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The young athlete Art Tuck won seven events, including three new state records

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - Art Tuck is shown winning a track race. The Redmond standout won seven events at state in 1919.

Art Tuck, a 17-year-old track athlete from Redmond, accomplished an amazing fete in the spring of 1919. He was the sole representative for the Redmond High School at the State Track and Field Championship in Eugene.

He was in a field of 120 entries, and he won seven events and was second in one, in which he only made a preliminary effort. Included in his victories were three new state records, and he personally accounted for 38 points, leading the Redmond team to the State Championship. The second-place team was Jefferson High School from Portland that fielded a large team and scored 28 points.

Tuck had come to the Central Oregon area with his parents in 1904 when he was 3 years old. He grew to be a strapping 6-foot, 2-inch and 185-pound lad by the time he was a senior at Redmond High School. His senior year, he competed in all track events except the pole vault, 880-yard run, and the mile run. The competition led to his preparation for the State Championship.

On that remarkable spring day, Tuck began by winning the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds. He was timed at 9.8 seconds by three timers, but one had timed him at 10.3, so after a debate, they rounded the time to 10 seconds, giving him the state record at that time. He later learned that some citizens of Redmond had wagered nearly $7,000 on him winning the race.

He also took first in the shot put with a throw of 45 feet, 4 inches; first in the javelin throw at 174 feet 8 inches and the throw was 30 feet better that the previous state record; first in the discus at 123 feet 10 inches, which was also a new state record; first in the high jump at 5 foot, 8 inches; and first in the 220-yard dash at 23.4 seconds. He competed in the long jump only in the preliminary event because of the timing of other events, yet he still managed to place second at 18 feet. He became an instant track sensation.

Tuck went on to star in track at the University of Oregon and was coached by the legendary Bill Hayward. He had many successes, but his career was short circuited when he was involved in an automobile accident in which his coach was driving. The car struck a bridge headwall, and as a result, the cartilage in Tuck's knees was torn and changed his track future.

He did go on to compete in the 1920 Olympics but because of his knees could only compete in field events. But while making a javelin throw at the Olympics, he further damaged his knee and essentially ended his promising track career.

Through the years, his records were eclipsed, but what he accomplished on that glorious day in 1919 was heralded the wonder of Northwest track.


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