10/23/2014

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Joe's Video Vault

Joe's Vault: Two amazing Husky athletes

Joe's Vault: Two amazing Husky athletes
Brian Sternberg passed away recently. He was truly a Washington Husky legend, setting three world records in the pole vault in a seven week span 50 years ago.

In July of 1963, he had an accident while training on the trampoline, paralyzing him from the neck down. I wish we had done more on Mr. Sternberg, but he did talk to us in 2005 when we did a story about his Husky teammate, Phil Shinnick, who set a world record in the long jump at the Modesto Relays in May of 1963.

Brian Sternberg set a world record in that same meet, breaking his own mark by two inches.

Unfortunately, Phil Shinnick's record was disallowed. An official did not have a wind gauge at the long jump pit at the time of the leap. Since the officials could not say that the wind was over the allowed speed or under, they could not count the jump as a world record.

The story of Phil Shinnick's jump aired on our "After The Game" show on Sept 19, 2005. It tells of Phil Shinnick's 40-year quest to have his remarkable flight declared a world record.

It's one of Eric Johnson's favorite stories. Mine too. I was fortunate enough to work with Eric on this story, fortunate enough to really learn the sad story of Phil Shinnick and touch on the tragic story of Brian Sternberg, who was only 19 years old when he accomplished his amazing feat five decades ago! It's human nature to wonder to what heights he would have soared.
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