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The GOATS / PUMA A PAIR OF BANNED SPIKE BRUSH SHOES GIVEN TO OLYMPIC HURDLER CHERRIE SHERRARD FOR THE OLYMPIC TRIALS, ECHO SUMMIT, CALIFORNIA, 1968

Lot 12
PUMA: A PAIR OF BANNED SPIKE "BRUSH" SHOES GIVEN TO OLYMPIC HURDLER CHERRIE SHERRARD FOR THE OLYMPIC TRIALS, ECHO SUMMIT, CALIFORNIA, 1968
Ending from 29 September 2022, 13:00 PDT
Online, New York

US$5,000 - US$7,000

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PUMA: A PAIR OF BANNED SPIKE "BRUSH" SHOES GIVEN TO OLYMPIC HURDLER CHERRIE SHERRARD FOR THE OLYMPIC TRIALS, ECHO SUMMIT, CALIFORNIA, 1968

A pair of red suede leather shoes with white leather Puma trim and velcro straps, the underside each with 68 spikes. The left shoe with the numbers "8-296-263" stamped twice to the interior side lining, and indistinctly stamped "8" to the interior sole; the right shoe stamped "8-296-263" once to the interior side lining, and labeled "PUMA does it with Quality/macht's mit Qualität/c'est la Qualité" to the interior sole.

Footnotes

In September 1968, at the U.S. Olympic track trials at Echo Summit, Tahoe, Puma presented college sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos with a pair of these revolutionary new spike shoes for their 200m final. Designed to interact with the new tartan running surface which would debut at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Smith declined to wear the shoe for the final but Carlos embraced the new technology and finished an easy two strides ahead of the competition, running a personal best of 19.7 seconds, the first sub-20 second 200m ever run.

With a new world record in the making, it was bound to draw scrutiny from Olympic officials, not least because two other athletes, also wearing the Puma brush shoe, had broken records in preceding weeks - Vince Matthews and Lee Evans in the 400m heats and final. International Association of Athletics Federation rules stipulated that shoes could have no more than 8 spikes but those rules were written for dirt tracks, not this new tartan surface. Puma hoped to edge ahead of the competition, Adidas, and create a new shoe for the new running surface and by introducing the thin spikelettes or brush spikes, they hoped each row would be considered as a single spike for IAAF purposes.

Two weeks before the Olympics opened, the IAAF announced that no technical rule could be changed during an Olympic year and the 8 spike rule held. Cue rumors of intervention and blackmail from Adidas but there was nothing to be done, the IAAF had spoken. Evans, Smith and Carlos all wore traditional shoes at the Olympics; Evans broke his record yet again but maintained that he could have gone even faster in the brush shoe and Smith beat Carlos to take gold and bronze medals respectively. Despite the controversial build up to the Games, the legacy of those games was Smith and Carlos standing on the winners' podium raising a black gloved fist as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played.

Only 500 pairs were made, 100 of which were sent to the Olympic Trials in Tahoe. Many of the track athletes were presented with the shoes but very few elected to use them. This pair was given to Cherrie Sherrard who competed in the 80m Hurdles. Sherrard had a highly successful track career, winning a place on the 1964 U.S. Olympics Team after winning a silver in the trials with a time of 10.9 seconds. In Tokyo, she placed 5th in her Heat, narrowly missing out on a place in the Semifinal. In 1965, Sherrard went on to win gold at the U.S. Track and Field Championships. Sherrard elected not to wear the brush shoe at the 1968 Olympics Trials and sadly, not being at her best after a hospital stay, missed out on qualifying.

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