The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)
Wellington's Athletic Coach
Wellington's Athletic Coach.
L. Fitch, American coach to the Wellington Centre of the New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association, is a rara avis among American athletes—he will not have much to say about his own competitive performances! However, I had the pleasure of reading through the manuscript of a book on training which he has been preparing and, during a glance through some of his photographs and cuttings, I made the discovery that he had tied with Archie Williams, Olympic champion over 400 metres, in the National Collegiate 440 yards Championship and the time was 46 1/10sec.—a world record! The photograph, however, showed Fitch to be inches behind Williams and, as a result, the placings were altered. But here was irrefutable evidence that Fitch had actually been within inches of Williams when the world record was broken, and he hadn't said anything about it in New Zealand!
Fitch, at the time of writing, was hopeful of being engaged to coach New Zealand athletes during the next two seasons. He is confident that he can improve the standard in the field events and, after seeing him among the Wellington athletes, I am a staunch believer in his ability. He has had little chance to prove his worth in Wellington, because he was brought out without any plans having been made to organise the athletes, but he has busied himself and results will justify the expenditure.
The American is keen to get among the Police and Fire Brigades and rumour hath it that we will find our next Olympic field event representative from among these branches of public service.
* * *
Misfortune seems to dog the footsteps of some athletes and little Nawe Kira, the brilliant young Rotorua Maori swimmer, is the latest to qualify for the “unlucky athlete” appellation. Two seasons ago, this young Maori lass swept right into the swimming spotlight with a series of remarkable swims, and she was freely tipped to set new figures when the national junior swimming championships were held. But the infantile paralysis epidemic necessitated the abandonment of the tournament just when she was showing her best form. She took the philosophical view, and trained to be in form for this season—and Empire Games selection. Then she contracted pleurisy, and could not be taken into consideration when the team was being selected. Cheer up, Nawe. You are young and 1940 and the Olympic Games are yet to come!