Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 36 April , 1957




It will be slim pickings for 1957 as the only copies of T&FN I have are April, August and November. That said, let’s get to it.
APRIL, 1957
It is relay month. The first is the Texas Relays on April 5 & 6. Bobby Morrow is voted the meet’s outstanding athlete, but that is an award that could have gone to Eddie Southern or Bill Tildwell. The most outstanding performance is that of the Texas 880 relay team of Wilson, Gainey, Southern and Whilden that lowers the world record by 1.3 seconds with a 1:22.7, leaving Abilene Christian and Bobby Morrow 15 yards down on the last exchange. Morrow mails it in to finish 25 yards back. His day would be the next one. This was only the first of three battles between these teams. Lining up against the Longhorns for the 440 relay, ACC reverses its fortunes with the same squad of Griggs, Woodhouse, Segrest and Morrow running 40.2 to Texas’ 40.6. The mile relay isn’t as close as Texas with Eddie Southern anchoring in 46.5 overcoming a three yard deficit to beat ACC 3:12.8 to 3:14.3. Ever wonder what Bobby Morrow could run for a 400? The answer is 46.7 which was his split on the third leg. Southern won the highs in 14.1w and anchored the shuttle hurdles which ran 59.0. Morrow didn’t confine his efforts to relays. He rode an 8 mph wind to a convincing 9.3 victory over Orlando Hazley’s 9.6. But what of Billy Tidwell? He “turned in probably the two best half miles ever run by one man in one day”. Taking the baton in 8th place, 50 yards down on the anchor leg of the sprint medley, he brings Emporia State in third with a 1:47.2 split. Fifty minutes later in the college division race, he anchors Emporia State to victory with a 1:49.6.
Two weeks later it is the Kansas Relays. Bill Nieder throws 62’2”, a mark bettered only by the great O’Brien who is second today at 59’1”. Abilene Christian is not in attendance, but the lack of competition doesn’t deter Texas who runs a 39.9 world record and goes 1:24.2 without the injured Southern. Kansas dominates the two and four mile relays, but is surprised by Texas in the distance medley. The Jayhawks return the upset by winning a tight mile relay in 3:12.6 over Colorado. 3:12.6, North Texas, 3:12.7 and the Southern-less Longhorns, 3:12.8. The soon to be juggernaut Oklahoma Sooners take the sprint medley in 3:25.2 with a team of Prichett, Frazier, Wilhite and Parr (no splits given). Oh, it looks like the multitalented Cliff Cushman might have found an event. He wins the 440 intermediates in 51.9. We’ll see if he develops into anything. In the open mile, the great Gail Hodgson from South Africa, a freshman at Oklahoma and thereby ineligible to run on the relays, beats Nebraska’s Canadian freshman Joe Mullins in 4:11.0. Oh, and Wilt Chamberlain takes second in the high jump at 6’6”. Like that Russell guy, he went on to do something else.
And yes, Bob Gutowski likes that fiberglass pole very much, thank you. At Stanford on April 27 he vaults 15-8 ¼ to better Dutch Warmerdam’s 15 year old record by ½ an inch. He didn’t miss until the bar was set at 16’. Making his mark more noteworthy is the fact that during the earlier heights he was alternating with the broad jump and had a best of 24’3”. Gutowski’s best mark in high school was 12’3”.
On that same day there were a couple other meets of note. The Penn Relays are highlighted by Olympic champions. Greg Bell jumps 26’1 ½” and wins the 100 in 9.7. Lee Calhoun hurdles 13.7 to beat Elias Gilbert and Willie May. Oddly, only the winning time is recorded in the running events, though marks down to 4th place are listed in the field events. Villanova runs two Olympic champions, Charlie Jenkins and Ron Delany in the distance medley to win, but in a slow 10:10.7. The same two team up on the mile relay to beat Texas in 3:12.7 (Jenkins 46.7). The Longhorns couldn’t be too disappointed as the team of Wilson, Gainey, Southern and Whilden wins the 440 and 880 relays with 41.1 and 1:25.4.
In Des Moines on that same day the Drake Relays are highlighted by a college record of 58.4 by the Missouri shuttle relay team. This time it is Abilene Christian’s turn to run without Texas. They seem up to the task with 40.5 and 1:24.2 meet records. Morrow runs a legal 9.4. Willie Stevens of Tennessee A&I hurdles the second fastest time in the world this year, 13.8. Kansas wins the four mile relay, the sprint medley and the distance medley (9:51.7), but is edged by Georgetown in the two mile relay 7:32.0 to 7:33.0. Bill Tidwell is the standout in the college division anchoring Emporia State to wins in the mile relay and sprint medley with 47.0 and 1:48.5 efforts.
The European Report page has a photo of “young British weight comer, Mike Lindsay” who would later become a force at the University of Oklahoma.
Running through the high school marks armed with the knowledge of who rose to prominence later, we come across Jim Cerveny of Mission Bay High in San Diego who leads the country in the 880 at 1:55.9, Dallas Long of North High in Phoenix, the #2 shot putter at 61’5” and Paul Stuber of Bellflower High ranked 13th in the HJ at 6’3 ¾ “. Aside from Stuber, who would become an internationalist in the dual meet with the USSR at age 16, three other Bellflower kids were on the list with their names underlined in pencil. Yes, this issue belonged to Dave Kamanski, the Bellflower coach.
In Dick Banks’ high school column there is mention of last year’s javelin leader @ 193’4”, Gene Orowitz. Seems the young man is “doing quite well in TV, regularly appearing on GE Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse, etc.”. The young man has taken the stage name of Michael Landon. Wonder how that will work out.
On the Frosh and JC Marks lists Willie Atterberry of Michigan State and Cliff Cushman of Kansas stand out. Atterberry is 6th in the 440 with a 48.9 indoor mark. He has run 1:54.9 indoors to rank third behind Cushman’s 1:54.6. Cushman is 11th in the mile at 4:21.1 indoors. The best event for both, the 440 intermediates is not listed. Gail Hodgson of Oklahoma is the mile leader at the aforementioned 4:11.0. He is 8th in the 880 with an indoor mark of 1:55.4. Jack Yerman and Jerry Siebert of the California frosh are listed. Yerman at 48.9 and Siebert with a non-winning 1:54.9. Both will improve a bunch.
A 26 year old teacher, John Kelley wins the Boston Marathon by nearly five minutes in 2:20:05. Finns, Koreans, Japanese and a Canadian take the next 7 places. The second American runs 2:39:45.
1957 was a far simpler time. Dual meets mattered. A team’s second or third performer in an event was important because he could provide the margin of victory. D.H. Pott’s column informs us of the relative dual meet strength of California teams. Occidental beat UCLA “in a stunning upset” 74 ½ to 56 ½ just a week after almost knocking off USC, coming up short by a 70 ½ to 65 ½ margin. USC dumped Stanford 72-59. UCLA did the Trojans one better, beating “the Tribe” 84 ½ to 46 ½. Then you had the Southern California Striders beating Oxy 74 2/3 to 61 1/3 and losing to UCLA 83 ¼ to 47 ¾. “ Still everyone agrees the big one is the USC- UCLA dual at the Coliseum on May 4.” As I said, dual meets mattered.
Just so there is something concrete to hang onto in the whirlwind of life, let me remind you that, yes, Clifford Severn is still selling Adidas from his North Hollywood store, including the “World Record” model – the “Melbourne”, the world’s lightest and finest shoe.
Incidentally, we will never know how that SC-UCLA meet came out as the next issue in my possession is August.

Vol. 1 No. 35 From South Africa, scandal

Hi George

Thanks for the entertaining series in the 1956 Olympics.

As a matter of interest Neville Price represented South Africa in the broadjump. He was the first South African to have a scholarship at Oklahoma. He was followed by Hentie Kruger and the rest of us. Neville Price was expected to win a medal at those Olympics. but only managed a seventh place. On his return to South Africa he was banned from competing again. Rumour has it that he was shagging one of his female team mates and partying instead of maintaining team discipline. Times sure have changed.

