Posts Tagged ‘world’

The 1971 US-USSR-World All-Stars Track Meet at University of California, Berkeley: John Akii-Bua, Steve Prefontaine, Pat Matzdorf, Judith Ayaa, and Other Athletes

March 10, 2015

The US-USSR-World All-Stars Track and Field Meet took place on Saturday, July 3rd 1971, in Berkeley at the Edwards Stadium of University of California.

Very recently, on May 30th 1971, John Akii-Bua had commendably reduced the 400 meters-hurdles African record to 49.7 seconds in Kampala, and thereby gained a reasonably significant level of attention. But there was some skepticism about the timing and the track conditions, given that the event was contested on a somewhat unknown and unrecognized African track. Nevertheless, in Berkeley, 21 year-old policeman Akii was considered a major contender for the gold medal. The other two favorites were Wes Williams who was regarded as USA’s top contenders, and Russia’s Vyacheslav Skomorokhov. Williams had at the recent national AAU championships finished second in the 440 yards-hurdles  (which is four yards longer than the metric lap) in an impressive 49.3; while  Skomorokhov who finished fifth in the foregone 1968 Olympics had a 49.1 personal best in the intermediate hurdles.

Eventually, Akii-Bua of Uganda, representing  the World, won (50.1), second was University of Washington’s Jim Seymour (USA) in 50.5, Roger Johnson (World) was third (50.9), Vyacheslav Skomorokhov (USSR) was fourth (50.9), fifth was Wes Williams (51.0) of USA, followed by Yuriy Zorin (USSR) in 53.3.

Akii-Bua’s remarks are mentioned (AP 1971: 19).

“I have been practicing hurdles with both…right…and left leg. I think those who hurdle with only one leg aren’t versatile enough…. I don’t have any set plan to run so many steps in between the hurdles. I just go over them when I get there.”

In the men’s 4x400m relay the USA team (Edesel Garrison, Frederick Newhouse, Tommie Turner, Darwin Bond) triumphed (3:02.9); the World’s team (Alfred Daley, John Akii-Bua, Laighton Priestley, Garth Case) was second (3:08.4); while the USSR team (Boris Savchuk, Yuriy Zorin, Dimitriy Stuklaov, Semyon Kocher) was last.

Judith Ayaa of Uganda, representing the World, participated in the women’s 4x400m relay. This time, the USSR team won (3:36.0). The Soviet runners were Lyudmila Findgenova, Lyudmila Aksenova, Natalya Chistyakova, and Nadyezhda Kolesnikova.  Second an in 3:38.1 was the USA team (Esther Stroy, Gwen Norman, Cheryl Toussaint, and Jarvis Scott). Finishing third in 3:44.1 was the World all-Stars team of Ayaa, Penny Werther, Allison Ross-Edwards, and Yvonne Sanders.

Major highlights at the international track meet included the setting of a new world record in the high jump (7 feet, 6.25 inches) by University of Wisconsin’s Pat Matzdorf (USA); and a new national record in the 5000m (13:30.4) by USA’s Steve Prefontaine (University of Oregon).

Overall in points, the USA won, USSR was second, and the World All-Stars team was third.

Works Cited

AP (July 14, 1971) “For America-Russian Track Duel: U.S. Runners Weren’t Ready,” in “Odessa American.”

Jonathan Musere


“Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives” by Martin N. Marger–Book Review

May 11, 2011

This book is mostly geared to the college sociology student and the instructor, and starts with chapters on sociological theories on race and ethnicity. Marger thereafter goes on to treat major factors and histories of the major racial groups in the United states (White Ethnic Americans, native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans and Jewish Americans).

Marger comes across as a dedicated and enthusiastic scholar, he balances the prejudices, misconceptions, projections of the races with their histories in the United States. Whites have differential histories, as Irish, Germans, Russians, British, etc. He breaks down their entrance into the United states, the prejudices they have faced, their incomes and power relative to other whites and to other races, how they view themselves. Marger is strong on portraying that the United States has largely been dominated by WASP’s (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) though the dynamic has largely changed over the past few decades with the overwhelming influxes of immigrants and access to power.

It is amazing how Marger refers to countless hundreds of sources! The bibliography is very extensive. In the third part of the book, Marger examines race, ethnicity, socio-historically by examining the significant examples of South Africa (apartheid and majority rule, etc.), then Brazil, then Canada (notably the Quebec-French issue). The very last chapter (16) gets into salient examples of conflict and change–the notable Rwandan genocide, resurgencies of nationalism, breaking up of Yugoslavia, the Iraq conflict, and the issue of Northern Ireland. The magnitude of information packed in this 600-page book is unimaginable. The world is presented as one of stereotypes, of discrimination, of assimilation; race and ethnic relationships are fluid and change everyday.

How Arab-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, etc., are portrayed and treated is all dealt with in this book. Marger walks you through easily readable details of the socio-histories, establishments, encounters, challenges, and privileges of the social groups in the United States and other notable regions of the world. This book is bound to be an enduring one, and should be upheld not only by the academic student and instructor, but by anyone who wants to walk through comprehensive theories and sociohistories of peoples all over the world from the past to the present.

The reader attains a commendable grasp of what is happening in the world right now, as related to what had happened in the past! Once you start reading this book, your eyes will become opened to aspects you had never thought about, and that you had only heard of, naively. This is an exciting volume on global perspectives and reality, one that is hard to put down after you start reading it. This is bound to be an enduring text, and Marger likely revises it every couple of years so as for it to be in tune with what is happening today…though he does not deprive us of what happened in the past! The book is worth every penny!

Jonathan Musere