Ron Livers has abandoned serious high-jumping competition, but is still giving short people a boost with his athletic achievements. Livers, 5-foot-9 senior at San Jose State, won the triple jump with a leap of 55 feet 3 1/2 inches yesterday in the 90th National AAU Indoor Championships.
Livers once high jumped 7-4 1/4, 19 inches above his height, and that record stood until 5-8 Franklin Jacobs began to raise all kinds of records, with a current best of 7-7.
I'm going to leave the high jump up to him," Livers said. "I just do it for fun now. I love the triple jump. It's an art form, an artistic event, a rhythmic event. The crowd likes it and I try to raise the conscience level of the spectator to the event."
Livers concedes that it's more fun to jump in Europe, where last year he had the world's longest leap, 56-4 3/4.ST"In Europe the crowd appreciates it more," Livers said. "You have them on the edge of their seats and when you do something they're right up yelling.
"In the U.S. they seem to put some events ahead of others. Some events are highlighted ahead of ours. It's one of the hardest events as far as your body is concerned. But just the other day I was reading a stroy about the "lowly triple jumpers.'"
Livers is one athlete who was happy to sign up for the U.S. Europe indoor meet in Milan, Itlay, March 14. Others were less enthusiastic, however and in some events AAU officials were forced to collect semifinalists to produce the required two Americans.
Livers' leap yesterday came within two inches of the American and meet records held by Tommy Haynes, Haynes, third at 54-2, had won the event three years in a row.
Charlton Ehizuelen of Nigeria captured the long jump at 25-4 1/4, shortest winning distance since 1966. Haynes, also the defender in this event, wound up fourth at 24-8 1/4.
Ed Kania of Darmouth was the surprise winner of the 35-pound weight throw at 64-9, shortest winning mark since 1963, and commented that "there were a lot of people who choked today."
Bob Backus, at age 51, placed second with 62-11 1/2, while defending champion George Frenn finished fourth at 61-11 1/2.
"People overdo this age crap," said Backus, who won the first of seven championshios about chronologial age. They think that I do is pretty amazing, but it's not."
Sue Brodock set an American record for the fifth straight year in the women's mile walk, but her time of 7:01.7 fell short of her avowed goal of going under seven minutes.
Modupe Oshikoya of Negeria completed a long-jump sweep for her country by taking the women's version at 20-6 1/4. Kathy McMillan, the defender, was second at 20-3 3/4.
Filbert Bayi withdrew from the mile run and flew home to Tanzania, complaining of general weakness. Hehad won only one race during seven weeks in the Unitd States.