Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Miruts Ifter Fan Club at Cow Palace

Image may contain: 1 person
Click on the photo to start tagging.Done Tagging
Drag the corners of the box above to crop your new profile photo.
Saving your new profile picture
Type any name to tag:
Way, way back when, I became captivated by a funny little man from Ethiopia named Miruts Yifter, one of the top distance runners of his time. I saw him race live at Montreal in the 1979 World Cup, when he defeated American Craig Virgin to win the 10,000 meters.

A year later he established his place in history when he won the 5,000 and 10,000 at the forgotten Moscow Olympics.

With his relativel...y low profile, I felt he needed a fan club, so if created one, recruited members (including Evelyn Ashford, 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the 100), made T-shirts, put out a newsletter and held chapter meetings at an Ethiopian restaurant in Oakland called the Blue Nile. A good time was had by all.

So it was with sadness that I read of Yifter ' s death today in Toronto, allegedly at the age of 72. His age was always the subject of conjecture and he might well have been in his 40's when he won at Moscow. Hell, he might have been 72 when he won at Moscow.

Yifter relocated to Canada more than 20 years ago and lived in a community of Ethiopian expats. His death was due to a collapsed lung and or respiratory issues.

Here's a small montage of memories -- official fan club stationary, a picture of Yifter beating Virgin from 1979 in the Montreal Star and a photo of some MYFC members at the old Examiner Games at the Cow Palace, circa 1980 or '81. Left to right: Dave Gleason, Dave Johnson, John Crumpacker, Dave Dayton, Keith Conning, Jon Hendershott.

Rest in peace, Miruts.
See More
Larry Stone Proud member of the MYFC. RIP, Miruts.
John Crumpacker Don't know how I omitted the chap on the far right in the photo, my 9ld pal Steve Kanigher, who was with me in Montreal to see Yifter the Shifter run. Sorry 'bout that.
Jon Ferguson Wow, official stationery! He does look about 52 in the picture.
Annette John-Hall Oh no! Not Marcus!
Sieg Lindstrom John, I remember that during roughly the first chat we ever had, probably circa 1988, you told me you assumed we'd see the

No comments: