New York Track and Field Writer Frank Litsky Retiring After 40 Years - Says Sport Needs Several Shots In The Arm

Notes From Track and Field Writers Frank Litsky and Walt Murphy
December 15, 2009


Since the mid-1930's or even earlier, the New York Track Writers Association and its members have played an effective role in telling the world of the glories of the sport and of its occasional dark side. In weekly luncheon meetings at Mama Leone's, the New York Athletic Club, Carnegie Deli, DaTommaso's Ristorante and other places, news has been created and disseminated. The greats of the sport have been our guests and newsmakers: Jim Ryun, Mary Slaney, Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, Valery Brumel, Harrison Dillard,  Fanny Blankers-Koen, Jumbo Elliott, Bob Giegengack, Dr. LeRoy Walker, Fred Schmertz, Madeline Manning, Billy Mills, Al Oerter, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, John Woodruff, Eamonn Coghlan, Bernard Lagat, and, as a bonus, Prince Albert of Monaco. These are from memory. There are many more.

Under the firm hand of Jesse Abramson of The New York Herald Tribune, the consummate track and field writer and the mentor to all of us of a certain era, the organization thrived. But then there were seven daily newspapers in the city, five meets on five successive winter weekends at Madison Square Garden, high-level relay meets galore in the spring and weekly meetings from January to June.

The landscape has changed. Now there are fewer meets, fewer newspapers, more pro teams in more sports leading to less space for track and field. Attendance at Track Writers Association luncheons has dropped over the years, partly because of the diminished interest in the sport and diminished outlets. The sport and its public image need many shots in the arm.

Meanwhile, I have been spending less time with the sport. I retired last year after 50 years with The New York Times and 61-1/2 years in the business over all. Last month, I underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

I still love the sport and will stay with it forever, but the Track Writers Association needs as much revitalization as possible. That is for younger people to achieve. Accordingly, after 40 years as president of the Track Writers Association, I am retiring as of this date.

I thank all of you for your help and interest and encouragement over the years.

Frank Litsky


From Walt Murphy(Secretary/Treasurer)

On behalf of the members of the NY Track Writers Association, I would like to thank Frank Litsky for his leadership and the passion he brought to his role as the president of our group for the last four decades.

While Frank's guidance will certainly be missed, the NY Track Writers Assn. is entering a new and exciting era. Since the famous Armory/New Balance T&F Center is directly involved in the conduct of the 2010 Millrose Games, and will play host to more than 100 meets during the indoor season, it seemed like the right time to move our lunches uptown to Coogan's(which is right around the corner from the Armory).

We all wish Frank a speedy recovery from his surgery and look forward to welcoming him as a guest at future lunches.



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