Ok so I think at this point everyone knows the great story about how former Montgomery High running star Kim Conley made this year’s USA Olympic team.
Click here is somehow you missed that.

Not exactly a local hero but one many of us will be rooting for is Sara “Bei” Hall’s husband Ryan Hall, who made the Olympic team in the Marathon and has spent some time here visiting the Hall family and doing special events.
Kim and Sara were teammates at Montgomery and Sara made her attempt at making the US team in the Steeplechase.

Here is what I know so far about Redwood Empire people who competed in track at the Olympics. Conley is the first female I know of but if you know of any other men or women not listed here please let me know.


Our most decorated with three gold medals was also our first.
Ralph Rose was a star Healdsburg High athlete who was the Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year in both 1902-03 and 1903-04.
He was born in Healdsburg, California March 17, 1885.
As a junior he had the State best in the shot put in 1902 at 49-6. His senior year of 1903 he bettered that to 52-8 2/5, which lasted as the Empire record for 37 years until 1940 when Ben Steele, Santa Rosa threw 54-4½.
A giant of a man at 6′ 5½” and 250 pounds, Rose was the first shot putter, in the world, to break 50 feet. His world record of 51′ 0″, set in 1909, lasted for 16 years. In 1904, while at the University of Michigan, he won both the shot put and discus at the Big Ten championships. He subsequently competed for the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California and won seven National AAU titles in the shot, discus and javelin. A competitor in three Olympic Games, Rose compiled a medal total of three golds, two silver and one bronze. At the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, he won the shot, was second in the discus, third in the hammer throw and sixth in the 56-pound weight throw.

Shot put competition, Summer Olympics 1908 in London. Source: Illustration in the "Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report" published by the British Olympic Association in 1909


Four years later, in London, England, he repeated as the shot put champion. At the opening ceremony Rose, the US flag bearer, refused (supported by a majority of his mostly Irish-descended US teammates) to dip the flag to the royal box, as other countries did. Martin Sheridan supposedly explained Rose’s action with the terse statement, “This flag dips to no earthly king.” According to legend, this caused acrimony between the United States and Great Britain. Several decisions by British judges went against American athletes during the games, and U.S. spokesmen felt they stemmed from bias, caused in part by the flag incident. However, there is no reliable evidence that the British spectators objected to Rose’s action, nor that Sheridan ever uttered his famous quote, which did not appear in print until 1952.
At the 1908 Summer Olympics Rose competed in the tug of war but not successfully.
In the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, he won the two-handed shot put (throwing a total of 27.70m (90′ 10½”) with his right and left hands), took second in the regular shot, ninth in the hammer and 11th in the discus.

1912 photo


At the age of 28 he died in San Francisco of typhoid fever October 16, 1913.
More on Rose at bottom of the page.


Jerry Siebert of Willits High was the High School State Champion at 880 yards winning in 1:53.8 in 1956 .
His time held up as Empire record for 19 years until 1975 when Dan Aldridge of Petaluma High ran 1:49.7.
Siebert was sixth in 1964 Olympic 800m final in 1:47.0.

1964 Tokyo (October 16)
World Record: 1:44.3 Peter Snell (New Zealand) August 3, 1962
Olympic Record: 1:46.1 George Kerr (Jamaica) October 15, 1964; Wilson Kiprugut (Kenya) October 15, 1964
1, Peter Snell (New Zealand) 1:45.1 OR
2, William Crothers (Canada) 1:45.6
3, Wilson Kiprugut Chuma (Kenya) 1:45.9
4, George Kerr (Jamaica) 1:45.9
5, Thomas Farrell (United States) 1:46.6
6, Jerome Siebert (United States) 1:47.0
7, Dieter Bogatski (United States) 1:47.2
8, Jacques Pennewaert (Belgium) 1:50.5
In this video about Snell you can see Siebert & Bogatski in dark USA uniforms out in lane 2 in last 100m of the Olympic race at about 1:39 into the video.

He was ranked #1 in the 880 for the US in 1960, 61, 62 & 64. Also the 1962 and 1964 National 880 Champion.
In 1962 he ran 1:46.3 for 880 yards which is equal to about 1:45.93 for 800m.
In 1958 ran on a Cal Berkeley relay team that broke the world record for 4x880y.
In 1960 he again ran on a world-record setting 4x880y relay team.


