Hall of Fame

Adam P. Dixon
Track & Field

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Adam Dixon's name appears in the Harvard track record book seven times for various indoor and outdoor efforts at 800 meters, 880 yards, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 1 mile. His 1,000 meter time of 2:19.8, at the time an American record, came during the Harvard, Yale, Princeton meet of 1981. Dixon's record in the 1,500 meters of 3:43.89 came later that year during the IC4As and his mile time of 4:01.3 was turned in at the 1982 NCAAs. He is listed as the Ivy's All-Time Heptagonal 1,500 meter champion in 19080, 1981, and 1983.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

It's a great pleasure to have this opportunity to remember my years on the Harvard track team in the company of several of my closest friends and teammates. Even though they will try to buttonhole anyone willing to listen to them to say that the fact that it is me that is being inducted rather than them just goes to show that there is no justice in life. To some extent, I would have to agree with them; if John Murphy had had my legs instead of the Rumpelstilskin things he did have to totter around on, he probably would have broken the world record - certainly he had the heart for it. The first of my themes tonight is ingratitude. As time goes by, one realizes more and more clearly how seldom in life one encounters real generosity and kindness, and sins of omission with regard to the people who invested their time and energy into my success loom large. I wish that more of them were here this evening. I cannot thank them now - some of them are in fact dead - but I like to think that some of them at least knew or will know how strong my sense of gratitude to them has become.

My second theme is failure. Track is of course different from some of the other sports that are represented here tonight in that you really have only yourself to blame if you lose. You don't have broken plays, bad luck, heroic opponents, clumsy teammates or spectacular near-misses that can leave you looking and even feeling good in defeat. Track is dead simple, and you either win or you don't, no excuses. I never did accomplish the things that I meant to, and, depending on who you believe, that I might have. Coming to terms with failure is a part of recognizing and acknowledging one's limits, and that in turn is an important part of doing what one can without "magic." I think that that realism has helped me a lot, although most people who look at my career (which has focused on first Russia and then telecoms) would argue that it is precisely realism that I have lacked. Perhaps I can claim that I was realistic about myself but found myself repeatedly in rather surrealistic circumstances.

The great missing presence for me and for my track teammates this evening is of course Bill McCurdy, who was the track coach for 30 years, and who died in 1998. McCurdy always stressed for us the importance of being willing to be measured - this was the relevance of track for so-called "real life." There is a story about McCurdy that he had on the same team a miler of mediocre ability and a sprinter of potentially first rate quality, but who was underperforming. The miler noticed that McCurdy was giving him much more attention in his efforts to break 5 minutes than he was giving the sprinter, and asked him what was going on. McCurdy said, "you are re-defining what you are able to do; he is an ex-high school star whom things came easily and who refuses to face squarely the demands of a higher league. If he is underperforming as badly in his academic work as he is at track, then he will fail out anyway. I have done what I can; this is now the last warning that I can give him." And he did fail out. Whatever my own limitations and failures, I am increasingly grateful for the fact that I was connected to a group and to a man that embodied this wisdom.