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Charlie Moore with Artie Smith

Former Cornell Athletic Director Charlie Moore '51, left, with Associate Head Coach Artie Smith '96 and the new book. Photo: provided.

New book charts almost a century of a storied track-and-field competition

scene from 1930 TransAtlantic Series in London

A scene from the 1930 TransAtlantic Series at White City Stadium in London, showing the Cornell and Princeton teams. Photo: Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Artie Smith '96, associate head coach of Cornell women's track and field, is the author of a new book about Cornell's nearly centurylong, spirited participation in a track-and-field competition with Oxford and Cambridge universities.

"Lift the Chorus, Speed it Onward: A Celebration of 100 Years of Cornell Track and Field and the TransAtlantic Series" was released April 13 at a banquet at Cornell's Flora Rose House that honored the visiting teams from the United Kingdom before the Big Red and Penn went on to defeat the combined track teams from Oxford and Cambridge, 17-2, in the latest series matchup held two days later in Philadelphia.

Rich in decades-spanning photographs, the book relates the unique athletic history of the series, which started in 1894, while emphasizing the transformative nature of the exchange on generations of Cornellians, who began competing in 1921. In drawing on the athletes' stories and experiences, the book evokes lifelong friendships and enduring memories.

book cover image

Cover of "Lift the Chorus, Speed it Onward: A Celebration of 100 Years of Cornell Track and Field and the TransAtlantic Series." The hurdlers pictured on the cover are from the 1930 match in London and are, from left, Cornell's Walter Heasley '30, who won the event (15.6) and broke the record held by Lord David Cecil Burghley (the subjet of "Chariots of Fire"); Robert Tisdall of Cambridge ; and George Clarke '31 of Cornell, who finished third. Image: provided.

"This project brought together some of the things I love most in my personal and professional life, and it seemed like my own academic and professional background had prepared me well to undertake it," Smith says. "I did my doctorate in history and have always loved and appreciated the rich tradition of Cornell athletics, and our track program in particular. As someone who has coached at Cornell for the past 18 years, I care very deeply about the program and the series itself."

It was 1952 Olympic Gold medalist and former Cornell Athletic Director Charlie Moore '51 who initially approached Smith with the idea of a book celebrating the longstanding series. A participant in 1949 and 1950, Moore's goal was to highlight its history and to encourage financial support for its continuance to ensure the experience will be available for future generations of Cornellians.

The foreword to the book is by Sir Roger Bannister, a TransAtlantic Series participant in 1949 and 1950, and arguably the most significant track athlete of modern times. Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile at Oxford's Iffley Road before going on to a career in medicine.

"Certainly when someone of Charlie Moore's stature asks you to get involved in a project it is a real honor, and working with him was a privilege," says Smith. "But one personal experience that I'll never forget is getting to meet Sir Roger.

News of the World program for 1958 match

"News of the World" program for the 1958 series. Image: provided by Dave Eckel '58.

"Thanks to [Moore and Bannister's] decades-long friendship, I was able to meet with Bannister in his Oxford home on my 2015 research trip to the U.K. for the book. He was generous enough to give up most of his Sunday to meet with me and I'll never forget the time we spent together, as well as the stories he told, and the fondness he has for the series."

Smith's perspective and background made him uniquely qualified to write a history of Cornell's involvement in the series. The captain of the Big Red cross country team and a letter winner on the track team as an undergraduate, he went on to earn his doctorate in history from Duke University and has been a mainstay on the East Hill as a coach for nearly two decades. He has been involved as an athlete or a coach in nearly a dozen tours on both sides of the Atlantic.

"I was first introduced to the series as a freshman at Cornell when I was asked to host students from Oxford and Cambridge in my dorm in April 1993," says Smith. "The jumper from Oxford that I hosted that year, Simon Clarke, eventually came to Cornell to do graduate work and we've remained in touch ever since. I've made countless friends as an athlete and coach because of the exchange and I have witnessed its transformational impact on so many. These are themes in the book that resonate through the generations."

"Lift the Chorus, Speed it Onward" can be purchased by e-mailing Smith or by sending a check to: Cornell Track & Field, c/o Coach Artie Smith, Teagle Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. The price is $50 (please make checks payable to Cornell Track & Field) with proceeds benefiting the endowment that supports Cornell's continued involvement in the TransAtlantic Series.

training at Iffley Road in 1962 and 2006

Above left: Training at Iffley Road in 1962. Steve Machooka '64 "holds up" Fran Smith of Penn and Ray Westendorp '62 (photo courtesy of Tom Mikulina '62). Above right: Training at Iffley Road in 2006. From left to right : Emily McCabe '06, Robin Daniels '09, Robyn Ellerbrock '07, Aeriel Emig '09, Morgan Uceny '07 and Nyam Kagwima '07. Photo: provided.

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