Sydney Maree Triumphant
Thirty years ago today in Cologne, West Germany, Villanova alum Sydney Maree became the last American to set a distance World Record on the track when he ran 1500m in 3:31.24. Of course, this record wouldn't last very long as it was broken by Great Britain's Steve Ovett only a week later. Two years later in 1985, in a race that was also in Cologne, Maree became the third man in history to break 3:30 in the 1500 when he ran 3:29.77, setting an American record that wouldn't be broken until 2005, when Bernard Lagat ran the current record of 3:29.40. At the time his record was broken, it was the longest standing American record at any IAAF championship distance.
If you want to read more about Sydney's career, read this excellent piece about him on Villanova Running. Sydney was recently released after serving five years in prison for fraud in his native South Africa under somewhat shady circumstances. His son Daniel is making a documentary about his life in South Africa, his running career, his legal troubles, and how South Africa is still imperfect, even now that it has ascended from Apartheid.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to find video of this event.