As I have often said, I am a huge fan of the Olympic films produced by Bud Greenspan called Olympiad….and this one seen herewith called “The Rare Ones” provides the Olympics sports fan with an indepth look at the Olympic history set by four very outstanding and extraordinary Olympic athletes including two track sprinters….Poland’s Irena Szewinska and USA’s Harrison Dillard….plus two springboard and platform divers ….Italy’s Klaus Dibiasi and USA’s Pat McCormick….all of whom were truely “The Rare Ones” in Olympic history.
Between 1964 and 1980, Irena Szewinska of Poland participated in five Olympic Games…..while winning seven medals with three of them gold….as she also broke six world records and is the only athlete (male or female) to have held a world record in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 400 meter events. She also won 10 medals in European Championships….and between 1965 and 1979 she gathered 26 national titles and set 38 records in the 100–400 meter sprint and long jump.
At her first Olympics in Tokyo in 1964, she took a Silver medal in the Long Jump and 200 meters….and ran the second leg of the Gold medal winning 4 X 100 meter relay team…. while at her second Olympics in Mexico (1968)….she won a bronze in the 100 meters, but failed to qualify for the Long Jump final….but she recovered from that disappointment, to win the Gold medal in the 200 meters in a new World Record time….however, in the sprint relay the Polish team dropped the baton on the final exchange in the semi-final and finished last….then Szewinska would compete in the 3 events….long jump, 100 meters and 200 meters at the Munich Olympics in 1972….as she would come away with a bronze medal in the 200 meters. She would win her final Olympic medal in Montreal in 1976 by winning the gold in the 400 meters in a world record time of 49.29.
She was ranked number 1 in the world 7 times in the 200 meters….4 times in the 400 meters….and 2 times in the 100 meters….as well as 3 times in the long jump. Over-all, she was ranked 15 years in the top ten at 200m…..also 4 times number 2 and twice at number 3….which just leaves 2 years outside the top 3….and from 1964 to 1977, she was ranked in the top 3 in the world in 200m runners….a remarkable achievement by any standard…..all the while she was ranked 12 times in the 100m….8 times in the long jump ….and 6 times in the 400m….which she took up in 1974.
In 1998, Szewińska became d a member of the International Olympic Committee. As of 2004, she is the head of the Polish Federation of Athletics.
Klaus Dibiasi won a silver medal in platform diving at the 1964 Summer Olympics….and went on to win gold in the same event at the next three Games in 1968, 1972, and 1976. Dibiasi is the only Olympic diver to have won three successive gold medals….while being the only diver to have won medals at four Summer Olympics….plus a silver in the 1968 Olympics in springboard gave him a record total of five Olympic medals in diving. He also excelled at the first two FINA World Aquatic Championships in 1973 and 1975 by winning four medals….while in the Italian Nationals, Dibiasi won 11 platform and 7 springboard titles.
Dibiasi was born in Solbad Hall, Austria, from Italian parents….who returned to Italy when he was a child….as he became the first Italian to become an Olympic champion in a diving event…..who coached by his father, Carlo, a former Italian champion (1933–1936) and a competitor at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin….who finished 10th on the platform. Klaus Dibiasi also later coached the Italian diving team.
Pat McCormick is a retired female diver from the United States….who won a total number of four gold medals by winning both diving events at two consecutive Summer Olympics in 1952 and 1956. As a child in the 1930’s and 1940’s, she was notable for executing dives that were not allowed in competition for female divers that were reputed to scare most men….as she was known to practice while diving off the Los Alamitos Bridge in Long Beach, California Harbor.
After the Olympics, McCormick did diving tours and was a model for Catalina swimsuits ….as she served on the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics organizing committee and began a program called “Pat’s Champs”….which was a foundation to help motivate kids to dream big and to set practical ways to succeed
Harrison “Bones” Dillard is an American former track and field athlete….and the only male so far to win Olympic titles in both sprinting and hurdling events. At the trials for the 1948 Summer Olympics, however, Dillard failed to qualify for the 110m hurdles event…. while qualifying as third for the 100m…which at that time was not his specialty….and at the Games was ab;e tp reach the finals…..which ultimately seemed to end in a dead heat between Harrison Dillard and American teammate, Barney Ewell….as this 1st ever Olympic photo finish photo showed Dillard had won…after equalling the World record as well….then as a member of the 4 × 100m relay team….Harrison Dillard he won another gold medal at the London Games. Four years later, still a strong hurdler, Bones Dillard did qualify for the 110m hurdles event….and won the event in Helsinki. Another 4 × 100m relay victory yielded Dillard’s fourth Olympic title.
After watching this incredible Olympiad film by Bud Greenspan….I think that you will agree with Greenspan that these four Olympic athletes….Irena Szewinska, Klaus Dibiasi, Pat McCormick and Harrison Dillard….were truly “The Rare Ones”.