Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service that provides true geek stories about our sport. You can check out the service for FREE with a free one-month trial subscription! (email: WaltMurphy44@gmail.com ) for the entire daily service. We will post a few historic moments each day, beginning February 1, 2024.

This Day in Track & Field–February 28

by Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (WaltMurphy44@gmail.com), used with permission


1925–Paavo Nurmi won the 2-mile title in 9:09.6 at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Louisville.

1953—“Marvelous” Mal Whitfield was chasing five world indoor records at the Knights of Columbus meet at Madison Square Garden but had to settle for “only” two. After falling short in the 880y/800 (1:50.9/1:50.1), the 2-time Olympic gold medalist in the 800 meters came back 70-minutes later to get his two new marks in the 600y, winning in 1:09.5 after passing through 500-meters in 1:02.9. His final record attempt came in the mile relay, but his Grand Street Boys team fell short with their winning time of 3:18.2.

(For Subscribers):https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1953/03/01/93397538.html?pageNumber=186

Mal Whitfield won gold at 800m and 4x400m in London in 1948. In WW2, he was a tail gunner for the Tuskegee Airmen, as shown in a photo by Wikipedia Commons.

1970—Caroline Walker, a 16-year-old junior at Grant H.S. in Portland, set a World Record of 3:02.53 at the Trail’s End Marathon in Seaside, Oregon.

From her Wikipedia Bio: “In the early 1970s, Walker attended the University of Oregon where she received instruction from the legendary Steve Prefontaine. After Prefontaine’s death, she lived in his house with his girlfriend and sister”.  “(He) gave me the compliment of saying that I was the person most like him of anybody he’d ever met”.


WR Progressionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marathon_world_record_progressionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_Walker


1986–Sergey Bubka broke his own week-old World Indoor Record in the Pole Vault when he cleared 19-6  ¼ (5.95) at the U.S. Indoor Championships in New York. Lynn Jennings (9:28.15) held off Cindy Bremser (9:28.29) in the 2-mile as both were under Mary Slaney’s previous American Record of 9:31.7. Johnny Gray just missed his 5-day old World Record in the 1000y (2:04.39), running 2:04.52 to beat John Marshall (2:04.87).


1991Algeria’s Noureddine Morceli celebrated his 21st birthday by  running 3:34.16 for 1500-meters in Seville, Spain, to break Peter Elliott’s year-old World Record of 3:34.20, which was set on the same track in 1990.

1992This was a serendipitous moment that had a far-reaching impact on the sport. It was the weekend of the U.S. Indoor Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York. I was walking down a hallway of the hotel that served as the meet headquarters when I was stopped by John Chaplin, the former Washington State coach and long-time USATF official. He asked me to step inside a conference room where a new timing system called FinishLynx (http://finishlynx.com/) was on display. Also in the room was the system’s inventor, Doug DeAngelis, and I was asked to simulate a runner crossing a finish line. I gladly obliged and then watched in amazement as the high-quality photo appeared.

As I left the room, I ran into Tom Jennings, the one-time manager of the Pacific Coast Club, and told him, “You have to see this!”. Jennings was given a demonstration, saw the future, and  “I bought the system that day and worked out a sponsor contract over the next year”. And that was the beginning of Flash Results, the premier timing company in the U.S.! http://flashresults.com/

 As for the meet, Mozambique’s Maria Mutola, a 19-year old student at Springfield(OR) H.S. won the Women’s 800 over Meredith Rainey (2:01.86) and Joetta Clark (2:02.03). Her winning time of  2:01.49 was faster than Mary Decker-Slaney’s U.S. High School Record of 2:01.8, but she didn’t get credit for a new record since she wasn’t competing for her school.

Michelle Finn won the Women’s 60 in 7.07 to equal the American Record that was held by Gwen Torrence, who finished 2nd here in 7.08. It was Finn’s 3rd straight sprint title (55m-1990). 4th was  34-year old Evelyn Ashford (7.25), a 6-time U.S. Indoor champion.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee won the Women’s Long Jump (22-5  ¼ [6.84])) and the 60-Meter Hurdles (8.07), and Carl Lewis won the Men’s Long Jump with a leap of 27-4  ¾ (8.35)

NY Times

1998–Tisha Waller cleared 6-7 (2.01) at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Atlanta to set an  American Indoor Record in the Women’s High Jump. That mark was broken when Chaunté Lowe cleared 6-7  ½ (2.02m) at the 2012 edition of the U.S. Championships in Albuquerque.

Among the other winners:


400–Jearl Miles-Clark (51.11/defender, also won in 1999)  Video

800–Joetta Clark (2:02.40/7th title)

Mile—Suzy Favor Hamilton (4:34.16)

Pole Vault—Stacy Dragila (14-1  ¼ [4.30]/3rd of her 8 titles)

Shot Put—Connie Price-Smith (60-3  ¾ [18.38]/5th of her 8 titles)


800—Mark Everett (1:47.84/defender)

Mile—Paul McMullen (3:55.84)  Video

Shot Put—John Godina (69-10  ¾ [21.30]/3rd in a row)

Weight Throw—Lance Deal (79-5  ¼ [24.21]/10th of his 12 titles)


Past Championshttps://www.flipsnack.com/USATF/usatf-indoor-champions/full-view.html