Regards

Neville

Vol. 1 No. 34 Saturday December 1, 1956

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1956
It is the final day of the Melbourne Olympics and awaaaaaay we go.
MARATHON
Two hundred and fifty thousand line the course to watch what R.L. Quercentani calls “the most pathetic event of the XVI Olympics”. After Bobby Morrow and the rest of the 100 field suffered through cold weather for that event, the sun comes out in full force and the marathoners are treated to a temperatures more suited for the beach, mid-80’s. Like the decathlon, the event is decided halfway through. Algerian Alain Mimoun, wearing the colors of France, makes his move on an uphill portion at 30 km to open an 18 second gap. He is not threatened the rest of the way, finishing in a slow, but decent under these circumstances, 2:25:00 to win by 1:32 over Franco Mihalic of Yugoslavia. Finland’s Veikko Karvonen takes the bronze another 1:15 back. The great Zatopek falls off the pace before the halfway mark. He said the heat was bad and he was afraid of collapsing. “As this was my last race I wanted above all other things to finish.” He does, in 6th at 2:29:34.
4 x 100 METER RELAY SEMI-FINALS
Two races qualifying three. In the first race, the US, which had run 40.5 with a bad pass the previous day, makes extremely conservative passes to run 40.3 and win easily over Poland, 41.0, and Italy, 41.1. The Russians look good in the second race, also clocking 40.3. Germany and England qualify for the final at 40.6.
1500 METER FINAL
A field of 12 toe the starting line. The British Empire is well represented with 8 competitors. No American has made the cut. Bert Nelson says that ten have the potential to win. It is truly the most unpredictable event of the games. Merv Lincoln says he never had such a relaxed race as the heat he won. On the other hand, he strained a tendon in his foot 10 days earlier and will run with “a bandaged foot full of pain killing dope”. Landy isn’t talking. Ken Wood says that Lincoln and Hewson are the most dangerous, not Landy. Delany says he has plenty in reserve, but since he hasn’t run faster than 4:06 since spring, he really doesn’t know his condition. The best conditions of the games prevail at the start, warm and windless. New Zealand’s Murray Halberg and Britain’ Brian Hewson assume the lead. Aussies Lincoln and Landy opt to stay out of trouble, dropping to the back of the tightly bunched pack. The 200 is reached in 28.3. Halberg takes them past the 300 in 43.2 and 400 in 58.4. Hewson and Stanislav Jungwirth of Czechoslovakia are next. Delany is next to last at 60.0. The pack stays in order until around the curve. Lincoln makes a move to third entering the straight. Halberg continues to lead at 600 in 1:29.3. Lincoln them moves into first on the home straight and passes 700 in 1:44.6 as Britain’s Ian Boyd slips into second. Landy is running last, two spots behind Delany, probably the best finisher. 800 is reached in what Bert Nelson says is a “good 2:00.1”, but indeed the pace has fallen off to 61.7 on the second go around. Delany has dropped to 11th in 2:01.4. “A rapid finish is inevitable.” The big question is when will it start? Big kicker Ken Wood has moved to fourth. Landy has now joined the pack. At the bell, reached in 2:46.6, after a 62.0 lap, ……there is no bell. The ringer is too excited to do his job. Lincoln and Hewson are running abreast in the lead. Germany’s Klaus Richtzenhain moves to second around the curve. Significantly, Delany has also moved up, from 10th to 5th. 1200 is passed in 3:01.3. Down the back straight for the last time, Hewson is doing his best to open a cushion. Boyd is in contact and now Landy brings the crowd to its’ feet as he opens up. But here comes Delany! Running wide, the 21 year old Irishman, “the youngest man to ever better four minutes, sets out after the leaders in a fashion that all could see spelled nothing but trouble for those ahead and behind.” With 200 to go he is fourth behind Hewson, Boyd and Richtzenhain. In the last 100 meters he has cut Hewson’s lead from 8 yards to 3. Landy is now fifth. “Bursting off the turn, Ron flies past Hewson so fast that Brian appears to collapse.” With 75 meters to go, it is over. Delany has crushed the field. “The Villanova student crosses the finish line with an ear-splitting grin on his face and arms thrust wide as he wins Eirie’s first gold medal since 1932.” His last lap is 53.8. His time, 3:41.2, knocks 4 seconds off the Olympic record. Hewson finds the race 20 meters too long and drops to fifth in the last strides behind Richtzenhain, Landy and Tabori. Landy runs 54.9 for his last lap only to lose ground. Times for 2-5 are 3:42.0, 3:42.0, 3:42.4 and 3:42.6. Jungwirth is also 3:42.6 in sixth, followed by Neville Scott of New Zealand. 3:42.8 and Boyd, 3:43.0. Lincoln is last with an official time of 3:51.9. But what of Wood, Nielsen of Denmark and Halberg? They finished 9th, 10th and 11th. Their times? We will never know. Once again there weren’t enough stop watches to go around (except for Australians). That’s right, they did not get official times. Estimates from the stands had them 3:44, 3:45 and 3:45. Delany says, “I felt I had the race won when I took the lead.” And then, showing his grasp of the obvious, “When I hit the tape, I knew I had it.” He credited Landy with helping him when they ran in California in the spring. “He told me that I had the ability to be a good miler. Then he told me that I kept my shoulders too tight. And he taught me how to relax.” If ever anyone was a standup guy it is Landy. “Delany is a magnificent runner. He could easily break my world mile record and set a 3:55 mark. I could never have caught Delany. I could have caught Richtzenhain and got second place and I am very disappointed about that, but I started my run too late. But that didn’t matter either, for I just didn’t have it.” And to compound his lack of ego, “Most of the starters today would have beaten me any time except that the weather here has upset their form.” He added that this was the end of his career, but that he wasn’t going to waste five months of training. “I will have about five more races and give it away next February.”
4 X 100 FINAL
Yes, lane one is being used. The lucky recipients are the lads from Germany. The rest of the field from 2-6 is Great Britain, Italy, Russia and Poland, with the US on the outside. Bert Nelson writes. “5’4” 145 pound Ira Murchison got the Americans out in front in the outside lane, running the curve for the entire distance.” (His option would be?) A “fair” handoff gets Leamon King “flying down the backstretch with possibly the fastest running of the games”. The pass to Baker is where the Americans messed up in round one. Yep, they do it again as Baker is slow to get off. Much of the lead is lost. Baker runs a strong curve to open a margin once again, giving Morrow a “definite, but short advantage over the Russians”. Although Soviet anchor V. Sukharyev hadn’t made the team in either sprint and indeed isn’t fast enough to have an entire first name, Morrow can only open up another yard on him before hitting the tape in 39.5, breaking the world record of 39.8 set in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by the American team of Jesse Owens – Ralph Metcalfe – Foy Draper – Frank Wykoff. The Russians equal the record to take silver. The Germans overcome the misfortune of running what must be a cow path by now to take the bronze in 40.3.
4 x 400 METER RELAY
The American team is such an overwhelming favorite that had it run a JV squad of Southern, Davis, Culbreath and Sowell, it would still be the favorite. The other teams are Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Jamaica and Canada. Lou Jones leads off, but is nowhere near his 45.2 WR, running only 47.1 for a yard advantage over Australia. JW Mashburn clocks 46.4, but loses the margin to Dave Lean who catches him with a 46.3. At this point it is a two team race with Germany 8 yards back. The baton is passed to Charlie Jenkins and just like that it is over. The Olympic champion blazes 45.5 to open a 10 yard gap. You can afford to run your 400 meter champion on the third leg when you have your 800 meter champion on the anchor. Tom Courtney increases the margin to 12 yards with a 45.8 finish. The US runs 3:04.8 as there is little drama on the last lap with wide margins between teams. With Kevin Gosper’s 46.1 being the fastest non-US split, Australia picks up silver in 3:06. 2. Derek Johnson brings the Brits in third in 3:07.2. Germany, 3:08.2, and Canada, 3:10.2, are 4th and 5th. Jamaica brings up the rear at 3:11.6, but is disqualified for running out of its lane and causing interference.
ADDITIONAL NOTES
Yes, they had the walks, but I am not purist enough to report those. There were women’s events, but they were almost an afterthought. There is a brief report entitled “Cuthbert Paces the Girls” (underline mine). Oddly, there were more field events than running events. The HJ, BJ, DT, SP and JT were contested. American medalists were Mildred McDaniels with a 5-9 ¼ for gold and Willie White, at the start of an extremely long career, jumping 19’11 ¾ for silver. Other than that, it is a (bad pun coming up) field day for the Soviet bloc. Amazingly, there are only four running events: the 4x1, 80 hurdles, 100 and, for the distance runners, the 200. “Blonde Betty Cuthbert, 18 year old beginner” won the sprints and anchored the relay for her three golds. The issue reports these events from sense of duty, a sort of “oh, and there were women’s events, too” thing.
One last minute note. Serendipitously, I accidentally ran across an article on the internet today. Charlie Jenkins, who won the 400 and just today iced the 4 x4, ………flash ahead 54 years….. is today Dr. Charles Jenkins, a public affairs specialist for the US Social Security Administration.
Awhile back I made light of the fact that T&FN had changed its price from 25 cents to $3 a year. Well, it seems that is a bargain, as this issue cost a dollar. Money well spent. And, yes, Clifford Severn is still selling Adidas, “the world’s fastest shoe”, at 10636 Magnolia Blvd, No. Hollywood, California. Warm-ups $5.95 and up, Track Shoes $10.95 and up. “Order Now”

Note: There will be a delay until the next issue – April ’57 - is regurgitated. My long time good buddies, Buddy and Eric, will be visiting back to back for three weeks and I am not doing this crap when I could be sitting on the deck drinking beer. When we resume, we’ll find out how Bob Gutowski liked that new pole. Until that time.

Vol. 1 No. 33 Friday November 30, 1956

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1956
Heats in the 4 x 1, semis in the 4 x 4 and the second day of the decathlon comprise today’s activities.
DECATHLON 110 METER HIGHS (9:00)
The competition for the gold pretty much ends with this race. Campbell zips 14.0 while Johnson, knee bandaged and “seeming not to care” can only do 15.1, losing 333 points. Martin Lauer, Europe’s first 13.9 hurdler, can manage only 14.7, duplicating his time in the final. Campbell 5688, Johnson 5163 (525 behind), Lauer 4958 (730), Kuznetsov 4831 (857), Yang 4673 (1015).
DECATHLON DISCUS (10:00)
With the gold medal no longer in doubt, the question is can Kuznetsov catch Lauer for the bronze or maybe, if the stars align, Johnson for silver. The discus is one of three consecutive events in which he is strong. Indeed, he throws 156 and passes Lauer who can only muster 129. Campbell continues his dominance of Johnson, throwing 147-6 to Johnson’s 138-4. He is now 7-0 vs. Johnson. With lunch coming up, it is Campbell 6463, Johnson 5851 (612 behind), Kuznetsov 5855 (808), Lauer 5567 (896) and Uno Palu of the Soviet Union 5152 (1311). Yang’s 111-3 has drops him to 10 points out of fifth.
DECATHLON POLE VAULT (1:15)
Johnson finally tops Campbell, vaulting 12-9 to 11-2 and thereby gaining by 219 points. Campbell’s victory is not in doubt, but this puts a dent in his hopes of a world and Olympic records. He was hoping for the 12’ he cleared in the trials. Johnson’ effort minimizes the 12-ll ½ of Kuznetsov who can pick up a mere 25 points in his quest for the silver. Bob Richards demonstrates some potential in this event, vaulting 14-7. Aussie John Cann does not. His best is 8-10. Campbell 6939, Johnson 6546 (493 behind), Kuznetsov 6305 (634), Lauer 5931 (1008), Palu 5708 (1231).
4 x 100 HEATS
Four races qualifying three. Coach Jim Kelly his taking no chances. He has shortened the takeoff distance to make sure the passes are completed. The gold medal is more important than a world record. In the first race things nearly go awry anyway. The second pass from Leamon King to Thane Baker is a complete mess, yet the US wins easily over Great Britain 40.5 to 41.2. Pakistan is third. The second race qualifies Australia 40.6, France and Germany, both 40.8. Russia, Italy and Brazil (40.7, 40.9 and 41.6) survive the third race. Poland wins the fourth race in 40.9 followed by Hungary 41.5 and Japan 42.2. Tomorrow will see the semis and final.
DECATHLON JAVELIN THROW (4:15)
Kuznetsov makes a run at Johnson with the best throw of the day, 213-8, but Johnson rallies with a personal best of 197-8. Campbell also PRs at 187-3, huge because though the world record is out of sight, he now stands 48 points ahead of Mathias’ the Olympic record. Campbell 7607, Johnson 7284 (323), Kuznetsov 7159 (448), Palu 6476 (1131), Lauer 6471 (1136).
4 x 400 SEMIS
Three races qualifying two. In the first race Canada edges the U.S., both at 3:10.5. Czechoslovakia’s 3:10.8 goes unrewarded. Germany, 3:09.8 and Australia 3:10.3 move on in the second race. The day’s fastest time is posted by Great Britain in the third race as they run 3:08.7 to defeat Jamaica’s 3:10.9, leaving Russia’s 3:11.1 out in the cold.
DECATHLON 1500 (6:30)
It is cold and darkness is near. Campbell, who ran 5:06 in the trials, needs 4:57.2 to break the Olympic record. A time of 4:44.2 will beat the world record. Johnson has an 18 second advantage over Kuznetsov in the fight for silver. Campbell gets out quickly with a 74 first lap then falls back with 81.6 and 85.2. With 300 to go, he picks up steam. Aussie Ian Bruce is running alongside, encouraging him. A strong final 100 brings him in at 4:50.6 and gives him the Olympic record. Johnson goes out in 68 and 74, but pays the price. Still his 4:54.2 brings him in six tenths behind the Russian.
Campbell 7937, Johnson 7587, Kuznetsov 7465, Palu 6930, Lauer 6863. Bob Richards doesn’t contest the 1500 and ends up 12th with 5781.
“The two tired giants of the track world, Campbell and Johnson, supported each other under the protection of a single blanket as this greatest of all decathlons was concluded.”
Campbell says, “Bruce was like an angel in the 1500. I can’t think of any race where kid in the background would give up so much to help another……….I plan to stay in the Navy for another year and keep on running. If anyone asks me to do more than one thing at a time I will have to say no. This is my last decathlon.” Johnson: “I’ll be like Milton and look ahead four years. I’d sure like to win at Rome in 1960.”
Tomorrow is the final day. It will begin with the marathon. Both relay finals are on tap. The 1500 final is the last individual race. See you then.

