Geoff Stirling was an outstanding track and field athlete and an expert organizer of track meets during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. His achievements in the high jump and sprints set the level by which others were judged and his contributions to the organization of weekly meets were extremely valuable.
His high jumping lasted from his school days at Bishop Field College. He began high jumping in 1931 and 15 years later, in 1946, he finished jumping. He was never beaten. He attended Tampa University in Florida on an athletic scholarship and as a member of the University’s track team he had the opportunity to perform in many cities within Central and North America.
Geoff Stirling introduced the “western roll” style to the event within Newfoundland. He became an expert in this approach to the jump and the Newfoundland record of five feet, 11 inches that he established July 24, 1945 was to last for 31 years and was a popular topic of conversation. He was very much ahead of his time in training methods. On a regular basis, he studied film of his jumps to improve his style and reach higher heights. It was by watching film of a great international high jumper that he perfected the “western roll”.
He enjoyed considerable success in the 100 yards dash and the 220 yard dash during his athletic career. He was one of the top sprinters of his time and often ran for the Feildian relay team, again with considerable success. The drive and determination that he displayed as an athlete came into play with the organizing of weekly track meets, often on Wednesday afternoons which were St. John’s weekly holiday and they often included military personnel from the U.S. bases at Pepperrell and Argentia, Canadian military personnel from Buckmasters Field and Torbay and occasionally British military personnel from visiting ships.
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