Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview with David Peterson, pt. 1

Just published by the University of Iowa Press, The Drake Relays: America's Athletic Classic is a selection from nearly forty years of photographs of the famed track meet by Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer David Peterson. Here, Peterson talks to UI Press editor Catherine Cocks about what the relays have meant to him as a runner and a photographer.

Athlete Kip Janvrin with his five-year-old son Mason
CC: What did the Drake Relays mean to you as a college athlete?

DP: The Drake Relays was one of the premiere meets of the year, second only in importance to our Big 8 conference championships. It was the third and final event of the “relays circuit,” which included the Texas Relays, the Kansas Relays, and the Drake Relays. The competition was better at Drake than at the other two meets because it also included teams from the Big 10 and a few from the west coast as well. It was also a chance to compete for the “grand slam” in a relay event (winning the same event at Texas, Kansas, and Drake), which my teammates and I accomplished twice, winning the two-mile relay “grand slam” in 1969 and 1970.

Coach Dena Evans with her nine-month-old daughter Adrienne
CC: What was it like to come back to the relays as a photographer after having competed there?

DP: It was an unexpected pleasure, because when I graduated from Kansas State, where I competed in track, I wasn't really certain of what my career path would be. Once I figured that out, the opportunity to be a newspaper photographer opened up that Drake Relays door again for me—experiencing it from a totally different perspective.

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