Special Moments in New Zealand Track and Field
Some highlights prepared by the late John Clark
Athletics on Christmas Day?
It may not be the done thing these days but on 25 December 1900 there was an athletic meeting in Edendale, a small town in Southland.
The Edendale Sports reported a 44’ 7” hop, step and jump by F Forde. This set a new Southland (provincial) record adding seven inches to the old record set many years earlier. The Southland centre, of course, did not come in to existence until 1952.
A Huge Profit
These days athletics struggles to gain public acceptance through the turnstiles but that was not always the case.
Even in relatively recent days, particularly when Peter Snell was in his prime, gates were very good, probably rivalling many one day cricket gates but how things have changed. Hopes of big crowds when many world class athletes are competing have been exactly that, hopes. The crowds simply do not materialise now.
Way back in February 1892, the National Championships attracted a very good crowd for the times and a correspondingly good financial result.
Takings for the two day event consisted of Pds283 for the gate and stand admission, Pds36 for programme sales and Pds30 for entry fees. From that expenses were deducted leaving a huge Pds150 profit, probably equivalent to an average year’s salary these days.
Fast Half Mile In Lyttelton
On 17 September 1871, Frank Hewitt (Britain), a professional runner, ran 880 yards in 1m 53 ½sec on a downhill road course in Lyttelton.
Auckland Olympic Games in 1972?
5 July 1954, two key members of the 1950 British Empire Games Organising Committee, Rex Moore and Alwyn Moon, began to float the idea of Auckland applying for the 1972 Olympic Games. It must be stated that at the time it was a realistic idea as the Olympic Games were still a relatively small and inexpensive event (at least compared to recent Games). Helsinki had hosted the 1952 Games and was a city similar in population to Auckland at the time. Who could have foreseen the enormous increase in size and cost of the Olympic Games by 1972.