Hall of Fame teleconference excerpts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field
(Note: National Track & Field Hall of Fame Inductees Henry Marsh, Larry Myricks and Alberto Salazar appeared Wednesday on a USA Track & Field teleconference. On November 30, they will be inducted along with Carl Lewis as the Class of 2001, at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner and Xerox Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by The Document Company – Xerox. The dinner is part of USA Track & Field’s 2001 Annual Meeting in Mobile, Alabama. The induction will bring to 188 the number of inductees into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, which will reopen in its new location at the 168th Street Armory in New York City in 2003. Also on the teleconference were USATF President Bill Roe, Xerox Manager of Olympic Marketing Terry Dillman and USATF CEO Craig Masback. Lewis was unable to take part in the teleconference due to being on a movie shoot. Below are excerpts from Wednesday’s teleconference. An audio record of the call is posted on home page of the USATF Web site, www.usatf.org.)
BILL ROE: One of the greatest pleasures I've enjoyed during my first year as USATF president was to make the call to each of the athletes we'll be introducing to you today to tell them that they had been elected into our Hall of Fame, Class of 2001. We could actually refer to them as the Class of 1984, as they were on the Olympic Track & Field team together in Los Angeles. But that would be a misnomer, because their exploits went far beyond those 16 days of glory. It is my pleasure to introduce you to four athletes you already know - Carl Lewis, Henry Marsh, Larry Myricks, and Alberto Salazar. It will doubly be my honor to preside over their induction ceremonies at USA Track & Field's annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday, November 30th. Since this distinguished affair is underwritten by our national sponsor, Xerox, let me turn the call over to Xerox's best all-around track & field fan, Director of Olympic Marketing Terry Dillman, for a few comments.
TERRY DILLMAN: I want to congratulate Carl, Alberto, Henry and Larry. This is a great honor. I can’t wait to meet all of you in Mobile. I’ve metCarl and Alberto - Carl was one of Xerox’s 100 Golden Olympians back in 1996 in Atlanta, and it’s a great honor to be associated with him again. This is the fifth Hall of Fame Ceremony that we have sponsored and we’re truly honored to be among four great track and field athletes.
CRAIG MASBACK: Thanks to you, Terry. Your support of several of our programs here at USA Track & Field - most notably, this Hall of Fame project – is very much appreciated. I think it’s a great coincidence, and a very positive one, that all four of the inductees were members of the ’84 Olympic Team. It was a great era of great champions of which these four were the leading champions. It’s a very exciting class that will make for a great ceremony down in Mobile. I’d like to echo how excited I am that we will be reopening the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in New York in February of 2003. I’ve had a chance to visit the New York Armory and meet with the architects. It really is going to be a spectacular project, and one fitting and appropriate to house such great champions. My congratulations to all four people I know well and feel proud to call friends. I look forward to sharing in their special evening November 30 in Mobile.
Q: Please tell us about your thoughts on being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and perhaps give us an update on what you’ve been doing off the track the last several years.
HENRY MARSH: It’s indeed a great honor. I’m thrilled, obviously. First of all, I’m very appreciative of Xerox and Terry for all your support, because this wouldn’t happen without sponsors. I remember Carl in 1979, at the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, we were on a bus coming back from a workout, and someone whispered to me, “See this kid on the back of the bus? He’s going to be good some day. His name is Carl Lewis. He was a high schooler at the time. I’ve got fond memories of all the athletes. For me, the thing that means the most is as an athlete, is that you work so hard for so many years – personally, I was in the top 10 [in the United States] for 13 straight years. [Marsh was ranked top 10 in the world for 12 years, from 1977-1988.] That’s a long career where you really try to dedicate yourself to excellence. In my particular situation, even though I was #1 in the world 3 years [1981, ‘82 and ‘85), and I believe had more world ranking points than any other American distance runner in history, I never did get the Olympic gold medal. Partially because of the  boycott. To me, this means so much because it is a validation of my career.
I’ve been working ever since I retired from athletic competition and trying to take the principles I’ve learned from athletic competition and help people have Olympic success in their own minds, through books I’ve written and productivity seminars for Franklin Covey and a one-on-one coaching company.
ALBERTO SALAZAR: I feel very honored and privileged. Whatever I did, probably the greatest honor I have is just to be included with these other guys and to be inducted along with them. Their accomplishments far surpass mine, so even to be considered somewhat close to me, it’s a great honor for me. Not just what they accomplished, but the types of individuals they are. I think being a great athlete, you want to be remembered more for your personal characteristics and attributes more than what you accomplished on the track and on the roads. I’m really lucky and thankful to the people who selected me.
