Mercury Track Club Part II
When you here the name Stanley Floyd two things come to mind, the fastest human in the world, and the show That’s Incredible. We sit down to recount Stanley Floyd’s time with Mercury Track Club and his relationship with Coach Rambo.....
After I had won the state in the 200 meter, and 100 meters, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or what college I was planning on going. I received a call from Gus Pritchett, and he told me about Mercury Track, I am from a town in South Georgia called Albany so I ’m working a job making minimum wages. I felt like this was a great opportunity, because other than local meets I haven’t really traveled anywhere. Mercury Track Club gave me the opportunity to go to Chicago and compete in the Keebler Invitational and Omaha, Nebraska for the AAU National Track and Field Championships. I was immediately impressed with how organized they were, and they had been around for a while. I met Coach Rambo and his son I c all “Lil” Rambo and they made me feel a t home. I was recruited to Auburn a s a 4 00-meter runner, I would split 45 or 46 seconds in the anchor position. My freshman year including indoor season I won a total of 50 races, I was running and winning so much that I didn’t really take the time to realize the things, I accomplished. I had won the NCAA, USA Championship, and Olympic Trials, only known person to ever accomplished this was Jesse Owens. I also ran 10.07 in the 100 meters that year at the age of 18, that was the best time globally. When things began to slow down, I realized that I had a great year. Also getting m y passport and representing the USA all over the world was a major accomplishment.
It should be noted one of the biggest debates in track and field would have been had the U S not boycotted the 1 980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia. Floyd would have beaten eventual gold medalist champion Allan Wells from Great Britain. He had a faster time for the year, and in post-Olympic meetings he beat Wells 2 to 1.
Mr. Floyd you had a chance to race a horse on the ABC show That’s Incredible tell me about that experience.......
That experience just came out of nowhere, I was working with Bill Collins who was with the shoe company ASICS at the time, and they contacted me. I was at the University of Houston at the time I was a World record holder i n the 60, and 55 meters, and set the record at the Junior 100s. They flew me out to Sana Ana, California and took me down to the horse racing track. I was waiting on them to tell me this was some sort of joke, but after meeting with the production people I realized this was real. They asked what distance I wanted to start at, and I decided the 40, so they set a wood track up on top of the racetrack for me. They asked me which gate I wanted to come out of, and I wanted to be at the end because I didn’t want the horse to come out on me. So, I started behind the gate with my face pressed against the gate and took off, I actually beat the horse i n the 40 with a time of 3.61. So, I felt great, and they asked i f I wanted to do i t again, so I said sure why not. This time they brought out a different horse and they told me they train the horses to only come out the gate one time a day. This time we went 50 yards and this horse beat me, but this was a once and a lifetime experience.
“World’s Fastest Human vs A Horse”
Achievements and Titles
Considered the World’s Fastest Human
100 m 10.03 50m 5.63
200m 20.41 55m. 6.05
1980 – 100M 10.07 Best Time Globally
1980 - US Olympic Trials 100
1981 – US Indoor Champ 60M
1982 – 50 yds (5.22) 60 yds (6.09)
1982 – NCAA Championship 100 M (10.03) Record stood until 1990.
1981- Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
C.W. Copeland, Principal for C.W. Copeland & Associates, ran amongst many of the greats to come out of Georgia. Copeland credits the man he i s today to Coach Charles Rambo and the Mercury Track Club. Wayne Copeland began running for Coach Rambo during the 1976 season and continued his career through 1982. Although a talented athlete in his time, Copeland suffered a groin injury that prevented him from competing collegiately. For many coaches, athletes and their value are based on their ability to compete. Copeland’s injury showcases Coach Rambo’s ability to connect both on and off the track. Copeland shared how coach Rambo’s “hands on,” and “fiery” coaching style was what kept them inspired. C.W. Copeland, Wayne to the Mercury track club family, ran the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter relays. He spoke on the success of the program, stating that “everywhere we went people knew who Mercury Track Club was. We were nationally recognized year after year and
always ranked. The same was for that of the Anderson Park Recreational football team lead by Coach Rambo. Copeland expressed that Rambo recruited him not only to run, but to play for his football team as quarterback. While this was not the easiest transition for Wayne, he stressed Coach Rambo’s belief i n him and ability to be a “teacher, motivator, and mentor.”
