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He knows how to throw his weight around
Pat Putnam
March 09, 1970
Burly George Frenn, with an assist from his psychotherapist, wins a national title
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March 09, 1970

He Knows How To Throw His Weight Around

Burly George Frenn, with an assist from his psychotherapist, wins a national title

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Now that he had won the 35-pound title after 11 years of trying, Frenn set his sights on another goal: to get President Nixon to give a little less attention to football, a little more to track and field. Frenn was the spokesman when U.S. athletes staged a minor revolt in Europe last year. He sent a $91 cable to the President. Nothing happened. He began writing letters to the White House. So far he has got back three replies from a minor official who said nothing, offered less.

"I want everybody to look at the meet program," said Frenn, with anger. "You'll find a letter there from the governor. And you'll find a letter from the mayor. But you won't find a letter from the President. He just doesn't care about track. It's ridiculous. It just shows the tremendous football monopoly in the White House. Granted this is an oddball event, but it's a national championship, isn't it? At least the President could show he is interested in something other than going to Arkansas to pick a national football champion, couldn't he? And you've got to admit, that was really ridiculous. The AAU and the State Department are all the same. They are glad to have you compete for the country, but everything is supposed to work like magic. You're supposed to appear, compete and disappear. We work like dogs in training and they won't do one thing to help us. No financial support, no national training base, nothing. And if they don't help, and it's probably way too late already, we are going to get wiped out in the 1972 Olympics."

That off his great chest, Frenn went back to his hotel. A man was waiting for him. Frenn competes for the Pacific Coast Track Club. The man was from another athletic club. "George," said the man, "if you drop out of your club and compete unattached for four months, we'll pay all your expenses. And it will be first class all the way. After four months, you join our club and we'll pay you $200 for every meet. Now how's that?"

"For one thing, it's unethical," said Frenn. "Now, I know a lot of the top athletes are getting $500 a meet and I'm sore as hell about it. I've complained about it. I figure if one guy gets $500, everybody should get $500. Or no one should get anything. And if you're going to give me $200, then give every athlete $200. But you won't. Besides, the people in the Pacific Coast Club have stuck by me through thick and thin. And I won't turn my back on them. So, thank you, but no."

George Frenn knows how and when to throw his weight around.

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