I’ve worked for Nike in sports marketing now for close to 10 years. I’ve worked in promotions for them. Now I’m really excited to be involved in a new project. Because of our love of distance running in Nike, I’m involved in a new developmental program here that Nike is sponsoring. We’re going to be picking over the next year 10 top young American runners in the 5- and 10,000-meter distances. They’ll relocate out to Portland, I’ll coach them, with Nike behind the project. We’ll try to develop them to the level we know Americans can be at, especially pointing towards the marathon. It’s exciting to be part of a grassroots effort to develop American distance running to an even more competitive level than its been the last few years. .
LARRY MYRICKS: I can echo a lot of what Alberto and Henry said. We were all out there for a really long time, and accomplished our goals and dreams. I accomplished a lot of the things I set out to do and had a lot of fun and had a very, very good career. But I think it’s a really awesome honor to be recognized by the governing body of your sport as some of the best to come through the sport. Not only in your performances, but as Alberto was saying, the kind of person you are. We represent more than just ourselves – we represent our sport, our country, our families and all those things. It’s an awesome honor to think about the athletes that we’re being inducted with. I’m kind of in awe, just being part of the group. It’s an awesome honor, and one I’m really appreciative of.
As far as what I’ve been doing since I left the sport, I’ve been involved mostly in sales jobs. I worked for a while with Monster.com. Right now, I’m an educational representative and a college counselor for the DeVry Institute of Technology. I primarily spend my time working with high schoolers, trying to get them into college. It’s something I really enjoy. Things are going well.
Q: Larry, reminisce about your duels with Carl in the long jump.
LARRY MYRICKS: Without question, the most memorable one would be the ’88 Olympic Trials in Indy. I think that was a time that we both took each other to the limit. I think it couldn’t have been in a better setting, given the weather conditions. It was very dramatic. On that day, we pulled out the most either of us had in us. It was back and forth, a lot of fun. When we started out it was overcast and cloudy. By the time we were done, we had a little rain, a little thunder, a little lightning. It was a dramatic thing. It seemed you couldn’t have orchestrated it any better. It was like someone was sitting up there saying, ‘we’re going to make this a pretty phenomenal thing. We’ll give them all the effects.’ That was the one I enjoyed the most, the one that challenged me the most, and the one where I responded best. [Note: Lewis won the competition with a jump of 8.76m/28 feet, 9 inches, with Myricks second at 8.74m/28-8.75. Up until that time, it was considered the finest long jump competition ever.]
Q. What is the one race or competition you think defines your career and summarizes what you have accomplished?
ALBERTO SALAZAR: There would be a couple of races. One would be not a race that I won – I took 10th. It would be the Falmouth Road Race in ’78 or ’79. I had made a vow that summer after finishing a disappointing sixth place at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore that I would never let anybody break away from me again. I ended up running the Falmouth Road Race. I stuck on Bill Rogers for 6 to 7 miles, then ended up collapsing with heat problems. I was given last rights, packed in ice. After that, I said, “That’s how hard you can push yourself, if you’re tough enough.” That fall, I broke through tremendously, and it was completely from that race. I won the NCAA Championship. That was a turning point for me in my career. It just made me mentally tougher. It made me realize I could push myself harder than others could. Next after that would be my world record at the time in New York – 2:08:13. That had been a goal for a long time.
LARRY MYRICKS: I think the one performance that defined my career in a lot of ways was the World Cup in ’79 in Montreal. That for me was not necessarily a vindication, but to be able to go back to the stadium where a few years before [at the 1976 Olympics] where I had a total low, and to come back and be able to put what was then the second longest jump in history and win the competition on the last jump. Personally, to show me that it was still there and I could do the things I wanted to do, and to answer people’s questions about what my capabilities really were. I think the fact that I was out there for such a long time and competed at such a high level, I’d rather look at that as a defining thing as who I was as an athlete, with my dedication to my craft.
HENRY MARSH: There are so many memories. Just a couple that really meant a lot to me: One was 1980 at the Olympic Trials when we boycotted. At the time, I was on the executive committee of the US Olympic Committee and was actually sent out to the White House to be indoctrinated on why we had to boycott. I was in law school at the time at the University of Oregon. At that Olympic Trials, where we didn’t go anywhere, I set an American record and was voted the top male performer. That meant a tremendous amount to me in the wake of the boycott. Another one that meant a lot to me was in 1979 at the Spartakiad in Russia. I won the Spartakiad, it was my preparation for the ’80 Olympics. To have the national anthem played in Lenin Stadium in the midst of the Cold War was just an incredible experience.
I think my defining season would be 1976. In January, I was a walk-on at my track team at BYU. My fastest steeplechase time was 9:25. During that season I dropped from 9:25 to the second-fastest American in history in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. [Marsh was 10th in 8:23.99.] I ran 8:23.9 and missed the American record by less than a second. I’d say those seven months were the defining part of my career.