Vol. 1 No. 32 Thursday November 29, 1956

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1956
Today we have semis and the final in the 400, the final in the steeplechase, three heats in the 1500 and the first day of the decathlon.
DECATHLON
The last two Olympic decathlons have been won by Bob Mathias. In 1952 the silver medalist was 18 year old Milt Campbell. He is now four years bigger, stronger, faster and should be the favorite. But wait, Rafer Johnson has hit the scene. He established a new world record and beat Campbell decisively in US Olympic Trials. He should be the favorite. But maybe not, as he has been plagued with a knee injury. The battle for the gold should be between the two of them with Russian Vasily Kuznetsov a strong contender for the bronze. Pole vault champion Bob Richards is the third American.
DECATHLON 100 (10 AM)
The times are disappointing right down the line. Whether it is the weather or the track isn’t made clear. Campbell runs 10.8 to gain 42 points on Johnson who clocks 10.9. Australia’s John Cain at 10.9 is the only other under 11. Germany’s Martin Lauer, he of the fourth place hurdle finish, runs 11.1. Kuznetsov and a young Chinese lad, Chuan Kuan Yang, are next at 11.2.
400 SEMIS
Twenty-five percent of the field is named Spence, the twins from Jamaica and Malcolm from South Africa. Ardalion Ignatev of the USSR takes the first race in 46.8 with Malcolm Spence second at 47.2. World record holder Lou Jones coasts home third in 47.4 to eliminate Mel Spence at 47.5. The second race looks more like a final. Kevin Gosper establishes an Australian record of 46.2 only to be eliminated as Charlie Jenkins 46.1, Voitto Hellsten of Finland 46.1 and Karl-Friedrich Haas of Germany 46.2 are faster. Mal Spence runs 47.4.
DECATHLON BROAD JUMP (11 AM)
This is an important event for Johnson as he is the better jumper (having made the team in this event). A 25 footer would give him a cushion. Campbell gets off an excellent 24’ 5/8” on his first jump. Johnson covers that, but just barely at 24’1”. Both foul on their second tries and pass the last. It would seem odd that Johnson would pass instead of trying to gain the advantage here. The reason becomes apparent: he has pulled a stomach muscle and doesn’t dare take a chance. As it is he has gained only four points and is 38 behind.
DECATHLON SHOT PUT (2:15)
Campbell throws 48’5½ to pull farther away from Johnson who puts 47’6” and gain another 31 points. Kuznetsov throws a fraction of an inch longer than Johnson and now sits third. Campbell 2738, Johnson 2668, Kuznetsov 2452.
1500 HEATS
Three races with four qualifying. This is one of the most interesting events of the games. There is no clear favorite and three Australians, Landy, Bailey and Lincoln, have as good a chance as anybody. The crowd is shocked when Jim Bailey fails to line up for the first heat. He has hay fever. After a practice lap at 66, it was evident that he could not compete. Still there is no lack of talent in the initial go around. After laps of 57.1 and 2:00.2, Germany’s Klaus Richtzenhain moves from the back of the pack to lead a tightly packed field at the bell in 2:47.6. Down the backstretch Hungary’s world record holder Istvan Rozsavolgyi moves to fifth, but it is soon obvious that is all he has. As with so many Hungarian athletes, he has lost condition by not being able to train because of the Hungarian Revolution. Ted Wheeler surprises by moving to fourth on the final curve, but the race is 100 meters too long. He finishes eighth in 3:49.9, three tenths behind young Frenchman, Michel Jazy. Richtzenhain is joined by Stanislav Jungwirth of Czechoslovakia, both at 3:46.6. Ian Boyd of Great Britain and Murray Halberg of New Zealand take the other qualifying spots at 3:47.0 and 3:47.2.
The second race is faster. Russia’s Olavi Sokolov leads a strung out following through 57.1 and 1:58.5. The crowd comes alive as Merv Lincoln takes command on the third lap, clocking 2:43.1 at the bell and 3:00.2 at 1200. He wins with yards to spare in 3:45.4. Other qualifiers are Britain’s Ken Woods 3:46.6, Ireland’s Ron Delany 3:47.7 and Lazlo Tabori of Hungary 3:48.0, a full second ahead of countryman Rozsavolgyi. Don Bowden, feeling the effects of a three week bout of mononucleosis in October, never had a chance, finishing in 3:59.7.
The third heat is packed with talent. The crowd is buzzing as John Landy is their man. This time the first lap is toured in a leisurely 62.1 with Landy sitting next to last. Sweden’s Dan Waern takes the lead at 800, reached in 2:05.2. Down the backstretch he is challenged by Germany’s Siegfried Herrmann, but Waern holds him off to lead at the bell 2:50.4. With six runners beginning to string out, Herrmann pulls up, spiked by Landy. Five charge into the final curve knowing that one will be eliminated. Neville Scott of New Zealand and Brian Hewson of England pull away down the straight to cross the line together in 3:48.0. Landy and Gunnar Nielsen of Denmark run 3:48.6 to make Waern, 3:48.8, a spectator for the finals to be run Saturday.
400 METER FINAL
The clear favorite is Lou Jones, the holder of the word record of 45.2. The fact that he loafed through his semi earlier today in 47.4 while his primary competitors had to run at least 46.2, only cements this fact. As the runners set their blocks, it is Malcom Spence of South Africa on the pole (Yes, we are talking about lane one. I am looking at two pictures which clearly show this to be the case.), while lanes 2-6 are occupied by Ardalion Ignatyev of Russia, Voitto Hellsten of Finland, Charlie Jenkins of Villanova, Karl-Friedrich Hass of Germany and Jones. D.H. Potts proves to be a master of the obvious as he writes, “At the gun all were off and running”. At 200 Jones has a two yard lead with a 21.8 split. Ignatyev and Spence are 22.0, Jenkins 22.2, Hellsten 22.3 and Hass is laying well off the pace at 22.7. As they come off the curve Jones still has the lead at 33.4, but Ignatyev is a tenth behind and looking strong. Looking even stronger is Jenkins who is running easily at 33.9. Then an odd thing happens. At the top of the straight “Jones appears to almost pull up and Ignatyev shot to the front with Hellsten in pursuit.” This European upset is immediately squelched by a powerful move by Jenkins who goes past and leaves no doubt as to the winner. Hass, last at the 300 (34.3) finishes stronger than anyone to take second. The finish photo, once again at an angle, shows Jenkins with considerable daylight, probably more than the times of 46.7 and 46.8 would indicate. Hellsten and Ignatyev battle stride for stride in adjacent lanes, crossing the finish at 47.0 so close that a photo cannot detect a margin. Both are given a bronze medal. Malcom Spence, running in the chewed up inside lane, finishes last in 48.3. But what of Jones, the WR holder? He says he felt fine physically, but the psychological shock of finding Ignatyev next to him when they came onto the straight caused him to freeze mentally. He had expected to be three yards ahead at that point and was not prepared for this eventuality. The photo of the finish shows him en route to finishing fifth at 48.1 with peculiar form. His body is twisted with his left shoulder a foot behind his right and his head askew, looking upwards. “Jenkins attributes his somewhat unexpected win to his coach’s last letter, admonishing him to run relaxed.” He is quoted as saying, “My coach back home has been sending me two telegrams a week with encouragement and advice. He was a darn sight more certain I would win than I was.” This unnamed coach would be none other than the great Jumbo Elliot.
DECATHLON HIGH JUMP (4:00)
Johnson is in trouble. He limps badly and it is obvious that he is in pain. It takes three tries before he clears 5’8 7/8” and three more to conquer 5’10 7/8”. He tops out at 6’0” to lose another 50 points to Campbell who keeps on chugging, clearing 6’2 7/8”. The best jump of the day belongs to C.K. Yang at 6’4 ¾” to move to fourth. Campbell 3624, Johnson 3475, Kuznetsov 3163, Yang 3109,
3000 METER STEEPLECHASE
Only nine competitors are on the starting line. The favorite is world record holder Sandor Rozsnyoi of Hungary. Even though he ran 8:46 in two days ago, it remains to be seen if the lack of training he endured during the hostilities will allow him to better than today. Ernst Larsen of Norway is determined to find out. He leads the field through a 65.7 opening lap with Britain’s John Disley and Russia’s Semyon Rzhishchin in tow. The order stays the same at 800 with the surprising Deacon Jones in the mix. Larsen tests his competition with a hard third lap and opens up eight yards. At 1600, reached in 4:37.4, Larsen is still four yards to the good and the field is intact. At 2000 meters (5:51) Larsen leads followed by Rzhishchin and Rozsnyoi. But now England’s Chris Brasher, best known for his pace making in Bannister’s Four Minute Mile, has moved to fourth. With 600 (7:02.3) to go, the Russian takes the lead and the field begins to string out. Rozsnyoi, Larsen, Brasher and Disley are in contention. At the bell, reached in 7:40, Rzhishchin leads, but the field is ready to attack. Rozsnyoi, the world record holder takes the lead, but Larsen is on his shoulder. As they come to the next to last hurdle, Larsen moves out a little so they won’t collide. That is all Brasher needs to create one of the most memorable incidents of these games. He shoots between Roz and Larsen, pushing Larsen as he does so. He has more left than anyone and powers to a convincing 15 yard victory in an Olympic record 8:41.2. Roz and Larsen take silver and bronze in 8:43.6 and 8:44.0. This is Britain’s first gold medal since the 1936 4 x 400 team. But is it? For three hours the results are not given. Has Brasher been disqualified? Finally the announcement: Brasher is disqualified. Rozsnyoi is declared the winner, Larsen moves to second and Heinz Laufer of Germany takes the bronze. Immediately Brasher appeals. He and Larsen are interviewed by the jury of appeal. Finally at 7:05, the appeal is upheld on the grounds that the contact was unintentional and Larsen was not hindered. Brasher states, “I knew I would win three laps from the finish because I felt strong.” Larsen is a stand up guy, “There was some interference, but I do not think it warranted a disqualification. It made no difference to the result.”
DECATHLON 400 (7:15)
Campbell makes it five for five over Johnson, adding another 40 points with a 48.8 to Johnson’s 49.3. Martin Lauer runs the day’s fastest time, 48.2. At the conclusion of the first day the top five are Campbell 4564, Johnson 4375 (189 back), Lauer 4064 (500), Kuznetsov 3991 (573) and Walter Meier of Germany 3941 (623). Obviously it is a two way battle between the Americans.
Once again the lights of Melbourne are twinkling as we exit the stadium. Tomorrow we will see heats in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 and the concluding five events in the decathlon.

