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Albert (Bert) Nelson

Inducted: 1991, journalist

Born: November 17, 1921 - San Diego, California
Deceased: January 9, 1994

Growing up in California's San Joaquin Valley, Albert "Bert" Nelson ran the 880 in high school and later ran cross country as a freshman at the University of California. But it was as a chronicler of the sport that Nelson achieved fame. After serving as a naval officer during World War II, Nelson started a small newspaper in northern California. Soon after, he and his older brother Cordner began plans for a monthly track and field magazine. Working out of Bert's garage in San Bruno, they produced the first edition of their brainchild -- entitled Track & Field News -- in February 1948. It soon earned its billing as the "Bible of the Sport." Consistent with that billing, T&FN's yearly rankings are used throughout the world to gauge top performers in each event. In the 1960s, Nelson began the "Little Book" series ("Little Red Book," "Little Gold Book," etc.), some of the first publications ever to convert metric distances to imperial measurements. He established TAFNEWS Press, the nation's leading track and field publishing firm (with well over 100 titles to date). Nelson's own tome on Olympic results, Olympic Track and Field, was published in 1975. Another Nelson book, Of People and Things, includes many of the top editorial columns he produced over three decades. By 1952, Nelson started Track & Field News Tours, through which tens of thousands of fans have traveled to events like the Olympics, Pan-Am Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Trials. Bert's brother, Cordner, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988.

undergraduate: California (Berkeley, California)


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