Kerron Clement, the two-time World champion who beat Dutch at the US Trials, clicked to his best race in years to win in 47.73 seconds. A Kenyan record of 47.78 gave Boniface Tumuti the silver. Yasmani Coppello of Turkey edged Thomas Barr of Ireland, the 2015 World University Games champion, 47.92 to 47.99, in the race for the bronze. Whyte peaked at the right time, but found himself surrounded by others who had obviously read the same script. This Racers Track Club athlete is a late bloomer who, at 29, might be a medal candidate at the World Championships next year in London. The same goes for triple jumper Kimberly Williams, who bounced into her second Olympic final, and Olympic newcomers Christania Williams and Stephenie-Ann McPherson. The latter pair competed in the 100m and 400-metre finals, respectively. It seems like it was just yesterday when Christania zoomed to the second fastest 100-metre dash in Girls’ Championship history, a 2014 winner of 11.19 seconds for Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School. In just two years, the University of Technology student has mastered the 11-second barrier. Her future seems bright. Nothing is certain. In 2011, she was third in the Carifta Games Under-20 100-metre final. Ahead of her were Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago. Injury ushered Strachan out to the Bahamian Olympic 4x400m, while Ahye was an impressive finalist in the 100m in Rio. All things being equal, Ristananna Tracey, Leah Nugent and Janieve Russell will be on the same growth pathway in the future too. Like those detailed above, they all were in their first Olympic Games and made history by giving Jamaica a trio of 400-metre hurdles finalists for the first time. Like Whyte, Tracey and Nugent set personal bests in the 400-metre hurdles final. Spare a thought for 2015 World shot put bronze medal winner, O’Dayne Richards. The burly national record holder fought his way past injury and leg surgery to again take his place in a global final. Had he been 100 per cent, a medal would have been within his strong grasp. In an environment where only medals matter, these performances will appear to be disappointments. Nothing could be further from the truth. Youth, even for Whyte, is on the side of this group of distinguished athletes. While the future offers no guarantees, continued smart work could well open the door to the medal stand as early as next year in London. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980. BEST RACE IN YEARS In major championships, like the recently concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, medals matter. Jamaica can be justly proud of its haul of six gold, three silver and two bronze medals. It would be a mistake to focus only on those who won medals. Annsert Whyte arrived in Rio as national 400-metre hurdles champion with a two-year-old personal best of 48.58 seconds. Peaking perfectly for the biggest meet of his life, the former Clan Carthy High School 400-metre finalist went faster in every round and clocked 48.07 seconds in the final. Among Jamaicans, only Winthrop Graham, Danny McFarlane, Kemel Thompson and Isa Phillips have ever been quicker. Whyte’s new personal best is faster than the time that sat atop the 2016 performance list before the Olympics began. That was 48.10 seconds by American Johnny Dutch at the Jamaica Invitational. Dutch didn’t reach Rio as he was the victim of a shocking last hurdle fade-out at the US Olympic Trials.
They and nearly 100 other WWII veterans from across the San Fernando Valley had gathered for a chance to hear the filmmaker, who is bringing their war tales to life. The audience of a few hundred public television supporters began to clap and the vets – many of them pushing 90 – slowly rose from their seats to stand tall and proud and accept the applause they had earned. “It’s funny,” said Phyllis Capelle, who logged more than 250 hours flying aircraft to military bases and ferrying wounded soldiers to hospitals and home bases stateside during World War II. “When we got out of the service, nobody wanted to talk about it. Sixty years later, everyone wants to talk about it.” Cobb, an Army nurse who served in war-torn England caring for soldiers wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, laughed. Then she shivered. It was cold in this theater on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, and the 85-year-old North Hills woman hadn’t brought a wrap. Bazooka Joe, 87 and ever gallant, loaned her his jacket. His tales from the trenches include getting his nickname and a Silver Star for disabling a line of German tanks heading straight for his men in Company G. He was sitting next to 82-year-old Howenstein, who wore his Bronze Star for bravery and a purple heart pinned on him by Gen. George Patton while Howenstein lay in a field hospital recovering from his wounds. The VIP section was full of similar stories of courage and heroism. After the vets took their seats and the applause died down, the audience grew quiet as an hour of excerpts from the new war documentary began. “I think I’ve seen this before,” Bazooka Joe said. The group smiled. They all had. They were there. The excerpts from the seven-part series got generally good reviews from the vets, but a few thought some of the images were too brutal. There are scenes from the Holocaust and photos of dead GIs floating in the water on D-Day. A few people got up and left, but everyone else stayed. War is hell. There’s no way to get around that. “I’ll watch the whole thing when it’s on,” said Nick Conteas, 90, of Northridge, who served in Naval Intelligence. “After seeing it (the excerpts), it reminded me of one thing about our country. It’s made up of every religion and nationality in the world, but when that war came along, we were all one.” After the screening, Burns answered questions from the audience, including why he hadn’t featured more interviews with Latino, American Indian and African-American veterans. Burns promised he was correcting that oversight, which made Stephen Sherman of Van Nuys happy. He’d served in an all African-American Army platoon in World War II. “I thought it was a wonderful program, but young people who watch it should know that Hispanics, Native Americans and African-Americans were over there bravely fighting and dying, too,” said Sherman, 86. All the Valley vets who went to last month’s screening have taken part in the Veterans History Project. It’s a massive national undertaking to give all veterans the chance to tell their experiences and have them placed in the historic Library of Congress. All onscreen participants in “The War” are veterans from around the country who took part in the Veterans History Project. Some footage includes their relatives and supporting civilian workers. “When our guys stood up in front of the whole theater and received all that applause, Julie and I had tears in our eyes; we were so proud,” said Becky James, who is in charge of interviewing Valley vets for the history project. Julie Stranges is a volunteer at Sepulveda VA, where many of these same vets give their time freely every week to help other veterans receiving health care services. It’s kind of tough to review a seven-part series after seeing only one hour of excerpts, the vets said. But from what they saw they think “The War” is going to raise some eyebrows. “I can’t tell if it’s anti-war or about support for our troops,” Bazooka Joe said. “I guess we’ll all have to watch it and make up our own minds.” Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3749 “The War,” a seven-part TV documentary on World War II, airs 8 p.m. today on KCET (Channel 28).160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Before the theater lights dimmed and the crowd grew silent, filmmaker Ken Burns asked all of the World War II veterans in the audience to stand. The director-producer of the PBS documentary series “The War” wanted to publicly honor the former servicemen and -women for their bold and brave sacrifices. And the vets weren’t hard to pick out inside the Wadsworth Theater in West Los Angeles. They were all sitting up front in the VIP section – right where they belonged. “Bazooka” Joe Pietroforte, Pete Howenstein, Mary Cobb, Stephen Sherman, Phyllis Capelle, Nick Conteas, Fred “Crash” Blechman.