Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 7 1960 Rome Day 3 September 2

There are four finals today: the 400H, 800, 5000 and the broad jump. In addition there are the first two rounds of the 200 meters.




200 METERS

In the first round there are 12 heats with the first two and the three fastest thirds qualifying. No one of consequence is eliminated. Les Carney wins the second heat in 21.1, Stone Johnson takes the third in 21.7 and Ray Norton is the winner of the sixth heat in 21.2.

The second round has four heats with the top three moving on. Stone Johnson wins the first in 20.9. Abdou Seye of France takes the measure of Ray Norton in an eased up 20.8 to Norton's 21.0. Carney wins the third heat in 20.9 and Italian Livio Berruti looks good winning the last races in 20.8. Tomorrow will see the semifinals and the final.


400 INTERMEDIATE HURDLES

With the exception of the shot put, the 400 hurdles is the United States' best event. Yesterday Glenn Davis won his heat and Cliff Cushman and Dick Howard went 1-2 in theirs. Howard is in lane one for the final. He is feeling less than confident. Lane two belongs to Germany's Helmut Janz, a 50.6 performer this year. Switzerland's Bruno Galliker is in three. His 51.0 in the first round is a lifetime best. Lane four belongs to Jussi Rintamaki of Finland who produced his 51.1 PR yesterday behind Davis. Cliff Cushman is in five. Though he won his heat yesterday, he has been sick all week. On the outside in lane six is the defending champion and Olympic record holder, Glenn Davis.


The Americans run unevenly. Davis is out fast, leading over the first hurdle, but overstriding and missing his step on the second and losing the lead to Howard who is out too fast. Cushman seems under control, striding 13 steps for seven hurdles. Howard leads down the backstretch and around the curve. But Davis has regained his stride by the sixth hurdle and here he comes. Janz is running extremely well in second as the field makes the run for home. Davis reels him in on the ninth hurdle and catches a fatigued Howard on the tenth to claim the victory. Cushman says “I felt stronger in the stretch than ever”, and he shows it on the run in. Three yards down to Janz at the top of the straight, he catches the German with 30 meters to go and passes Howard with 10 left. Janz makes a valiant effort to catch Howard, but comes up short. The medals go to Davis 49.3, Cushman 49.6, and Howard 49.7. Though not medaling, Janz has become the first European to break 50 with his 49.9. Rintamaki's 50.8 is his PR and Galliker's 51.0 is equal to the best he has run. Davis opines, “This is a greater thrill than winning at Melbourne. The best thing was my time.” Indeed, it is an Olympic record. (editor's note, I have been unable to find or purloin a good photo of this race with all three Americans)




New Zealand's Finest Olympic Moment


5000 METERS

There is no clear favorite as the field toes the starting line. Murray Halberg of New Zealand, Kazimierz Zimny of Poland, Australians Dave Power and Albie Thomas, Hans Grodotzki and Friedrich Jahke of Germany, and Sando Iharos of Hungary have to be considered the first group. A long shot is the first African distance runner of note, Kenya's surprising Maiyoro Nyandika.

With Zimny in the lead most of the way, the field stays bunched for the first seven laps with Grodotzki and Halberg bringing up the rear. Grodotzki moves up to second at this point, bringing Halberg with him. With four laps to go, Power picks up the pace. He doesn't open any ground, but now the field is lengthening out. Half a lap later Halberg makes a move that startles then excites the crowd. A gap has opened....3 meters....5 meters and by the time the tenth lap is three quarters gone the New Zealander has 12 meters on the field. Grodotzki sees the gold slipping away and responds, but is not willing to gamble at the pace Halberg is flying. Halberg has run his tenth lap in 61.1 and now has 20 meters on the German who has another 12 on the field. Surely Halberg has moved too soon. No one can hold this pace for another 1000 meters. Indeed this is true. Halberg grinds out a 64.1 on the 11th lap, but it is enough to hold his advantage. Six hundred to go now and the lead is beginning to evaporate. At the bell he still holds 15 meters, but the gap is closing. With 200 left, Halberg is struggling, but so is Grodotzki. Now the threat is Zimny and Janke. Once they were 40 meters back. Now they are coming on strong. Halberg has 10 meters at the top of the homestretch. The field is coming, but so is the finish tape. Halberg wins by 8 meters in 13:43.4, an Olympic record. Grodotzki holds on for second, barely, over a hard charging Zimny 13:44.6 to 13:44.8. Janke is fourth two more seconds back. Power outsprints Nyandika for fifth, 13:51.8 to 13:52.8, the latter an African record.

Halberg's move which stole the race was based on his fear of the finishing kick of Grodotzki, Thomas and Iharos, all sub four minute milers or the metric equivalent. Kiwi courage wins the day.







