Norb Sander
The Armory

Norbert Sander, NYC Marathon winner and Armory restorer, dies at 74

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Dr. Norbert W. Sander, who won the 1974 New York City Marathon and later led the restoration of the Armory in Manhattan, has died unexpectedly at age 74.

Sander remains the only male New Yorker to win the New York City Marathon. He prevailed when the 26.2-mile event was held in Central Park, two years before it became the five-borough race it is today.

More than a decade later, while practicing family medicine in the Bronx, Sander came across the Armory, a formerly famed indoor track and field facility in the Washington Heights neighborhood where he raced as a boy.

But the Fort Washington Avenue facility had become a “dilapidated, overcrowded homeless shelter” in the 1980s, according to the New York Road Runners. There were about 2,000 homeless men housed in unsanitary conditions. Every window was broken, according to Fordham Preparatory School, from which Sander graduated in 1960.

“It had been a shrine, a holy place,” Sander said of the facility that opened in 1909 in a 1995 Sports Illustrated article, according to Fordham Prep. “Then the homeless were moved in, and it became the heart of darkness.”

Sander, as president, CEO and founder of the Armory Foundation, helped the homeless relocate to better living conditions.

He lobbied city corporations and athletic companies to raise money to restore the Armory. Efforts by those including Sander netted $25 million to restore the building, according to Fordham Prep.

Track and field competition returned to the Armory in 1993 after a seven-year hiatus, according to The New York Times.

Now, it’s a national historic landmark, houses the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and hosts the Millrose Games every February, arguably the most prestigious annual indoor track and field meet. The Millrose Games feature not only Olympic and world champions, but also youth and high school races.

In 2014, Sander received the Abebe Bikila Award from the New York Road Runners for his “outstanding commitment and contributions to the sport of distance running.” The award was named after the Ethiopian marathoner who became the first sub-Saharan African to win an Olympic gold medal.

“Dr. Sander was a partner to USATF who cared passionately about the sport and even more about the kids who benefit from the Armory’s track and field, educational and enrichment programs,” USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel said in a statement. “Countless young people have been impacted by his work. His death is a shock to all of us and deeply affects this sport. On behalf of USATF, we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms have heaters

NBC Universal
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The U.S. Olympic team uniforms for the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony contain heating components that will last up to 11 hours.

Ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and bobsledder Aja Evans wore the uniforms on TODAY on Monday.

The heat technology will come in handy.

The PyeongChang Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 (live streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app) will be in an outdoor stadium, likely in below-freezing temperatures.

From USA Today:

“The athletes can set the temperature (there are three settings) via their cellphones. The heat can last up to five hours on the high setting and 11 hours on the low setting, fully charged.”

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Jamaica misses Olympic men’s bobsled by one spot

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The only Jamaican bobsled team in PyeongChang will be its women’s bobsled team.

Jamaica missed qualifying a two-man bobsled team for the Olympics by one spot in rankings finalized last week.

Jamaica still had a chance to sneak into the 30-sled Olympic field if one of the qualified nations declined a spot, but that didn’t happen.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation made it official Monday, publishing the Olympic fields for each event.

At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014.

Sochi driver Winston Watts retired, but a new team was formed in this Olympic cycle that included former Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals running back Michael Blair.

New driver Seldwyn Morgan competed on the lower-level North American Cup the last three seasons with a top finish of seventh.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?