SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
June 02, 1980
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June 02, 1980


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If you want to break world records, you need to work hard and persevere. This, in essence, was the message of the theme song, entitled Dedication, of a recently taped British television show loosely based on the Guinness Book of World Records. Yet the seemingly inspirational song may have helped prevent an athlete from setting a world mark.

The would-be record-breaker, American powerlifter Jan Todd, went to London to appear on The Record Breakers, which will be aired in August. The taping was scheduled to take 2� hours, during which Todd intended to break unofficially Ann Turbyne's world record for total weight—squat, bench-press and deadlift combined—of 1,179 pounds.

Todd's three lifts were to be spaced around and between attempts at records in plate spinning, rope jumping and other diversions. She got off well, lifting 529 pounds in the squat and, after a 25-minute rest, bench-pressing 204. Then she began psyching herself up for the deadlift, in which she hoped to heft 474 pounds—for a record total of 1,207. But the taping fell behind schedule, the 2� hours elapsed, and as Todd watched helplessly from the wings, it was all over—big finale, the theme song and so long, audience. A devastated Todd rejected suggestions that she complete her record attempt in the now-empty studio. "She was too disheartened," her husband, Terry, said. "It would be like completing three laps at a world-record mile pace only to have the timers suddenly get off their stand and the crowd go home."

BBC officials expressed regret over the scheduling snafu but claimed that technicians refused to work beyond the time allotted for the taping. They said that because the show had not been edited, they didn't know whether Todd's appearance would be excised altogether. As for the song, it apparently never occurred to anybody that dispensing with it might have freed enough time for Todd to complete her lifts. Says Todd, "For them not to afford an athlete in the process of setting a world record 60 seconds out of a 2�-hour show to do what they were singing about was unforgivable."


If there had been a baseball strike, the 1980 season might have ended for good last week. Accordingly, SI's Jim Kaplan had planned to give out "end-of-season" awards. Rather than deprive honorees of their moment in the sun because of the labor settlement (page 48), it seems only fair to go ahead and announce some of Kaplan's choices. So imagine, if you will, that the season did end after last Thursday's games and that...

... Minnesota's Ken Landreaux (.366), who came to the Twins in the Rod Carew deal, won the American League batting title. The Cardinals' Ken Reitz, a .263 lifetime hitter known for his fast starts, was going into his usual late-season swoon but held on to win the National League title at .367. The Dodgers had the most wins in the majors (24) but fewer than any pennant winner in history. Other individual leaders were Landreaux and Garry Templeton in hits (53 each), Steve Garvey in RBIs (36) and Robin Yount and Bump Wills in runs (tied at 33). Four pitchers—the Dodgers' Jerry Reuss (5-0) and Boston's Chuck Rainey, the Yankees' Ron Guidry and L.A.'s Don Sutton (all 4-0)—made history by going all season without losing. Oakland's Mike Norris had the lowest earned run average (0.52) ever, and Houston's Craig Reynolds lowered the National League season record for fewest errors by a shortstop from nine to two....

But the honors wouldn't have been confined to players. Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver would have earned kudos for having survived an entire season without being ejected. And the Executive of the Year award would have gone to Oakland owner Charles O. Finley for keeping the A's in Oakland and hiring Billy Martin. Of course, notes Kaplan, Finley "might just as easily win the same award in another season for moving the club and firing Martin."

Congratulations to all the honorees for a job well, if only partially, done.

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