Hans Remembers- today- Saturday March 22, 1969 50 years ago today.
- In the College Basketball Championship game- UCLA won their third championship in a row- beating Purdue 92-72 behind Lew Alcindor’s 37 points and 20 rebounds. Purdue was undermanned due to injuries- but their star shooter Rick Mount scored 28 for them. UCLA’s coach John Wooden had been an All-American player at Purdue back in the late 20’s and early 30’s. UCLA dominated during the Alcindor years- back then freshman were not eligible to play varsity ball- during his three seasons UCLA went 88-2. Before the Wooden era had ended at UCLA in 1975- UCLA won 10 National Championships in a 12 year period. Since then they have won one. Note- while Alcindor led the Bruins to another title and to his 3rd Outstanding Player Award- his father was in the stands playing trombone with the UCLA band. Alcindor would go on to become one of the all-time greatest players in the NBA- as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- Abebe Bikila the great Ethiopian marathon runner- who won the Gold Medal in the Marathon at both the 1969 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games- was involved in a serious auto acccident when his Volkswagen Beetle overturned and trapped him inside. The injury left him a quadriplegic -paralyzed from the neck down. Eventually Bikila gained use of his arms. He was a special guest at the 1972 Munich Olympics where he received a standing ovation during the opening ceremonies. After American Frank Shorter won the Marathon later in the games he went to shake Bikila’s hand. Abebe Bikila died at the age of 41 on October 25, 1973 due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Note- In the Rome Marathon- Abebe ran it barefooted- he had bought new shoes and they didn’t fit right and were giving him blisters- so he ran barefoot in the 26 mile race. I remember my brother and I going running once-Abebe style and he got a big blister on his foot. That was the end of that.