As we turn the corner onto the homestretch from last week, two other noteworthy changes also have taken place in statewide track and field events recently. The first is a change in the javelin event. For safety reasons, this device is no longer balanced at the handle.
It now has more weight forward of the handle, therefore it arcs much more than before, causing it to strike the ground at a more vertical angle. In the past, a javelin would sometimes land nearly horizontal, allowing it to sometimes skim for some distance before resting.
Mitch Lamb’s javelin toss of 172 feet 7 inches in 1974 was set with such a skimming device. Did that javelin carry better than the modern one?
A change also has taken place in the pole vault event sometime after David Holmquist established the mark to beat, a height of 12 feet 6 inches in 1996. Today, a certified individual has to be available whenever a pole vault area is in use; thus, without adequate funding, this event is currently canceled. David’s record then, much like the records set during the yardage era, is for now, comfortably secure.
The track and field events displayed in this series of articles certainly cover mankind’s four main physical skill areas. Some participants are gifted with blazing speed, some are gifted with the capacity for extreme strength, while others are gifted with tremendous endurance and yet others with exceptional athleticism. Of course, many participants are gifted with more than one of these attributes. In addition to these physical abilities, the two gifts of mental and emotional proficiency are essential for success. Therefore, with those last two gifts added to the mix of physical skills, an intangible now looms for each thinclad listed here — that of unyielding determination. Clearly all of these star athletes have passed that test, despite the often loneliness of this sport. Each of them should be heartily applauded.
With no more hurtles to jump, we’ve finally hit the tape on this series. What you will see in this column next week is currently a mystery. However, don’t be surprised if one day you see other articles covering track athletes.
May light for your feet guide you on the path of life until we meet again.