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December 09, 1987

Joe Vigil, coach of the 1988 U.S. Olympic men's distance runners, said that a published report quoting him as saying minorities lack the determination necessary for distance running was "yellow journalism."

The article, titled "A White-Bred Sport: Why Aren't There More Minority Marathoners," appeared in the November issue of City Sport Magazine, a Southern California publications.

"I was shocked at what I read," Vigil said. "What appeared is not what I said. This is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. I was quoted out of context."

The story quoted Vigil as saying: "Minorities don't want to pay the price to be long-distance runners. They're not ingrained with the work ethic it takes to be a long-distance runner. . . . Being a sprinter is the easy way out. Being a road racer is a lonely job with lots of hard training and a Spartan existence. These people just don't want to work hard at anything."

Anita DeFrantz, a member of the executive board of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, has urged The Athletics Congress, the national governing body of track and field, to investigate the matter during its annual convention, which began in Honolulu Tuesday.

Vigil, 58, has been coach at Adams State in Colorado for 22 years. His teams have won 10 National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics cross-country titles, including the last five. On this year's team, four of his seven runners represented minorities. He has produced 40 national champions, 33% of them minorities, and 116 All-Americans, 40% minorities.

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