veteran athletes, which include those retired more than 25 years.
The father-son duo of Fred and Howard Schmertz, who were both instrumental in the growth of the Millrose Games, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as contributors.
About the National Track & Field Hall of Fame
The finalists from each category are selected by a screening panel from a list of nominations. Panelists examine the nominees and evaluate their merits. Elections for modern and veteran athletes are held each year. Elections for coaches are held in odd-numbered years with contributors elected in even-numbered years. Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame board and panels and members of the media vote on elections for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
The National Track & Field Hall of Fame is located at The Armory, at 216 Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights, N.Y. For more information please visit http://www.armorytrack.com/Armory/national-track-and-field-hall-of-fame.
Class of 2012
Born: December 19, 1967
Charles Austin’s career began as a high school athlete who fell short of qualifying for the Texas high school state championships. It finished with an Olympic gold medal, world championship and American record. Austin became as dominant as a high jumper can be in the latter part of the 1990s by winning six consecutive USA Outdoor championships from 1995-2000. But his proudest moment came when he won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games, the last time a member of Team USA has done so. His career was also one of longevity. When he won his last USA Indoor championship in 2003, it was 12 years after his first world title and the year he set the American record (2.40m/7-10.5). Austin’s career also included World Indoor gold, a World Cup title, an Olympic record and a total of nine combined USA Indoor and Outdoor titles.
Born: March 29, 1969
During her time at Florida State University, Kim Batten needed to make a choice of which event she would focus on as a professional. She chose the grueling 400-meter hurdles. It proved to be a wise choice as she set a world record while becoming the 1995 World Outdoor champion. Her time of 52.61 remains the fourth-fastest time ever run. A two-time Olympian and the 1996 Olympic silver medalist, Batten won six USA Outdoor titles between 1991 and 1998. She burst on the scene in 1991 when she upset Sandra Farmer-Patrick to win the USA Outdoor title while just 22 years old. Batten is also a member of the Florida State University Hall of Fame where she was a nine-time All-American and earned the 1996 ESPY award as Women’s Track and Field Performer of the Year.
Born: June 14, 1879; Died: January 25, 1955
For half a decade at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, Arthur Duffey was considered the fastest man in the world. In 1902 he became the first person to set the world record in the 100-yard dash at 9.6 seconds (9 3/5 second at the time). He was the favorite to win the 1900 Olympic Games in the 100 meters, but did not finish in the final due to a pulled muscle. His greatest accomplishment was winning four consecutive AAA titles in England from 1900 through 1903. He also won the IC4A 100-yard title each year from 1901 through 1903 while competing for Georgetown University. Duffey ran into controversy with AAU President James Sullivan over his amateur status and Duffey’s AAU records and IC4A titles were erased. The British AAA, notoriously more strict about amateurism than the AAU, chose not to delete Duffey’s name from their list of champions. Following his competitive career, Duffey spent much of the rest of his life as a sports writer with the Boston Post.
Born: July 29, 1878; Died: May 16, 1954
Pat McDonald is recognized as the oldest Olympic champion in history, winning the 56-pound weight throw at the 1920 Games at the age of 42. However, his career was far from over as he won the last of his incredible 16 AAU titles in the weight throw in 1933 at the age of 55. McDonald also won the 1912 Olympic gold medal in the shot put and a silver medal in the men’s two-handed shot put. The latter event, which featured recording the total distance a person threw the shot put with each arm, was only contested in 1912. Born in Ireland, McDonald moved to New York City where he competed for the Irish-American A.C. and the New York A.C. and worked for the New York Police Department, spending much of his time patrolling Times Square.
Fred and Howard Schmertz
Fred – Born: November 10, 1888; Died: March 25, 1976
Howard – Born: June 9, 1925
There has never been a running of the iconic Millrose Games, which first started in 1908 and will be held for the 106th time in 2013, that either Fred or Howard Schmertz has not been involved with on some level. Fred was one of the founding members of the meet before taking over as meet director in 1934, serving through 1974. At that point, his son, Howard, a New York City lawyer, took over the position until 2003, when he was appointed meet director emeritus. During their run, the Millrose Games have come to be the most enduring indoor international track meet in the world. Both Howard and Fred are also members of the Millrose Games Hall of Fame and Howard a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.