Former SRJC head track coach Ron Whitney held the Olympic record for the 400m Intermediate Hurdles for a short time.
In his opening heat at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Whitney established a new Olympic Record of 49.06 seconds. He finish 6th in the final at 49.27, in a race won by David Hemery in a world record time of 48.12.

1968 Mexico City (October 15)
World Record: 48.8 (A) Geoffrey Vanderstock (United States) September 11, 1968
Olympic Record: 49.0 (A) Rodney Whitney (United States) October 13, 1968
1, David Hemery (Great Britain/England) 48.12 WR, OR
2, Gerhard Hennige (Federal Republic of Germany) 49.02
3, John Sherwood (Great Britain/England) 49.03
4, Geoffrey Vanderstock (United States) 49.07
5, Vyacheslav Skomorokhov (Soviet Union/Ukraine) 49.12
6, Rodney Whitney (United States) 49.27
7, Rainer Schubert (Federal Republic of Germany) 49.30
8, Roberto Frinolli (Italy) 50.13
Watch Race here Hemery in lane 6, Whitney lane 7.

Whitney on left in USA uniform.


Whitney was World ranked #1 1967 for 400IH and 7th in 1967 for overall World Track Athlete of Year.
US ranked 7th in ’71, 37th ’70, 5th ’69, 2nd ’68, 1st ’67, 2nd ’66, 2nd ’65, 10th ’64, 6th ‘63
US national Champion 1967 & 1968


Before Conley made the team former Maria Carrillo great Jake Arnold came within one place of making the 2008 team. Arnold placed 4th in trials in the Decathlon.
Jake Arnold facts


Let me know if I missed anyone.
Jim Crowhurst
jimcrowhurst@comcast.net


1904 St. Louis Summer Games:
Men’s Shot Put
1 Ralph Rose 20 United States USA Gold 14.81 48-7 =WR
2 Wesley Coe 25 United States USA Silver 14.40 47-3 OR
3 Lawrence Feuerbach United States USA Bronze 13.37 43-10½
4 Martin Sheridan 23 United States USA 12.39 40-8
5 Charles Chadwick 29 United States USA
6 Albert Johnson 25 United States USA
7 John Guiney United States USA
AC Nikolaos Georgantas 24 Greece GRE DQ
Rose opened the competition and threw 47′, while Coe opened with a mark described only as less than 46′. On the first throw of the finals, Rose put the shot 47’1″, to extend his lead slightly, only to see Coe take the lead with 47’3″. On his fifth attempt, Rose unleashed a new world’s record, throwing 48’7″, which held up to win.
Men’s Discus Throw
1 Martin Sheridan 23 United States USA Gold 39.28 128-10½ 38.97 127-10¼ OR
2 Ralph Rose 20 United States USA Silver 39.28 128-10½ 36.74 120-6¾ OR
3 Nikolaos Georgantas 24 Greece GRE Bronze 37.68 123-7½
4 John Flanagan 36 United States USA 36.14 118-7
5 John Biller 26 United States USA
6 Jim Mitchel 40 United States USA
Men’s Hammer Throw
1 John Flanagan 36 United States USA Gold 51.23 168-1 OR
2 John DeWitt 22 United States USA Silver 50.26 164-11
3 Ralph Rose 20 United States USA Bronze 45.73 150-0½
4 Charles Chadwick 29 United States USA 42.78 140-4½
5 Jim Mitchel 40 United States USA
6 Albert Johnson 25 United States USA
Throwing from a seven-foot circle, and using two turns, Flanagan opened with 168’1″, which eventually proved to be the winning mark. Rose and DeWitt also made their best efforts on their first throw, Rose using but a single turn.

Athletics at the 1908 London Summer Games:
Men’s Shot Put
1 Ralph Rose 24 United States USA Gold 14.21 46-7½
2 Denis Horgan 36 Great Britain GBR Silver 13.62 44-8¼
3 Johnny Garrels 22 United States USA Bronze 13.18 43-3
4 Wesley Coe 28 United States USA 13.07 42-10½
5 Ned Barrett 27 Great Britain GBR 12.89 42-3½
6 Bill Horr 27 United States USA 12.83 42-1
7 Jalmari Sauli 18 Finland FIN 12.58 41-3½
8 Lee Talbott 20 United States USA 11.63 38-2
At London in 1908, Rose and Horgan competed against each other for the only known time, but Rose had little difficulty in turning back the aging Horgan’s challenge. Surprisingly, Rose did not approach his Olympic record of 48-7¼ (14.81) from St. Louis in 1904, or his world record of 49-7¼ (15.12). In an exhibition throw after the competition had entered, he recorded 47-2. Interestingly, no toe board was used in shot putting.

