Letter from America was a regular column in the Irish Independent and Irish Times up until the late 1980’s.
Tom O’Riordan athletics correspondent for the Irish independent and Peter Byrne athletics correspondent with the Irish Times, told the story on a weekly basis of the Irish contingent state-side.
They were articles of renown from two of the finest sports journalists whose name ever appeared in print, with readers of that era still recalling tales of the halation days when each of the Irish newspapers had full-time athletics correspondents.
It is without doubt a shame on the media industry that dedicated sports correspondents have now disappeared in the mire.
It was just earlier this week that I found myself searching for a return to the “Letter’s from America” as two important events in the club’s history book had been re-written.
Last December Colm Bourke headed stateside to begin life as a college freshman with the University of Louisiana. It is my fault we haven’t been keeping up-to-date with his achievement’s especially as two noticeable new club records have been set.
Firstly Simon Devenney informed me that the club outdoor triple-jump record had been improved by Colm Burke, albeit this jump actually occurred on May 14th!
With details confirmed that Burke’s triple jump of 13.85 metres in San Marcos Texas on May 14 had in-fact broken the current club standing of Liam Daly set on July 28 1983!
So Colm had missed the fanfare of breaking a 35-year-old record. It was actually Simon’s wording “bettered his record” which raised my eye-brow.
When I looked at an earlier message with I had forgotten from Simon, pointing that Colm had broken the record on February 22nd in Alabama with a jump of 13.80m.
That however didn’t add up for me and when all the investigations had completed it was in fact a new club indoor record that had been broken in Alabama.
At this stage of embarrassment, I decided I better contact Mr.Burke!
“Not a problem” Burke replies via e-mail. “I didn’t think about it myself until I informed Simon that I was keen to do the triple jump at the national leagues.”
Colm as you are probably aware is a very active and efficient long jumper, holding both the indoor and outdoor club record for that event. So the triple-jump effort was another question.
“I hadn’t really done much training for the triple-jump” explained Burke. ”The college are keen on me doing the two events at championships for overall points.”
“The jumps were from a short run up and I myself wasn’t happy with the distance” added Burke, showing a desire to improve.
“I’m back home for the summer and intend on progressing those distances certainly over 14 metres” added Burke who plans to be part of the national track & field league squad.
“I’m pretty excited about the season ahead and the league” Burke smiled. ”We have many young sprinters coming through and also the addition of Brandon Arrey to the team. “
“I’m back for the summer and I intend to compete in the Le Cheile international, the leagues rounds one and two, the cork city sports and the nationals.”
As for the American experience, and the first few months on a great athletic journey?
“I am enjoying it, a great experience however I never got to the level I wanted in terms of performance but it is a huge adjustment in many ways and I’m thankful I have a full year now where I can make the most of it.“
The hot Irish summer we’re sure will lead to some further excitement.