Vol. 1 No. 31 Wednesday November 28, 1956

WEDNESDAY, NOV 28
Welcome back. Today we have the semis and finals in the highs, rounds one and two of the 400 and finals in the Shot Put and 5000 meters.
400 ROUND ONE
In the first round there are eight heats with three to qualify. The Americans have no trouble. Lou Jones wins his heat in 48.1. Charlie Jenkins and Jim Lea loaf home third in their heats, 48.3 and 48.7. The great George Kerr, who wasn’t so great at this time or distance, qualifies second in 49.7. There are Spences everywhere. Malcolm Spence of South Africa is joined by Jamaica’s Spence twins, Mel and Mal, in qualifying for the second round which will be in a couple hours.
SHOT PUT
There is the great Perry O’Brien and then there is everybody else. But maybe not. Bill Nieder had “the nine best tosses of my life” in competition in Honolulu en route to Melbourne, two of 61-6, all the rest over 60-4, so we shall see. O’Brien opens at 58-9. Nieder fouls. The second round sees O‘Brien improve to 60-7 while Nieder moves to second with 57-9. Nieder only throws 55 on his next two. O’Brien has two over 60. Ken Bantum takes over third in the fourth round with 57-4. Another American sweep is in the making. The fifth round sees Nieder improve to 59-7, but O’Brien answers with 60-11. On his last throw Jiri Skobla of Czechoslovakia, “a 258 pound bear”, moves past Bantum with 57-10. Bantum then fouls and the sweep is out the window. Now it is Nieder’s last throw, but he fouls and the gold belongs to O’Brien. O’Brien is disappointed in the distance, but happy about the gold. “The shots were new and there was nothing to grip on. Three of my best shots went off my hand incorrectly. And I’m not used to cement circles yet.”
110 METER HIGHS SEMI-FINALS
It is WR holder Jack Davis against Germany’s Martin Lauer in the first race. Davis coasts to a wide victory 14.0 to 14.4 with Lorger of Yugoslavia also qualifying in 14.6. The second race is tighter. Lee Calhoun once again beats Joel Shankle as both are clocked in 14.0. Stolyarov of the Soviet Union picks off the last qualifying spot at 14.5. In an hour these six will line up again.
5000 FINAL
An interesting side note here. The journalist covering this event is none other than Norris McWhirter. Name sound familiar? It might, as Norris and his twin, Ross, are co-editors of the British magazine Athletics World. But that is not the reason you might know the name. The McWhiter twins were co-editors of the Guinness Book of World Records. At this time 1000 copies of the 197 page book had been printed and given away. Norris was also a sidebar in one of the most famous moments in track and field history. He was a timer in Roger Bannister’s 4 minute mile and it was his voice that gave the famous announcement of the record “……..in a time of…………..three……” And now, on to the race.
There are 14 men who have broken 14 minutes at this distance and seven of them are standing on the starting line. Vladimir Kuts, the Iron Marine, is the favorite off his drubbing of a good field in the 10,000. Gordon Pirie, the 5000 WR holder (13:36.8) will have something to say about that. In his record race he vanquished Kuts. Indeed he has predicted a time of 13:25. Another runner to have defeated Kuts at this distance is Pirie’s countryman, Chris Chataway. Others with a medal chance are the third Britton, Derek Ibbotson, Australia’s Albie Thomas, Hungary’s Lazlo Tabori and MIklos Szabo. American champion Bill Dillinger is also in the field, but he has done well just to make the final. Aussie Al Lawrence, winner of the second heat, is injured and unable to run.
At 4:30 on a sunny but blustery day they are off. Kuts wastes no time taking the lead, passing 200 in 30.6 and 400 in 62.2. The first kilometer is reached in 2:40 with Pirie and Ibbotson in close attendance and the field still intact. The pace slows dramatically and 2000 is passed in 5:28. On the sixth lap Chataway joins his teammates in dogging the Russian. At 3000, the pace has picked up (8:11) and the four have opened up a 45 yard gap on the rest of the field. With four laps left, Chataway moves into second. He doesn’t stay there long. He suffers a stomach cramp and is done, falling back to 11th at the end. At 4000 the elastic has snapped. Kuts (10:57) has a gap of ten yards on Ibbotson and Pirie, a margin that widens to 50 at the bell. The “flaxen haired” Master of Sport tours the final lap in 62.2 to finish in 13:39.6. “Coming through the tape, as always, he raises his right arm as if to salute not only the mortals, but also the lesser immortals. Seventy yards behind, the world record holder Pirie passes his desperately tired compatriot Ibbotson (13:54.4) for the silver medal in 13:50.6 and is the first to congratulate the jubilant Russian who in his exuberance takes an extra ‘ovation lap’ during which his feet hardly seem to touch the ground.” Kuts’ 11 second margin is the best ever for the Olympic 5000. He is quoted as saying, “I could have run faster if the track had been firmer.” Pirie estimates Kuts’ performance as being worth 13:30 on a decent track.
110 METER HIGHS FINAL
They lined up from inside out: Shankle, Calhoun, Lorgar, Stolyarov, Davis and Lauer. They will be running into a 4mph wind. Calhoun, the best starter of the bunch, is off a foot before Davis, not unusual as this is how most of their races have begun. Lauer is out ahead of Davis as well. By the fifth hurdle Davis has cut the margin in half. He later says he was feeling confident at that point. Cordner Nelson writes of Davis, “He dug in with desperation born of four years of preparation for this one race, and over the last five flights no hurdler ever ran as fast. Over the last hurdle they battled, the two fastest hurdlers of all time….Calhoun, who had learned his finishing lunge from Davis, says, ‘As we drew near the line I felt that the one who lunged the farthest would win it. My head was in front of his and as I threw my shoulder at the tape, I saw Jack bend far over.’” (The photo contradicts this. Davis is three lanes to Calhoun’s right, but Calhoun has his head turned to the left as he dips.) The result is not readily apparent. These two had tied in the trials for the team; had it happened again? The photofinish sign flashes and 102,000 wait. Ten minutes pass before the scoreboard begins to spell out the results beginning with CA… The time is 13.5, considering the conditions, Cordner Nelson says that it is the fastest race of all time. But what of Joel Shankle? He runs a race unopposed by competition. His third place 14.0, puts him well behind the leaders, but well ahead of the rest of the field who finish in 14.7. It is another American sweep. Calhoun says, “I knew I had to run the race of my life. I did”. A disappointed Davis is less than gracious, “I pointed four years for this race, then I had to lose it because someone got hot.”
Now we are off to the pub to down a pint or two and discuss what we have seen today and what we will see tomorrow, specifically three heats in the 1500, semis and final in the 400, the steeplechase final and the first five events of the decathlon.

Vol. 1 No. 30 Tuesday November 27, 1956

TUESDAY, NOV. 27, 1956
200 METER SEMI-FINALS
In heat one Abdul Khaiq, “Asia’s fastest man” finishes fourth behind Baker 21.1, Morrow 21.3 and da Conceicao 21.4 and is done. The second race sees Stanfield and Agostini run the curve hard and coast up the straight in 21.1 and 21.3 ahead of Boris Tokaryev of the USSR also 21.3. There you have the contestants in today’s final a couple hours off.
DISCUS
This is the third time world record holder Fortune Gordien is the favorite for the discus gold. So far it hasn’t happened. This will be his last chance. All that is necessary to qualify for the finals is 154-2. Al Oerter leads at 167-11. Gordien throws 156-4 and Des Koch, subbing for Ron Drummond who opted for dental school, makes the qualifying mark by five inches. I’m guessing each American took only one throw.
Let’s flash back to June 16 and Berkeley, California, the NCAA Championships to be exact. UCLA wins the team title in large part because Al Oerter, the favorite, does not come through in the clutch. He can do no better than 168-9 and places fourth as Kansas comes up 4.7 points short of the Bruins. Had he won, the team trophy would be housed in Lawrence, Kansas right now. Wonder if he thought of that as he stepped into the circle for his first throw of the finals. No more is it a collegiate contest with fresh faced youngsters; it is the Olympics with the greatest throwers in the world, including one, Italy’s Adolfo Consolini, possessor of Olympic gold and silver medals, who was throwing before Oerter was born.
If any of this was bothering Oerter, it didn’t show. Throwing last in the first round, he won the gold on his first throw, 184-10½. He had two other throws over 180. Gordien, who had led at 179-7, could only improve another two inches, an effort that was rewarded with a silver medal. Koch edged Britain’s Mark Pharoah by five inches for third at 178-5½ for the third American sweep of the games. The great Consolini could do no better than sixth at 171-3½. Once the issue was decided, “the victorious Americans threw their arms around each other, hugging and patting like schoolgirls.” Long time rivals Gordien and Consolini “grinned, hugged and patted.” Lots and lots of patting going on.
STEEPLECHASE HEATS
Two heats, five qualify. The first heat included the world record holder, Sandor Rozsnyoi of Hungary and the defending Olympic champion, Horace Ashenfelter. Also in the field is young Charles Jones, better known as Deacon. Rozsnyoi takes the early lead and holds it to finish in 8:46.6, a time equaled by John Disley of Great Britain. Norwegian veteran, Ernst Larsen is only two tenths back. The surprise is Jones running a 12.6 PR to finish fourth in 8:47.4. Ashenfelter has a bad arch which forces him to make his water jump takeoffs and landings with the same foot. Even with this handicap, he runs 8:51.0 equaling his Olympic record. Unfortunately it is not enough and he finishes three seconds outside of qualifying.
The second heat has former WR holder Semyon Rzhishchin of the USSR, the dangerous British duo of Chris Brasher and Eric Shirley and the Chicago Track Club’s Phil Coleman who recently set an AR of 8:47.8 at two miles. Unfortunately Coleman suffers from a cold and hay fever and runs 9:10.0 to finish out of the money in 9th. Shirley leads a tightly packed group across the finish line in 8:52.6. Rzhishchin is the runner up. Brasher takes fourth. The final will be held two days hence on Thursday.
110 HIGHS FIRST ROUND
As we remember, world record holder Jack Davis bested his main competition thirteen days ago, running 13.9 to edge Lee Calhoun 14.1 and Joel Shankle 14.3. Three days after that he bettered his WR record with a 13.3 to once again beat Calhoun who ran 13.6 (13.5 in a heat), though the time will not be approved for lack of a wind gauge. Once again an American sweep is highly likely. Germany’s Martin Lauer is the only other hurdler with a chance for a medal. There are four heats with three qualifying. There are no surprises. Davis 14.0, Calhoun 14.1 and Shankle 14.0 take the first three. Lauer zips 14.1 to take the fourth. Tomorrow will see the semis and the final.
HOP-STEP-JUMP
If there is any event other than the PV and SP that has a solid favorite it is the HSJ. Adhemar Ferreira da Silva of Brazil holds the WR at 54-4 and is the defending Olympic champion. He has been the dominate jumper in the world for six years. The only question today is who will get the silver and bronze. The morning’s trials eliminate 10, leaving an unwieldy 22 for the final. The first round leader is Bill Sharpe of the US who jumps 52-1½. This is a surprise because Sharpe is only the second ranked American behind Ira Davis and hadn’t been seen as a contender. Normalcy returns in the second round as da Silva betters that with a jump of 52-7½. No sooner than he had put on his sweats, the stadium comes alive as Iceland’s Vilhjalmur Einarsson (say that three times fast) shocks the field with an Olympic record of 53-3½. His best previous to this year had been 49-10. Could this be the upset of the games? The third round sees Russia’s Vitold Kreer move ahead of Sharpe for the bronze with 52-6½. Unfortunately Sharpe is in no position to fight back. He has pulled a muscle and, after a foul and a 46 footer, has to pass his three jumps in the finals. With only five jumpers left, the competition speeds up. da Silva demonstrates his mastery in the first round with a 53-7¾ effort to claim his birthright. His final two jumps exceed 53’ as well. Einarsson fouls on his last two jumps and earns the silver. Kreer doesn’t improve and takes home the bronze. Sharpe is fourth with an American record and the thought of what might have been. da Silva says he has been so busy at his job (not mentioned) that he hadn’t really trained until a month ago. Also the cold weather has bothered him. “I usually compete in temperatures over 100 degrees.” Amazingly, no triple jumper is quoted complaining about the runway. “Reporters attempting to find an interpreter who could help interview runner-up Einarsson of Iceland were amazed to hear him say, ‘English will do me boy. I am a graduate of Dartmouth University in the States.’”
200 METER FINAL
The draw for lanes has Agostini, Tokaryev, Morrow, Stanfield, da Canceicao and Baker from inside out. Wiser heads have prevailed and the first lane is not being used. D.H. Potts uses poetic license to assume Morrow’s worried look is an injury that will be aggravated by having to run the curve hard. Later Morrow says it is because Stanfield is running so well. I’m thinking that it might have been because, you know……… this was an Olympic final? Potts says that “Poor Baker was so upset by his outside lane draw that he put his blocks in backwards causing a ‘get up’ at the first starting attempt”. Hey, I am just reporting what I read here.
The Americans run the turn well and come into the straight close together with a gap to the rest of the field. Morrow separates at this point and soon has a two yard lead. Stanfield holds on for second with Baker third. The times: 20.6, 20.7 and 20.9. Agostini picks up fourth at 21.1. The photo is at an angle, but it appears Baker is closer to Stanfield than Stanfield is to Morrow. Stanfield, the defending champ, says the track is two tenths slower than Helsinki. Morrow’s time is the Olympic record, breaking the 20.7 of Stanfield and Jesse Owens in 1936. Morrow says, “I was really worried about Stanfield before the start, but when we came out of the turn I had Stanfield covered and the race won.” Stanfield is quoted as saying, “I thought I would win today, but my body felt weak. I put all my heart into it, but I lost to a better guy.” Baker says, “My ankles hurt around the curve and I was unable to exert full pressure until the run up the straight, but that is no excuse. My only gripe is that In Helsinki I had the outside lane, and now the outside lane again here. It’s just one of those tough breaks. Anyway, I stand a chance of getting medals of all colors.” The 4 x 1 will be run Saturday. We will have to wait until then to know, Thane.

