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Jim Ryun: America’s Greatest Miler

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60 Minutes
Available on VHS

This one hour video is set with Jim Ryun and his long time coach Bob Timmons, being interviewed from the infield of the 1996 Kansas Relay. They review nearly 10 years of Ryun's running career from a sophomore in high school, through college at the University of Kansas, and beyond. You will learn that Ryun's loss of hearing often made it difficult to hear the splits given during the races. He discusses how he became sick during the Tokyo Olympiad where he first realized the significance of the Olympic games. Stories are shared of grinding spikes down to move from cinder to clay surfaces, cutting his foot on a pop bottle, as well as how this young athlete coped with the pressure from the media. Ryun shares his experience of winning the Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Sullivan Award, and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Ryun shares being elected to Congress in 1996 as well as how faith played a strong role in his life experiences.

Narrator John Holt sets the stage well as other interviews are introduced between the actual race footage and many other guests. Coach J.D. Edmiston took over from Timmons during Ryun's senior year in high school and he shares the pressures present with such high demands from the press. KU teammate Gene McLain reports how the mindset of athletes changed after Ryun broke four minutes in high school. Rich Clarkson had special access in covering the races, both as a photojournalist and as a confidant. Marty Liquori, the second high school athlete to break the barrier, describes the highly anticipated races between them. Jim Grelle and Peter Snell also share their impressions from the big meets. Ann Ryun shares how they met and later joined in marriage in 1969. After watching this video you will feel that you truly relived this unique decade of middle distance running and spectacular achievement.

20 races are featured from March of 1963 to the 1972 Olympic Games. Some of the highlights include:
  • June 1964, Compton Relays in Los Angeles, California. As a Junior in high school Ryun became the first athlete to run under four minutes in the mile, clocking 3:59. He ran a total of five mile races under four minutes while in high school.

  • May 1965, Kansas State Championships, Wichita, Kansas. Ran 3:58.3 to become the only athlete to run under four minutes in the mile in an all high school competition. View the race above (Note: no sound).

  • June 1965, AAU National Championships, San Diego, California. Beat world record holder Peter Snell and clocked a personal best 3:55.3. This high school record stood until Alan Webb improved the mark in May 2001.

  • June 1966, Terra Toute, Indiana. Set a world record at 880 yards: 1:44.9. Coach Timmons is not sure what his best event may be.

  • July 1966, Berkley, California. One mile world record of 3:51.3, lowering the mark by 2.3 seconds that was held by Michel Jazy.

  • June 1967, Bakersfield, California. Jim McKay announces as the one mile mark is lowered to 3:50.9. Ryun states that this was "one of the easiest races I've ever ran."

  • July 1967, Los Angeles, California. With his last lap in 53.3 Ryun sets a world record in the 1500 meters of 3:33.1 while defeating Kip Keino.

  • September 1968, Mexico City Olympic Games. Ryun takes the silver medal in 3:37.8 behind Kip Keino from Kenya.

  • June 1972, Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. After placing fourth in the 800 meters, Ryun wins the 1500 meter event to qualify for his third Olympic experience.

  • September 1972, Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. Ryun falls during a heat, and although he finishes the race he does not advance to the next round of competition.
This video has been sold by several outlets in the past, and the supplies generally have sold out rather quickly. Consider yourself lucky if you can find this tape used at Amazon.com or from one of the auction sites (such as eBay) if you want to add this video to your personal collection. Ryun offers summer running camps and at his website, Ryun Running.com, you can learn more about this amazing athlete as well as watch three of the races mentioned above in Quicktime video format.

· Biographical   · Documentary   · 1999   · Topics   · Middle Distance   · Trailers & Clips