This is Elliott Denman’s column 10 from Budapest on Marton Gyulai and his new position at World Athletics.
THE NOTRE DAME MAN
NOW GUIDING TRACK’S FUTURE
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
Thomas Chamney’s name doesn’t ring too many bells on the University of Notre Dame campus in Indiana.
But it should. He’s the only Fighting Irish track and field athlete ever to actually represent Ireland in the Olympic Games. He was a 1:45 800 man and ran at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Moving right along, the roll call of Notre Dame track and field Olympians is lengthy and lustrous.
It begins with such early Games-goers as James Watson (USA) 1912; George Philbrook (USA) 1912; Forest Fletcher (USA) 1912; Gus Desch (USA) 1920; John Murphy (USA) 1920; and Alex Wilson (Canada) 1928-32 (and for many years thereafter an illustrious Notre Dame coach.)
It moves straight ahead to Jim Delany (USA) 1948; Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 1972-76; Molly Huddle (USA) 2012-16; Selim Nurudeen (Nigeria) 2008-12; Margaret Bambgose (Nigeria) 2016; Molly Seidel (USA) 2021), and Yared Nuguse (USA) 2021.
But where you may ask, is the name of Marton Gyulai?
Verrrry good question.
Wasn’t he a pretty good sprinter for the Fighting Irish?
Didn’t he compete in a pair of Games?
Well, here’s a Very good answer:
He didn’t run; he slid, bobbing and steering down the chutes at the Winter Games of Salt Lake City (2002) and Torino (2006) for his homeland of Hungary.
Notwithstanding all that, track and field has always maintained its status as his number one passion,
And – in the long-shot possibility you missed all these late developments – he’s been in the track news lately. A lot of news.
Rather than the 80/90 miles an hour, hair-raising, downright scaring-the-heck-out-of-you downhill focus of bobsledding, Marton Gyulai’s trajectory in track and field has been straight upward.
He is the man – owner of a Notre Dame degree in international government, having put his sled in cold storage – who just directed the recent 19th World Championships of Track and Field into a smash nine-day success – 202 nations; brilliant action, shaking up all the sport’s top-list compilations; a packed stadium daily, over 400,000 total spectators, and a totally upbeat experience.
In many ways, it was Marton Gyulai’s own show and was surely one of the best – perhaps the best of all Worlds – in the series that commenced in Helsinki in 1983. And now, at 43, he’s the man just rewarded for that outstanding…