On tap tomorrow are the first two rounds of the 400, semis and finals in the highs and the 5000 and shot put finals. I’ll save a seat for you.

Vol. 1 No. 29 Monday November 26, 1956

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1956
Yesterday was an off day. The competition continues today with the finals in two field events, the pole vault and the javelin, the heats of the 5000, rounds one and two of the 200 and the final in the 800.

POLE VAULT
Actually the prelims were held Friday though they went unnoticed by me. It was then that the most dramatic moment of the event took place. Bob Richards, the overwhelming favorite, missed his first two attempts at 13-1. On the first attempt he hadn't check the position of the standards, which were too far forward, causing him to hit the bar on his way up. He cleared by a foot on his second jump, but a gust of wind pushed his pole into the bar. One more miss and he is done. This time he waits until the wind has stopped gusting and clears by a foot.
If you thought the long jumpers and runners hated the condition of the runway and track, this was nothing compared to the vaulters, who detest their runway. The continuance of excessive wind adds to their angst. George Mattos says, “I expected better at the Olympics”. To emphasize how bad the conditions are, let me get ahead of the story and state that only four men got over 14'.
With the bar at 14-3+, the remaining competitors are Richards and Mattos with no misses and Bob Gutowski and George Roubanis of Greece with one miss each.
Let's take a moment with Roubanis at this point. As the Greek flag bearer, he was the first to enter the stadium in the parade of athletes. He is extremely familiar with his American competitors as he attended Occidental where, along with Gutowski, he was coached by Payton Jordan. He has recently transferred to UCLA. His place in vaulting history is assured by his use of a “revolutionary glass pole. Made by a fiberglass concern in California, the dull yellow pole can be bent to a 90 degree angle without breaking and possesses tremendous snap.” Yeah, well, we'll see how that works out.
With the bar at 14-5¼, Gutowski takes two tries to clear and falls behind Richards who clears on his first try. Mattos misses on all three attempts, so when Roubanis clears on his second attempt, the medal winners are decided, except for the who gets what medal part. The bar is now set at 14-7¼. Richards and Roubanis both clear on their first attempts, but Gutowski needs three tries and falls to third. On to 14-9 1/8 we go. No problem. Everyone clears on the first attempt. The bar is raised to 14-10 3/8 where Gutowski and Richards clear on their first tries, but Roubanis misses all three and settles for bronze. Both Americans miss their first tries at 14-11½, but Richards clears on his second attempt and then watches as Gutowski misses twice more and it is over. The good reverend, satisfied that his day's work is done, declines to attempt further heights.
Richards is quoted as saying, “The track was slow. There was no speed or spring in it. And on top of that the wind was shockingly bad. It cut across at an angle and was difficult to estimate.”
The subject then turns to Roubanis' pole. Mattos, who had planned to retire, says he will stick around and give the fiberglass pole a try. Gutowski is intrigued. He will use the fiberglass pole and says he is aiming for 16'. Not Richards; he is retiring.

200 FIRST ROUND
Familiar names dominate the opening round. Twelve heats with two qualifying. Germany's Karl-Friedrich Hass, better known as a 400 man, wins the second heat in 21.4. Trinidad's Mike Agostini takes the third heat in 21.6. Andy Stanfield runs 21.5 in the fourth race. The seventh race is won by Thane Baker in 21.4. 100 champ Bobby Morrow loafs home in 21.8 to win the ninth. The day's fastest time belongs to Pakistan's Abdul Khaliq 21.1.

5000 HEATS
Three races with five qualifying. The first race sees WR holder Gordon Pirie running away from the pack with a 2:39.5 kilo only to slow drastically and finish in 14:25.6, allowing Yugoslavia's Velisa Mugosa to come along side at the finish. They hold hands as the cross the line. Other qualifiers include American record holder Bill Dillinger and Russian Pyotr Bolotnikov. The second and third heats are more fun for the fans. Australians win both. Allan Lawrence beats a disinterested Vladimir Kuts in 14:14.6 as Lazlo Tabori (“the 25 year old Czech born Hungarian with the wicked smile”), Derrek Ibbotson and Germany's Herbert Schade also qualify. Albie Thomas, his best days still ahead of him, runs the day's fastest time, 14:14.2 to win by 15 seconds over a Kenyan runner, Maiyoro Nyandika. Chris Chataway eases in fifth. The final will be held two days hence.

JAVELIN THROW
It takes 216' to qualify for the finals. All three Americans do so easily. Defending champion Cy Young
has the leading throw of 245-3, bettering his Olympic record by three feet. Young has been throwing well in practice including a 261 footer, but twisted his ankle five days before. His ankle is taped and he says that will cause him to throw flat footed. Bennie Garcia and Phil Conley are 9th and 12th at 233-6 and 224-8.
Through three rounds of the final Januz Sidlo of Poland has a commanding 13 foot lead with a throw of 262-4. In the fourth round, Norway's Egil Danielsen, who will have no other throw over 239', ends the competition with an astounding world record of 281-2½. No one is close. Sidlo is second while Tsibulenko of the Soviet Union pulls the bronze at 260-10. This is the first meet in which three men have bettered 260'. The Americans are a disappointed lot. Conley and Young are 10th and 11th at 228-9 and 225-2. Garcia fouls three times. Young said, “I hate to pass out of the track picture this way. When I think of all the time and effort I put into this campaign only to have it end this way, I could choke myself. I'm going to hang up my javelin and grow walnuts from now on.”

200 SECOND ROUND
Four heats, three qualify. In the first race Khaliq edges Agostini, both 21.1. Americans take the next three races: Stanfield 21.1, Baker 21.2, Morrow 21.9. The semis and finals are tomorrow.

800 FINAL
Lining up on the curved line near the start of the curve are the eight finalists: Emil Leva of Belgium, Tom Courtney, Arnie Sowell, Audun Boysen of Norway, Mike Farrell of Great Britain, Derek Johnson of Great Britain, Bill Butchart of Australia and Lon Spurrier.
Two false starts (Leva and Johnson) and they are off. Courtney takes advantage of his position near the pole and leads around the curve. On the backstretch Sowell takes over and passes 200 in 25.1. He holds the lead around the curve and down the straight, completing the first lap in 52.8 with Courtney, Boysen and Johnson in close attendance. There is a significant gap to the remaining four. Sowell is hoping to set a fast pace and “burn them off”, but it isn't happening. 600 goes by in 1:20.4 as Courtney pulls alongside. Around the turn they go, shoulder to shoulder, but it is not an exclusive US race. Boysen and Johnson are right there. As they enter the final straight, they are fighting not only fatigue, but a strong, hampering wind. Sowell begins to fade, opening a gap for Derek Johnson who is running the race of his life. He comes up to Courtney's shoulder on the inside. Then, miraculously, he edges past the American champion. Could this be the upset all England is hoping for? For a moment that appears to be the case. But wait, Tom Courtney isn't Tom Courtney for nothing. Painfully he pulls even. The two run shoulder to shoulder 30 meters from the finish. Perhaps the wind played a part. European editor R.L. Quercetani thinks so. “By then the adverse wind obviously began to tell, and Courtney, taller and squarer than his British rival, finally won with a desperate driving throw at the tape. Boysen edges the fading Sowell for the bronze. Farrell beats Spurrier for fifth “as Spurrier stops” (?). There is photo of the finish. Spurrier has half a yard on Farrell with 10 to go. Courtney's time is 1:47.7. Johnson is 1:47.8. Boysen edges Sowell 1:48.1 t0 1:48.3. Farrell and Spurrier are 1:49.2 and 1:49.3. What of Leva and Butchart you may ask. No times are given for them. This is common in these games. Those past 3rd, 6th, 8th or 9th, depending on the race, are not given a time. Apparently Australian officials lack funds for stopwatches.
Courtney says, “It is the greatest thrill of my life. I just threw my life into the race, but 30 yards from the tape I seemed to run out of steam. I thought Johnson had me. I moved out of my lane 50 yards from home (indeed, the photo shows him in the third lane as he finishes) because I wanted to have a clear run. Usually I am able to explode about 150 yards from home, but not this time.”
Johnson adds his voice to those complaining about the track. “It is a disgrace – the Olympic Games should never be held on a cinder track as bad as this. This is the worst track for top level competition I have ever run on. The track is far too soft. It is murder running behind another competitor; the cinders are thrown right at you.”
Sowell, who was on crutches last August after playing basketball and spraining his ankle, (Wait a minute, you made the Olympic team and you were playing basketball? Basketball? What is wrong with.........Oops, that was outloud wasn't it? Sorry.) said, “I tried to set a fast pace to kill them off, but all I succeeded doing was to kill myself off.”

As the lights of Melbourne come on, we trudge out of the stadium, warmed by the knowledge that tomorrow we will see the semis and final in the 200, the first round of the highs, heats in the steeplechase and finals in the discus and hop-step-jump. Until that time.

Vol. 1 No. 28 Saturday November 24, 1956

Now it is Culbreath's turn to sue. Why on earth with only 6 in the final do they use lane 1, leaving 7 and 8 empty.

800 semis sure were alot different than the ones 4 years later at Rome and they had an extra day of rest following those
"fast" 1"53.6 and 1:50 winning semi heats. But I recall the final two days later was pretty swift.





SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1956
The first day of competition produced a wave of complaints regarding the softness of the track. Indeed, in a couple photos one can see cinders being displaced by the runners' strides. Well, the track hasn't gotten any better and today we have a chill wind.

100 METER SEMIFINALS
Six men in each heat with three going to the final. Ira Murchison is out fast in the first race. Mike Agostini of Trinidad and Fresno State closes at the end as they both run 10.5. Manfred Germar of Germany takes third at 10.6. In the second semi, Morrow explodes midway to distance himself from Baker and Hec Hogan of Australia as the three qualify for the finals two hours hence. Morrow 10.3, Baker 10.4 and Hogan 10.5.

BROAD JUMP
As far as the quality of marks, this was the most disappointing event of the games. The contestants are are jumping into a strong wind and the runway is no better than the track and too short as well, 125 feet, a deficiency that John Bennett compensates for by starting his run “far around the bend”. Bennett takes the lead in the first round with 25-2+, a mark that would be his best of the day. Greg Bell takes over in the second round with a leap of 25-8+. These marks stand up for the gold and silver medals as no one else betters 25'. Rafer Johnson, the third American jumper, scratches with an injured knee. How much this will effect his decathlon performance is unknown.

