Another sport that had different athletes in both the 2012 and original Goodwin Champions sets was track and field. Both sets had a sprinter and an athlete from the “field” part of track and field. Since the Olympics just ended recently, this seemed like a good post to do again this year.
The original Goodwin set had a high jumper by the name of William Byrd Page, a competitor for the University of Pennsylvania. Page was the best high jumper in the world for a time – in his senior season he set the world record, becoming the first athlete to clear 6′ 4″. This was done at a time when they didn’t have the pads to create the “soft landing”, and the modern jumping techniques like the Fosbury Flop had not yet been established.
The field athlete in the 2012 set got a silver medal in this year’s games. It’s actually pretty amazing – Trey Hardee was the best in the world a year ago, but Ashton Eaton passed him up on the way to the decathlon world record in the US Trials in Oregon, then to Olympic Gold in London. Hardee got second in both meets. It’s the first time in a long time that the United States claimed the Gold and Silver medals in the decathlon since 1956.
Lon Myers was featured in the 1888 set. Myers was known as possibly the best sprinter / middle-distance runner from 19th century track and field. At various times, he held world records in the 100, the 440 and 880 yard dashes. This is an incredible width of talent that would be unthinkable today. In the 1880 American Championships, he won all four races from 100 to 880 yards, an incredible display of versatility and durability. He was the first man to run under 50 seconds in the 440.
Jeremy Wariner is an appropriate name here – he was the dominant force in the 400-meter dash for nearly 5 years. He won gold in Athens, then got silver to fellow American LaShawn Merritt in Beijing in 2008. He tore a hamstring this year, and didn’t compete in the Olympics. Wariner is the 3rd-fastest 400-meter runner in history – behind Butch Reynolds and World Record holder Michael Johnson.