Sprintic Magazine

Subscribe to the Sprintic Magazine Newsletter and receive track and field news, articles, training descriptions, photo and video sections updates. We have 1800+ subscribers already!


Smith's legacy secure with HOF induction

23 November 2007

By Robert Falkoff

Calvin Smith's accomplishments in the 1980s signify that he was a great sprinter. He was a two-time gold medalist in the 200 meters at the world championships in Helsinki and Rome. He broke the 100-meter record of Jim Hines in 1983, running a 9.93 to eclipse a mark that had stood for 15 years.

And yet, Smith's name never really flickered in the bright lights. Quiet and unassuming, Smith happened to come along at a time when the charismatic Carl Lewis was the rage of the track-and-field world. All the hype and attention shifted to Lewis while Smith sprinted merrily along beneath the radar screen.

How do you take center stage away from Lewis? In short, you don't. Smith never really sought the full glory package and never had it. Until now.

Smith recently learned that he was among the latest induction group for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame's class for 2007. Besides Smith, the inductees include former U.S. heptathlon champion Jane Frederick, decathlete Glenn Morris, shot-putter George Woods and former UCLA coach Elvin "Ducky" Drake.

The induction ceremony will be held Dec. 1 in Honolulu.

In Smith's case, it's a tribute to substance over style. Had he come along in a different era when Lewis wasn't at the forefront both in terms of performance and promotion, Smith might well have become a bonafide celebrity. But with Lewis in the spotlight, Smith just concentrated on enjoying the competition.

"I could have gotten more attention, but that was all based on what the media wanted to do," Smith told usatf.com after learning of his induction honor. "I was just out to do my thing and enjoy running and to perform and that's basically what I did. I didn't worry about all the hype, or whatever, because I just wanted to line up on the track and let things take care of themselves."

Smith was never into bragging about himself or downgrading his opponents. He let others do the talking and then used their comments to get ready for a big race.

"There were those who wanted to talk and I used some of that as motivation for me to go out and beat them because of the talk," Smith said. "Some people need that to try and psyche other people out or psyche themselves up. I just wanted to go out and run, and that's what I did."

Smith had a smooth running style that was easy on the eyes. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, he teamed with Sam Graddy, Ron Brown and Lewis to pick up a gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay. Smith also gained a bronze medal in the 100 meters at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

When he broke Hines' record in the 100 meters, Smith reached a goal that brought immense personal satisfaction.

"Many times you set out to do things that you know are hard and may not happen," Smith said. "So, for me to reach that goal, it was very exciting and one of those things I'll never forget."

Smith, 46, became a teacher-coach after his athletic career. He is currently the supervisor of a housing program for Gulf Coast Community Care and coaches high school athletes.

Substance over self-promoting style?

That's Smith. The induction into the Track & Field Hall of Fame cements his legacy as a sprinter for the ages.

Bookmark and share this story:





Complete Speed Training

The FIRST and ONLY All-Inclusive, Step by Step, Speed Development Program to Show You Exactly How to Make Your Athletes Faster and More a Athletic Than the Competition!

DVD #1: Pre Competition
DVD #2: Agility Training
DVD #3: Hardcore Conditioning
DVD #4: High Powered Training
DVD #5: Pure Speed Training

- Quick and easy methods for getting more done in less time so you can focus on the skills specific to your sport.

- Easy to understand and apply strategies for speed development.

- Clear progressions that can be used for beginner and advanced athletes at the same practice.

- Drills and exercises on video so you can see exactly how to perform and teach drills properly.

- Specific instructions detailing how, where and when to use each movement without having “to earn a degree in exercise science or biomechanics”

- Proven sample workouts and programs you can instantly bring to practice – the same day your program arrives

Order Now