400 METER HURDLE SEMIFINALS
Eighteen year old Eddie Southern is not intimidated. Matched against his nemesis, WR holder Glenn Davis, in the first semi, Southern changes his step pattern from 13 to 15 and runs to an Olympic record of 50.1. Davis looks ragged and is only fourth at the eighth hurdle before rallying to take second in 50.7. In the second heat Josh Culbreath is very impressive, running a easy looking 50.9 to defeat Australia's Dave Lean by three yards. “(Culbreath) was hardly blowing at the end and immediately walked over, picked up his blocks and sauntered off the field.” The final is to be run in 2½ hours.

800 METERS
There are two semifinals run today with four qualifying for the final on Monday. The first race is run at a “funeral pace.” Courtney and Spurrier run 1-2 at 1:53.6. Arnie Sowell has to work harder in the second. He runs 1:50.0 to win a close race as 1:50.3 doesn't make the final.

HAMMER THROW
The morning trials eliminate seven throwers. Fifteen make the finals with the USSR's Anatoliy Samotsvetov having the best throw of 195-3. At the completion of the first round Samotsvetov has taken the lead at 203-8+. Hal Connolly fouls. In the second round Samotsvetov's countryman, Mikhail Krivonosov takes over first with 206-8+. Al Hall moves to third with 202-10+. Connolly can only manage 199-10+. Connolly comes alive in the third round, moving Hall out of a medal position with 205-6+. Krivonosov answers by improving an inch. The competition is pared to six at this point with Csermak of Hungary and Racid of Yugoslavia rounding out the field. No one improves in the fourth round. With two rounds remaining, Krivonosov leads at 206-9, followed by Connolly at 205-6, Samatosvetov at 203-8 and Hall at 202-10. Connolly comes through in the fifth round with 207-3+ to take the lead. Krivonosov, the European champion, fouls on his two final attempts and finishes second. Samatosvetov cranks out his best effort, 205-3, in the sixth round, but it is only good for the bronze. Al Hall also improves to 203-3 on his last throw, but it isn't good enough for a medal. Connolly reveals that he had changed to ballet slippers before the final and thought it helped. In an intriguing aside, the US only had two throwers. Cliff Blair, a 217' man who placed second in the trials, “had been barred from the competition by an action of the US Olympic Committee, on a charge of persistently refusing to stop writing newspaper articles (it was said later that Blair had been sending letters to the editor of the Boston Globe, which the newspaper converted to articles under Blair's byline.)” In a further notation in Cordner Nelson's Track Talk, “Hal Connolly has cancelled plans to retire so that he can get to Europe to visit Olympic discus champ Olga Fikotova.” We all know what happened with this.

100 FINAL
By this time the track was badly broken up and a cold wind was blowing (the direction isn't given, but apparently it wasn't aiding), making a fast time out of the question. There is a photo of the finish which shows sprays of cinders being kicked up by the runners feet.
It is Hogan who is out first, opening daylight from the other five. Morrow responds, catching the Australian at the midpoint and pulling away for a decisive victory. Baker and Murchison also catch Hogan with 25 meters to go, but Hogan rallies or Murchison fades and the Aussie has the bronze behind Baker who leans at the tape for the silver. The photo of the finish, albeit taken at an angle, shows Morrow with a decisive margin over Baker, yet both are credited with 10.5. Hogan is 10.6 and Murchison 10.8 (seemingly a large margin if they had been even at 75 meters. Germar and Agostini are never in it and finish at 10.9). The times are testament to the poor conditions. Agostini is quoted as saying, “I thought I had beaten Baker with Murchison second and me third”, making one wonder what race he was talking about.

400 METER HURDLE FINAL
Only six finalists on an eight lane track, yet lane one is being used, unfortunately by Josh Culbreath. Working out in lanes it is Eddie Southern, Gerhardus Potgeiter of South Africa, Glenn Davis, Yuri Lituyev of the USSR and Dave Lean of Australia. Southern takes a slight early lead which lengthens down the backstretch. He clears the fifth hurdle in 22.5 with Davis right behind in 22.7. Davis' strength comes into play as he edges past the Texan. The two clear the eighth hurdle in 35.8 and 35.9. From here on it is all Davis. He lengthens his lead at the ninth hurdle to two yards. At the tenth he has three yards and stretches the margin to five yards at the tape, tying Southern's hours old Olympic record of 50.1. That effort in the semis certainly lessened Southern's chances in the final as he finishes in 50.8. Potgeiter leads Culbreath and Lituyev, but is losing ground at the tenth hurdle though he still has a yard lead in the battle for the bronze. Alas, it is not the South African's day. He clips the hurdle with his trail leg and goes down. Dave Lean comes on fast but can't catch Culbreath or the Russian as they go through the finish nearl together. Culbreath medals in 51.6, the same time given Lituyev with Lean a tenth back. Potgeiter picks himself up and soldiers on to finish in 56.0. The American sweep is the first of the games. It would not be the last.
Once again the track and wind took their toll. Davis says, “Actually I ran faster than I figured I would. The track was a little soft and I thought the wind was distracting. I feared Southern all the way and kept thinking he might shoot past. But I figured I had it won when I reached the eighth hurdle ahead. When I crossed the finish line I just looked up in the sky and said 'thanks'.”
Tomorrow is an off day. Competition resumes Monday.

Vol. 1 No. 27 Let the Games Begin Friday November 23, 1956

The 1956 Olympic Games are upon us, but before we start, we need to report some marks made on Australian soil. Phil Coleman runs second to England's Chris Brasher at two miles but establishes an American record of 8:47.8. More significantly, Jack Davis demonstrates that he is the man to beat in the 110 highs, running 13.3 to take a tenth off his world record, though it may not be recognized for the lack of a wind gauge. Three days earlier he had proven his superiority over his toughest competition by running 13.9 to beat Milt Campbell 14.0, Lee Calhoun 14.1 and Joel Shankle 14.3.


Friday, November 23

Two finals today: the high jump and 10,000 meters. The first two rounds of the 100 meters, the first rounds of the 800 and 400 Intermediates will also be contested.

100 METERS
Americans breeze in their heats. Ira Murchison wins the first heat in 10.5. Thane Baker takes the ninth heat in 10.7 and Bobby Morrow wins the twelfth in the round's fastest time, 10.4. Other 10.5s are produced by Marian Foik of Poland and Australia's Hec Hogan.
Four second round heats have Morrow (10.3), Hogan (10.5), Murchison (10.3) and Baker (10.4) winning. The semis and final will be run tomorrow.

10,000 METERS
The match here is between WR holder (28:30.4) Vladimir Kuts and Great Britain's strong finishing Gordon Pirie, the WR holder at 5,000. The rest of the field is competing for the bronze medal. Sandor Iharos, the holder of seven world records is not in Melbourne for “stated reasons”. Unfortunately, since we don't have access to the previous issue, we don't know what they are, though undoubtedly they are related to the Hungarian revolution.
The race starts the way everyone thought it would: Kuts setting the pace with Pirie in tow. On the seventh lap Kuts moves out to let Pirie pass on the inside. Pirie isn't biting. Kuts then alters his pace, sprinting on the backstretch and slowing to a near jog on the curve, passing eight laps in 9:00. He continues this behavior through 12 laps (13:32) and it is estimated that the two pass 5000 in 14:06, equaling Zatopek's Olympic record for this distance. At this point Kuts' erratic pace is taken to a new level. He slows to 71.1 and 71.6 and moves out to the third lane in an effort to tempt Pirie. On the 16th lap he runs 73.7 and motions Pirie to pass. Again, Pirie sticks to his plan to wait and kick. On the 20th lap, Kuts swings out and slows so dramatically that Pirie is forced to lead. Kuts follows for the curve, then blasts past on the straight. With four laps to go, a gap of four yards has been opened. It is over at this point. Pirie falls back 15 seconds in the next lap and is obviously done. Jozsef Kovacs of Hungary finishes second, seven seconds back with Allan Lawrence of Australia taking third a second later to win the home country's first medal. Pirie limps home eighth, 64 seconds behind the winner.

800 METERS
Five heats are run with the top three advancing. Norway's Audun Boysen wins the first in 1:52.0. Tom Courtney takes the second at 1:52.7. Jim Bailey, buoyed by the wild support of the Aussie fans, comes home two tenths ahead of Arnie Sowell in 1:51.1 in the third heat. Gunnar Nielsen of Denmark takes the fourth heat, closely followed by Lon Spurrier, 1:51.2 and 1:51.5. The fastest time of the day belongs to Derek Johnson of Great Britain who wins the last heat in 1:50.8. The semi finals will be tomorrow and the final two days later after an off day on Sunday.

400 METER HURDLES
Six heats with two qualifying will furnish 12 survivors for tomorrow's semis and, 2½ hours later, the final. The Americans win the first three heats easily: Glenn Davis 51.3, Eddie Southern 51.3 and Josh Culbreath 50.9, a tenth off the Olympic record. The only man with a chance to break up an American medal sweep is Russia's Yuri Lituyev, who wins his heat in 51.6.

HIGH JUMP
19 year old Charlie Dumas, the only man to have jumped seven feet, is the overwhelming favorite, yet the American coaches are worried. In the previous 23 days Dumas had only jumped once, when forced to by coach Jim Kelly. He also had not been training. “I believe in stretching exercises for high jumpers,” he explained. “I also jog a lot and lie on a bed kicking up my legs. I jump only in meets.” Qualifying began at 10 AM. There was break for lunch (Dumas ate a sandwich, a hardboiled egg and half a box of raisins) before the finals, consisting of 22 jumpers, began. Opening height is 5'10 7/8”. Decathlon man C.K. Yang goes out at 6'3 5/8”. After 6'6 ¾ only ten jumpers remain. The next height, 6'7 7/8, cuts that number in half. Dumas misses once at that height and trails bespectacled Chilla Porter, the Australian champion, and Russia's Igor Kashkarov. Also in at that height are Canada's Ken Money and Stig Petersson of Sweden. Money is gone at 6'9”, a height that takes Peterson three efforts. The others clear on their first jump. At 6'9 7/8 Porter clears on his second try. Dumas makes his first as does Kashkarov who assumes in the lead with no misses. The tide of battle turns at the next height, 6'10 5/8”, where the Russian is eliminated. Dumas clears on his second jump and now leads Porter who takes three tries. With Dumas jumping first, the pair takes turns missing twice. At 7:22 Dumas puts on his blue jumping shoes and is ready for his third jump. What follows is verbatim. “Later, he was asked what he was thinking then, and this 19 year old whose physical feats far outweigh his mental, said 'I figured they would flip a coin to decide it and I would surely lose.'” (You can't make up stuff like this.) He barely ticks the bar as he clears. Now it is up to the 21 year old Porter who misses and the gold belongs to Dumas with nary a coin being flipped.

Now, as the twilight fades to darkness, we look forward to tomorrow when we will see the semis and finals in the 100, the 800 semis, the 400IH semis and finals and the broad jump and hammer throw finals.