Athletics at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games:
Men’s Shot Put, Both Hands
Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal TD RHD LHD
1 Ralph Rose 28 United States USA Gold 27.70 15.23 12.47 OR
2 Pat McDonald 33 United States USA Silver 27.53 15.08 12.45
3 Elmer Niklander 22 Finland FIN Bronze 27.14 14.71 12.43
4 Larry Whitney 21 United States USA 24.09 13.48 10.61
5 Einar Nilsson 20 Sweden SWE 23.37 12.52 10.85
6 Paavo Aho 20 Finland FIN 23.30 12.72 10.58
7 Mığır Mığıryan 29 Turkey TUR 19.78 10.85 8.93
This was the only time this event was held at the Olympic Games. It was rarely contested at major meets, but the world record was 28.00 metres, set by America’s Ralph Rose at Oakland just a month before the Olympics (2 June). Rose barely qualified for the final, placing third behind his teammate, Pat McDonald, who led the qualifying, and Finland’s Elmer Niklander. In the final, McDonald improved with both hands and led until Rose’s very last throw with his left hand. Until then, Rose was in third place, still trailing the other two finalists. But his last left-handed mark was an improvement of almost one metre, and vaulted him to the gold medal.
Men’s Shot Put
1 Pat McDonald 33 United States USA Gold 15.34 OR
2 Ralph Rose 28 United States USA Silver 15.25 OR
3 Larry Whitney 21 United States USA Bronze 13.93
4 Elmer Niklander 22 Finland FIN 13.65
5 George Philbrook 27 United States USA 13.13
6 Imre Mudin 24 Hungary HUN 12.81
7 Einar Nilsson 20 Sweden SWE 12.62
8 Paddy Quinn 26 Great Britain GBR 12.53
9 André Tison 27 France FRA 12.41
10 Paavo Aho 20 Finland FIN 12.40
11 Mikhail Dorizas 26 Greece GRE 12.05
12 Aurelio Lenzi 20 Italy ITA 11.57
13 Josef Schäffer 20 Austria AUT 11.44
14 Karl von Halt 20 Germany GER 11.16
15 František Janda-Suk 34 Bohemia BOH 11.15
16 Raoul Paoli 24 France FRA 11.11
17 Marcel Pelletier 26 Luxembourg LUX 11.04
18 Paul Willführ 26 Germany GER 10.90
19 Mığır Mığıryan 29 Turkey TUR 10.63
20 Ēriks Vanags 19 Russia RUS 10.44
21 Arvīds Ozols-Bernē 23 Russia RUS 10.33
22 Charles Lagarde 33 France FRA 9.41
Since 1904, the world’s top shot putter had been Ralph Rose. He had won the Olympic gold medal in both 1904 and 1908 and had set eight world records between 1904 and 1908. His last, and final world record, was 15.54 (51-0), set at a meeting of the Olympic Club in San Francisco on 21 August 1909. He was still dominant, winning the AAU title in 1909 and 1910, but that was his last major title. In 1911 Pat McDonald (né McDonnell) won the AAU Championship after having finished second to Rose in 1910. McDonald would win the AAU title again in 1912 and 1914. At the 1912 U.S. Olympic Trials, Rose won the western trial while McDonald won the eastern trial. The battle for world shot put supremacy would certainly come down to these two at Stockholm.

In the qualifying, Rose seemed ready to resume his dominance, setting an Olympic record of 14.98 on his first effort, and raising that to 15.25 with his third put to easily lead the qualifying. Pat McDonald was far behind at that point. He led Group Three of the qualifying, but posted a mark of almost ½-metre behind Rose – 14.78. In the final, McDonald took the lead with his first put, setting a new Olympic record of 15.34. Rose could not improve his qualifying mark and had to settle for the silver medal.