Copeland works today as a financial consultant for his own company. He credits “much of [his] success, “to Coach Rambo and the character traits he instilled in him at an early age. “He taught me how to be a man.” Copeland says he can still hear him in everything he does, encouraging him to always “run all the way through the tape.”
One of the best track runners to ever grace the red dirt soil of Georgia…..Emmanuel Blakeney recalls growing up and growing into a record setting track runner and record holder with the help of Mercury Track Club.
Mr. Blakeney thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your experience with Mercury Track Club……
I am originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to Georgia when I was ten. I met Coach Rambo playing pop warner football for MLK park. Coach Rambo and my coach were good friends and suggested I play on an all-star team with them. My cousin Stanley Blaylock also ran track for Coach Rambo. At the age of 12 I decided to give i t a try, initially Coach Rambo couldn’t figure out what to do with me, Winfred Jordan, and Stanley Blaylock so he allowed Coach McFadden to train us and turn us into hurdlers. The first year went well, I got a chance to travel and made the Junior Olympics. This was all through Coach Rambo and Mercury, who was sponsored by Coca-Cola. The next year my times got to be better and ended up making the junior national team. Coach Rambo was a father figure in my life, I actually, met Coach Rambo two years before I met my own father. He was a disciplinarian and truly a man of substance, and at the utmost respect for him. It was truly a privilege to be part of Mercury Track Club. The guys who were in Mercury, Stanley, Winfred, and Dexter Hawkins and I were special along with the other guys and girls too. Mercury prepared me for my meets and to take on the world even as a 9th grader. I was one of the only 9th graders to make varsity at Northside High School, which consisted of 3 other great sprinters, Brent Bell-
Williams, Stanley Blalock, and Sam Grady who attended the University of Tennessee and 1984 Olympic silver medalist. That next summer we went to a track meet at the University of South Carolina, we finished 2nd in the 4 X 100 relay, I finished 3rd in the 120 high hurdles, and 2nd in the 300-meter hurdles. Going into the state meet I finished 2nd behind Stanley by a tenth of a second, and we won the 4 X 100 relay and set a state record that stood for 15 years. The record was broken by Olympic track runners from Southwest Dekalb, and Coach Napoleon Cobb. Cobb was recruiting me when he was at Morehouse. I came back to Mercury my 11th grade year and train with Tony Rambo, who was training for the Olympics. Tony basically became my mentor and coach, I won the 300 hurdles at the state. I went back to train with Tony and became his training partner. My senior year I won every relay i n the state of Georgia and finished 2nd i n the Florida relays. I also set the state record i n the 300-meter hurdles that year, with a 37.23. I was the second fastest High School hurdler i n the country behind Florida’s Arthur Blake who became a 2-time Olympic bronze medal winner i n the 1988- 1992 Olympics. After I graduated, I went to the University of Georgia with Stanley Blaylock.
Talk about your relationship with Coach Rambo……….
When I was having problems at my home, I called Coach Rambo and he allowed me to live with him, his wife, Tony and Eudoia. He wasn’t just there for the track he was like a father figure. If I needed anything like shoes or just to talk even when I got to college. Anything I needed; Coach Rambo was always there for me. The discipline that he instilled i n me was about respect, when I got to college, I saw how guys would talk. We never did that. Mercury was like a family to me; I didn’t see much of that in my own family so to have Coach Rambo was what shaped me to be who I am today. The work ethic i s something I carry into my everyday life.
Talk about your time at University of Georgia……..
When I first got to UGA, I wasn’t that strong I was like 162 pounds and wasn’t strong enough and knew I had to put on weight and strength. I started lifting weights and got stronger I was able to compete in races but didn’t win much, my
freshman year. I was able to score in the SEC which was a big deal. My sophomore year we had a nice 4 X 100 team and had success during the indoor season. My junior year I finished 3rd in the SEC. My senior I was injured off and on, i t wasn’t
the year I was expecting but I did have a chance to place. Georgia was good for the most part it had its ups and downs.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your experience about Mercury Track Club…..