Vol. 1 No. 26 October 1956

OCTOBER, 1956
I don’t have the September issue so obviously some information, including the results of the four US tune-up meets, has gone missing. Additionally, I don’t have the November issue, so this will be it before the games begin.
European distance runners are setting the tone. Sandor Rozsnyoi, the world record holder at 1000, 1500 and 2000, adds a fourth WR with an 8:35.6 steeplechase. Four distance WRs makes him the second coming of Henry Rono. Oops, make that the first coming. This is not to say that Rozsynoi is unbeatable. Gordon Pirie jumps on the WR bandwagon by beating Rozsynoi at 3000 in 7:52.8 to Roz’s 7:53.4. Pirie previously set the 5000 WR of 13:36.8. But wait, the records continue to come. Vladimir Kuts of Russia just ran 28:30.4 at 10K to break Sandor Iharos’ record by 12 seconds. Throw in Iharos, England’s Chris Chataway, who recently finished a 5000 with a 38.8 300, and the great Emil Zatopek and the Melbourne distances look to provide great entertainment. Zatopek was recently operated on for a hernia and is reportedly in poor shape. He will concentrate on the marathon though he may run the 10K on the opening day as a “warm up”.
The middle distances are equally unpredictable. Ireland’s Ron Delany has the world’s fastest mile this year, 3:59.0, but was beaten by England’s Derek Ibbotson at 1500. 3:44.4 to 3:44.6. Rozsnyoi’s 3:40.6 makes him the favorite, but with so much time left before the Nov. 23 start of the games, one wonders who will maintain fitness and who will be run out. Norway’s 1:46.4 man, Audun Boysen, undefeated at 800 and the prime competition for Sowell and Courtney, says he will pass on the Olympics. The guess here is that they conflict with ice fishing season.
Two American throwers have suddenly put themselves in medal contention. Bud Held set the national record in the javelin with a 270 foot toss. Hal Connolly did him one better, breaking the WR in the hammer at 218-10+. With our contingent in the shot and discus, the throws should go well for the US.
The high school list fills a page and a half. Jerry White of Corcoron, CA is tied for the lead in the 100 with 9.5 and dominates the 440 at 46.7, but oddly is not listed at 220. He did make the list in the 880 at 1:55.6 . Speaking of the 880, the leader is Jerry Siebert of Willits, CA. I am fascinated by this guy. Willits is a town of 5000, 25 miles north of Ukiah, in the middle of nowhere. Many years ago I stopped by to see the records posted in the gym. He held (and I guarantee you he still does) the 220, 880 and mile, but oddly, not the 440 which wasn’t anything special. As he was a stalwart on those great Cal mile relay teams, I found this strange. Hayes Jones hurdled 14.3 for a tie for seventh fastest mark. Willie White of LA Jefferson leads the lows at 18.9 along with being tied with four others for the 100 lead at 9.5. He is not the only LA Jefferson national leader. Oscar Bean broad jumped 25-4+. Jefferson lead the country in the 880 relay at 1:25.9. They definitely had some sprinters. The quartet is pictured. Bean isn’t one. Jeff also lead the 8 man mile relay (don’t ask) at 2:56.3. (Just did some research on Jefferson as I don’t remember the school being mentioned in any sports context in recent years. Apparently it has been restructured without sports.) In a burst of record keeping accuracy, Marv Sturgeon of Cannelton, IN is listed as 13th in the 880 at 1:55.8, but in a section at the end of the lists entitled “Other Events” is credited with an 800 mark of 1:52.5. Apparently conversions were frowned upon at that time.
Page 10 has a photograph of five pole vaulters. Bob Richards, a Long Beach guy, is shown wearing an LB Poly shirt with the script green on faded gold “Poly” just as I remember it from my Poly days.
Lots of columns, the fun stuff: Track Talk (Cordner Nelson), On Your Marks, Bank Notes (Dick Banks) and So They Tell Me (Bert Nelson). On Your Marks (no author mentioned) mentions that five soon to be US college athletes will be competing for Jamaica: George Kerr, Ernie Haisley, Keith Gardener and the Spence twins, Mel and Mal. O’Brien’s shot and discus double in Eugene was the best ever. Not having last month’s issue, we don’t know what it was. Houston’s cross country success is assured for the near future as John Macy and Jerry Smart have just enrolled. Ohio State coach Larry Snyder is in India “helping to train the Olympic squad there.” Was he the coach or did he just happen to be in the neighborhood?
Track Talk is principally about a book on nutrition, “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit” by Adelle Davis. “Lack of protein causes flabbiness of muscles and ligaments. Too little fat in the diet can cause overweight.” And a bunch of other stuff. Looked it up on Amazon.com. It is out of print, but you can still get copies. Hardback goes for $205, paperback $80.
So They Tell Me informs us that “Perry O’Brien now utilizes slick soled track shoes – absolutely no spikes – as a development of his form.” “He will only use spikes on a rough and uneven ring.” My lack of knowledge in this area left me puzzled. Haven’t shot and discus rings always been cement? No, apparently dirt was common. In Melbourne they will be cement. Former Stanford and present San Francisco Olympic Club coach, Dink Templeton, says that there will never be another great shot putter who does not use the O’Brien technique. At the other end of the prediction continuum, Percy Cerutty prophecies that when runners develop a relaxed style, “men (will) run three miles at 4:10-4:15 rate, around 4:20 for six miles.” He also predicts an 800 time of 1:40 and a mile between 3:40-3:45.
Apparently the two great “down under” coaches, Cerutty and Franz Stampfl, had philosophical disagreements and a contentious relationship. A letter appears in this issue defending Stampfl’s training methods. It is written by a young Ron Clarke.
Bank Notes deals primarily with the college choices of high school athletes. Willie White is going to California (extension) whatever that is. Dave Davis will be at USC (extension) as well. Jerry White will be at Mt. SAC. Ron Gregory, who apparently held the HS mile record for a day or two before Jim Bowers broke it, is reported going to Kansas. Not so, the brother of comedian/activist Dick Gregory studied at Notre Dame, a fact I know because I ran against him (more accurately, behind him) in the ’59 Missouri AAU Championship two mile. The highlight of the article is that the seventh ranked miler in the country would be attending Kansas. That would be 4:21.4 man Cliff Cushman of North Forks, ND. Banks says Kansas coach “Bill Easton is pointing him towards the steeplechase and he looks like a natural.” In an amazing double, Cushman is the 11th ranked high hurdler at 14.4, only 0.4 behind the leader. I’m betting that 4:21.4 and 14.4 are still the best mile – hurdles double in US high school history, not that there is a long list.
The more things change, the more they stay the same dept: Track and Field News is no longer 25 cents. Now it costs $3 for a year. There is still time to join the TFN Olympic Tour if you have $1444. And yes, Cliff Severn still sells…….well, you know.
Coming up: The Olympics

Vol. 1 No. 25 August, 1956

Now it is August, 1956. The Olympic Trials are over, but the games themselves are three months off. OK, not all the spots on the team were decided last month. The decathlon team has been decided in a separate meet. Rafer Johnson edges Milt Campbell as “the two 6’3” 200 pound Negro giants” score 7755 and 7559. Bob Richards, already on the team in the PV, takes third at 7054…….The often mentioned JW Mashburn finally appears in a photo, winning the NCAA over John Haines of Penn. Last month’s issue had the margin as .00. Looks like a good foot to me.……The US top ten listing shows a weakness in the distances. No American has broken 9:00 for two miles or the steeplechase.
Much of this issue is devoted to the European Report where the distance runners are heating up. Hungary’s Istvan Rozsavolgyi, the holder of WRs at 1000 meters (2:19.0) and 2000 meters (5:02.2), splits the difference and adds the 1500 to his list with a 3:40.6. Countryman Sandor Iharos runs 10K in 28:42.8 to obliterate Emil Zatopek’s last WR by 13 seconds. Throw in Gordon Pirie, Vladimir Kuts and the great Zatopek himself and the distances could be the highlight of the OGs.
Willie Williams, the best sprinter on the planet not to be competing in Melbourne, and Ira Murchison, who will, both run 10.1 in a meet in Berlin. Williams did it twice, semis and final. Officials say all three marks will be submitted for ratification and should be accepted.
The Olympic team’s competition schedule has been set: October 13 in Berkeley, Oct. 20 in Santa Ana, Oct. 27 in Ontario, CA and a final tune up in Eugene on Sept. 3. The games don’t begin until late November. How do you fill the remaining 2 ½ months?
Ron Delany told the press that Ireland may not have enough money to send him to Australia. I can see it now, collection jars in pubs throughout the land.
Third place finisher in the steeplechase, Horace Ashenfelter, says that he won’t compete in the OG unless he feels he is in top shape.
Dave Sime says that his muscle pull was not due to a lack of curve running as previously reported. He ran the curve twice a week during the season. Though obviously disappointed, he is planning for next year. He is quoted as saying that he will go to summer school to get ahead in credits so that he can have free time to run indoors and “After baseball ends in late May I’ll switch to track again”. Baseball? Baseball?
There are five Profiles of Champions, the sort of outline derived by the athlete answering a questionnaire. Of note is that Phil Conley has to be the best athlete to wear a Cal Tech uniform. Okay, that is like being the skinniest fat girl, but this guy is damn good. His yearly javelin progression in college has been 176, 199, 231 and 244. He has a pretty good resume in other sports. In high school he was number one man on the league champion tennis team. The way it is worded, I can only guess the following were in college. He was the second team all conference quarterback and led the conference in total yards one year. In basketball he was first team all conference center one year; second team another, leading the team in scoring both years. In baseball he hit .345 and .375 before giving up the sport for track.
Other profiles include George Shaw, Walter Thane Baker, Phil Coleman, Jerome Walters and Kenneth Bantum. Particularly noteworthy: Thane Baker was inspired by hometown hero Glenn Cunningham and began running in the second grade at Elkhart Grade School in Elkhart, Kansas His best high school hundred was 10.1 in 1949. His yearly progression at Kansas State College was 9.9 and 21.6; 9.7 and 21.0; 9.5, 20.8 and 48.1; 9.4, 20.4 and 47.1. He won the Big Seven 100 and 220 three times. Ken Bantum (6-6, 235, Negro, dark brown hair and eyes, 21) started as a hurdler. Progressed from 34’ for the 12 pound shot and 25 for the 16 to 53-7 and 48 (in practice) by the time he graduated from Ozone Park HS in New York. Phil Coleman ran a 6:58 mile in high school PE class, then ran three races as a 16 year old senior with a best of 5:00. Then it was off to So. Illinois where he ran 4:37 and 10:07 as a freshman. By his senior season in 1952, he had run 4:15.3, 9:27 and 14:58 for 1, 2 and 3 miles. George Shaw trains three days a week, 12 months a year. He bounds up and down the infield about four times each way. “Then in and out 150’s or 220’s, five of them.” He also takes three full jumps each week. Jerome Walters, an LA county probation officer, got his start as a 10th grader in Compton where he ran a 2:13 on a bet. (You are a 10th grader who just ran 2:13 without training? Come here, young man, we need to talk about your future.) He was 1947 California state champ at 1:57.6 as a junior. As a senior, he ran 1:58.4 and 4:21.4 (second in state meet). He was undefeated in two years of high school cross country.
Some things never change: You can still join the TFN Olympic Tour for $1469 and, yes, Clifford Severn is still selling Adidas (“9 world records in 1955”).

Note from Ernie Cunliffe:
NFO. George, I hate to tell you but I ran 2:06 my jr year with no training, so Jerome Walters wasn't unique. At least they didn't call
him a thin Negro !!

Vol. 1 No. 24 More views of June 1956

From: Ernie Cunliffe

Pete Brown is one of the two I send the T & F News synopsis to. He found a good SI article with AAU results and pre Olympic Trials
for the 1956 era.

From: pbrown
To: ernie_
I was at the AAU in Bakersfield and O Trials in Coliseum. The Dumas 7 footer was one for the ages. Tom Courtney was my hero and I had forgotten about his 45.8 in AAU.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1132039/1/index.htm Check this out.

Peter G. Brown


-----Original Message-----
From: ernie cunliffe [
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2011 9:11 PM
To: Pete Brown; Dennis Kavenough
Subject: FW: June '56 Track and Field News synopsis

I went to this meet and did see Dumas jumping over 7'

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 23June, 1956


It's the long awaited June 1956 issue and it is the best of issues and the worst of issues. The month is full of big meets (good), but the issue is so full of the reports of these meets that no room is left for columns, the fun stuff (bad).

Let's run through the schedule. June 8 &9 the NCAAs are held at Berkeley. June 15-16 sees the Inter-Service Meet at the Coliseum. Bakersfield hosts the AAU on June 22-23. The biggie of course is the Olympic Trials, correctly described as “the greatest meet in the history of track and field” also at the Coliseum the following weekend, June 29-30.

The NCAAs

UCLA edges Kansas 57.5 to 51 as favored USC falls to third with 34 points. Bobby Morrow wins both sprints at 10.4 and 20.6. After finishing second in the 100 at 10.6, Dave Sime pulls up in the 200 and is done for the year. Mention is made of the fact that this is the first race he has ever run around a curve and that he had never run a curve until practice the previous week. JW Mashburn edges John Haines of Penn by .00 (?) as they both run 46.4. Foreigners dominate the 1500 as Ron Delany - “the bog trotting Villanovan” - finishes in 54.1 to edge Oregon's and Australia's Jim Bailey (54.6) to win in 3:47.6. UCLA's victory is due in large part to a 1-2 finish in the discus by Ron Drummond and Don Vick as favorite Al Oerter throws only 168-9 to place fourth. Had Oerter equaled his season best of 183-5, he would have won by ten feet and the team title would have gone to Kansas. Rafer Johnson's second in the hurdles and broad jump supply 16 UCLA points. Ken Bantum of Manhattan becomes the third 60 foot shotputter by half an inch to take the title over Bill Nieder. Lee Calhoun takes the highs in 13.7. Aubrey Lewis of Notre Dame wins his dual with Glenn Davis as Davis goes out too fast and Lewis passes the “pooped Ohio Stater” at the last hurdle to win by half a second in a meet record of 51.0. Morrow's efforts not withstanding, Pitt's Arnie Sowell might have run the most dominate race of the day, winning the 800 by 2.5 seconds over Lang Stanley with a national record of 1:46.7.

The Inter-Service Championship

Without professional competition many athletes extended their track careers after college by running on service teams. Lou Jones beats Jim Lea in the 400 45.7 to 46.0 with Tom Courtney well back at 46.7. Don't worry about Courtney though. He wins the 800 by a second and a half over Lon Spurrier in 1:47.1. Perry O'Brien breaks his WR with a 61-4 effort and also wins the discus. Oh, and there is a Wes Santee sighting. Though ineligible for AAU competition, he can run in this meet. He takes the 1500 in 3:47.3.

The AAU

Jack Davis sets a WR in a heat of the highs at 13.4, then takes third in the final which Lee Calhoun wins easily in 13.6. Bobby Morrow once again runs 10.2. Thane Baker takes a Morrowless 200 in 20.6. Tom Courtney and Arnie Sowell preview a prospective great 800 next week in the Oly Trials. Courtney dominates the 400 in 45.8 to win by .7 while Sowell easily handles a good 800 field in 1:47.6. The big news in the field events is Ken Bantum handing Perry O'Brien a rare defeat, throwing 59-1 to win by two inches. The Olympic team seems a long shot for Al Oerter as once again he fails to reach 170 and finishes sixth. Rafer Johnson keeps busy, running the 200 LH in 22.83, .03 behind Charlie Pratt. Ernie Shelby, “a compact Negro”, broad jumps 26-1+.

The Olympic Trials

As mentioned, this had to be considered the greatest meet to date. Bobby Morrow ties the WR with 10.2 and 20.6 performances but is overshadowed by Charlie Dumas who becomes the first seven foot high jumper with a 7-01/2 and Glenn Davis, no longer a pooped Ohio Stater, who blows the doors off the intermediate WR of 50.4 with an amazing 49.5. Davis needed this Herculian effort as Texas freshman Eddie Southern is right there at 49.7. Lou Jones, whose fastest 400 of the year had been 47.8 three weeks ago, ties his WR of 45.2 to beat Lea by half a second and establish himself as “the greatest 400 runner of all time”. Not to worry, though JW Mashburn doesn't make the 400 team, he places 4th, earning a spot on the 4x4. The long awaited match up of Courtney and Sowell is decided in the home straight as Courtney powers home in 1:46.4, the second fastest time ever, to beat Sowell by half a second with Spurrier getting the final spot on the team a full second behind Sowell. Davis and Calhoun tie at 13.8 in the highs. And just when it appears Al Oerter is done, he rebounds to make the team with a second place 178-7 throw.

Apparently the rest of the world is still hasn't given up track. England's Gordon Pirie thumps Russia's Vladimir Kuts by nearly three seconds while breaking Sandor Iharos' 5,000 record with a 13:36.8, thereby establishing himself as the favorite in the 5 and 10K in Melbourne.

Vol. 1 No. 22 Boston, Thomas and now Peter Snell

Ralph Boston and John Thomas


George. Please don't talk to me about John Thomas. Why? In Jan 1961 I ran in the BAA games in Boston. I broke the world indoor record for the 1000, previously held
by Arnie Sowell who tied Nielsons record which was set 10 YEARS previously. I ran 2:07.9 The generous gentlemen of the press proceded to vote John Thomas as the meet
Outstanding athlete. Why? Well Brumel broke the World High Jump record earlier in the day, around noon or so and the press people and Thomas all knew it. Thomas
managed to break his American Record in the High Jump that evening at Boston = obviously an American record is far better than a 10 year old World Record in the 1000.
I have never gotten over that as it would have been my one and only Outstanding Athlete award at a meet. Even the Meet Director, Wil Cloney apologized to me and could
not understand how it had happened.

Actually I can't blame Thomas since it was the local Boston press that screwed me over.

As an interesting bit of info, I coached Arnie Sowell's son at the AF Academy. He was not the quality runner, 800, 1000, or miler that his old man was !!

Ernie


Yes. I had been in New Zealand on tour with a small USA team in Jan/Feb 1962. Raced Snell in 880 3 times and in the World Record Mile at Wanganui. I saw but did not
compete in his next race in Christchurch which was his W.Record 880. I did not run because Dave Edstrom pulled a muscle and could not do the pentathlon vs 2 Kiwis. Since
I had done 1 pentathlon at Stanford vs a guy named Toomey, back in 1961, I volunteered to enter the event in NZ so they wouldn't have to cancel it. By the way, I beat
Toomey in 1 event, the 1500 of course. Anyway, I split the two NZ guys, winning the 1500 and the 200, actually getting a PR in the 200 with a 22.8. My point total was
2721 which slightly bettered my score vs Toomey, who scored over 3200. Don't recall the winners score in NZ but I believe he was one of their Olympic Decathlon guys at Rome
or maybe later in Tokyo.

Since I was 0-6 vs Snell (the above 4 in NZ and the Rome Olympics trial round and semis) I turned down the "offer" to run in LA vs Snell again + Bill Carothers (spelling) who both
broke my W.R. I had predicted in NZ that Snell would run around 2:06, which I believe was his time in LA, smashing the record by nearly 2 seconds.

I stayed in Hawaii and put on some clinics for kids, sort of hiding out I guess. Only good news after that was when I got home and my wife informed me that she was a couple
of months pregnant with our lst kid, our son Jon who is now almost 49.

________________________________________
I think Snell was around 1:50 vs my 1:50.5. But he sure finished alot faster for the final yds. NZ tracks were grass as I recall. The Wanganui WR mile was on a 350meter + track so
we had to do 4 and 1/2 laps approximately. World records were never questioned due to grass surfaces as the distance was the only concern. Yes, Dr (non medical) Snell works
in Tx I believe in Houston at the U Texas Med facility there. My neighbor down the street, an anesthesiologist, went to medical school there and remembers Snell as a guest professor
for a couple of his classes. Don't recall the tracks anywhere being inside a speedway although I think the Wanganui track was inside a bike velodrome, thus the short distance.
When the 7 runners in the WR mile were invited back in 1993, they were making the track regulation 400 meters and we were featured for the 31st anniversary of the WR. My
wife went with me as her father was a NZealander, immigrating to USA in 1922 when he was 16. She still has alot of relatives there and we visited some of them during our
post Wanganui tour of the N and S Islands.

Never ran against Sullivan but I definitely recall him. I think he missed 1 or maybe 2 Olympics due to the problems which S. Africa had. (I can't spell Aparthide)
________________________________________

Bruce Kritzler wrote

George,
Thanks for the forwards from Ernie. I think Snell mentioned him in his book (Clean Pair of Heels?) as racing against him in New Zealand.
Did you make the OU reunion?
Bruce

Vol. 1 No. 21 Ralph Boston and John Thomas

Bruce Kritzler, Savannah, Georgia writes

Ralph Boston, who has a home locally, spoke to the St. Simons Island Rotary Club today. He brought along friend John Thomas, who is recovering from a "slight" heart attack. Ralph also has a home in Peachtree City, GA, and likes to head to the beach when ever the urge hits him.
Martin Turbidy, 1954 Auburn grad, attended 1968, 72, 76, 84 Olympic Games, and is the only other tracknut I've found in this area, organized the talk. I did some research for him on the principles. John Thomas had his best jumps in 1959 & 60, when he was 17 &18, all his pr's were set indoors, but did trade outdoor world records with Brumel. The spring after his indoor world record at age 17, John had a serious foot injury in an elevator accident, and missed the entire outdoor season. Came back the next year to reset the indoor record, and medal at the Rome Olympics. John, who always officiates the hj at NY's Millrose Games, stated that Valeriy Brumel's son jumped there a few years ago.
Ralph Boston broke Jesse Owens long jump world record, won the 1960 Olympics, and finished 2nd and 3rd in the next two Olympics. Ralph was also national/world class in some other events - 52-4 tj, 13.7 HH, 9.6,10.5 100, 6-9 hj, plus 13-7 pv, 168 jav, 22.4 200lh. Never completed a decathlon, but did the 1st day once. Majored in biochemistry as undergrad and was accepted to med school, but track and field got in the way. Got a masters degree at U of TN, and co-owned a Knoxville television station for many years. Was the color commentator for track and field on network television for many years.
Ralph spoke mostly about how humbled he was to be a kid from Laurel, MS who got to travel to 64 countries, visit most of the great cities and wonders of the world, mostly because of track and field. All his motivation came from wanting to please his parents and family (9 brothers and sisters).
Bruce

Vol. 1 No. 20 What about running shoes?

A lot of people like to remember what they put on their feet in 50's and 60's.

From Ernie Cunliffe:

I had a pair of Riddell leather shoes (heavy) with oak insoles. Ran 1:57 + in CIF sectionals. UCLA got me a pair of Adidas before the CIF
Southern finals = 1:54.7 I suspect that was against the NCAA rules but UCLA was really hustling me and USC was hustling
my Dad with all sorts of illegal offers, $$, clothes, shoes etc. Don't recall an offer of a car !!

Also at the LA Times indoor meet 61 or 63 just as I was about to step on the track for the 1000, Cliff Severn comes up to me with
a pair of shoes and asks me to give them to Jim Grelle. I was pissed and told Cliff off.
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I, too, got my first pair of adidas shoes from Clifford Severn’s.