Sir Murray Today

800 METERS

The field will run the first turn in lanes before breaking for the pole. Inside out it is Manfred Matuschewski of Germany, world record holder Roger Moens of Belgium, Switzerland's Christian Waegli, George Kerr of the West Indies – a co-favorite along with Moens, Paul Schmidt of Germany and the surprising Peter Snell of New Zealand.

Waegli, described by Bert Nelson as “the Ernie Cunliffe of Europe”, takes the field out hard, splitting 25.4 and 51.9, followed closely by Schmidt, Kerr, Moens and Snell. Matuschewski is out of it from early on. On the backstretch Moens tries to move past Snell, but the youngster holds him off. The 600 is reached in 1:19.1 with the field tightly bunched. Waegli leads into the homestretch, but he is about to get a good look at the rest of the field. Moens shoots into the lead, but doesn't appear all out. He looks around three times and sees he has Kerr and the others beaten. At least that was his apparent summation of the situation. Snell, who was boxed on the curve, has waited “for that gap that always opens”. Now he charges up on the inside. Moens sees him but it is too late. Though he was leading with 25 meters to go, Moens can't hold off Snell's challenge. The 21 year old New Zealander is the surprise winner in 1:46.3, two tenths ahead of Moens. Kerr takes the silver in 1:47.1. Schmidt, Waegli and Matuschewski run 1:47.6, 1:48.1 and 1:52.0. Moens says, “Don't tell me that a silver medal is something. Today it is as if I had finished last”. Bert Nelson writes that Moens was.......“Snell-shocked”.
Heat 4 Round 2 Why? Because there are 7 runners in the race
and the semis only had 6 in each. Moens won in 1:48.5; Snell 1:48.6; Jorg Balke 1:48.8 qualified; 4th was Rodolf Klabon 1:50.2; 5th Tom Farrell (GB)
1:50.7; 6th Ergas Leps 1:52.0 and the tall dark hair runner from Turkey was last in 1:52.5, Ekrem Kocak)





Snell's pre-Olympic best was 1:49.2, although he had beaten Herb Elliott in March in 1:51.3 with a sub 51 final lap. He is here to gain experience for the Tokyo 1500 in four years. Snell and Halberg win Olympic gold on the same day. They are dancing in the streets in New Zealand.


Below is youtube link to film of the 800 finish

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82mkWDm0jAY


BROAD JUMP







If you make the V for victory sign by raising your forefinger and middle finger, your fingernails will be 4 5/8 inches apart. That is the distance that separates the gold medal winner from fourth place in the most dramatic of this Olympics' field events.

The morning's trials find inconsistent youngster Anthony Watson jumping 24-0¼ and coming up 4 inches short of qualifying. Fourteen qualify for the afternoon finals.

World record holder Ralph Boston jumps second in the finals. He takes the lead at 25-7¾, but then is surpassed by Russia's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan who sails 25-11. The next jumper is Dr. Manfred Steinbach of Germany who has a windy 26-8½ to his credit this year. He makes a 25-7½ opening statement. Bo Roberson fouls. No one else reaches 25 feet in the first round.



Things begin to take shape in the second round. Boston and Steinbach foul and Ter-Ovanesyan doesn't improve, but Roberson throws out a challenge, 26-4 1/8, nearly a foot better than his previous best this year. The time has come for the competition to either fish or cut bait.

Boston, fully realizing that a world record doesn't mean squat if you can perform under pressure, readies himself. He sprints down the runway and hits the board perfectly. The gasp from the crowd tells the story. The young American has responded with an Olympic record 26-7 5/8, erasing the last record of Jesse Owens. Roberson does not improve and Ter-Ovanesyan and Steinbach foul. With three rounds in the books, the field is pared to the top six including Melbourne Olympic bronze medalist, Jorma Valkama of Finland and Christian Collardot of France, both with marks of 25-2. In 18 jumps the event will be over.

The fourth round passes with Steinbach and Ter-Ovanesyan fouling and the Americans not reaching 26 feet. The fifth round gives no indication of what is about to happen. Boston and Steinbach foul while Ter-Ovanesyan at 25-2 and Roberson at 25-0 look finished.

At this point Boston leads at 26-7 5/8, followed by Roberson, 26-4 1/8, Ter-Ovanesyan, 25-11, and Steinbach, 25-7½. The final round is about to be one for the ages.

Boston is up first. He leaps 26-1 3/8 and now must wait. He can no longer determine his fate. Now it is the last shot for the man who will be his long time rival, Ter-Ovanseyan. He comes through with his lifetime best, a stunning 26-4 ½ to claim the silver medal. It is now up to Steinbach. With the German fans clapping wildly, he sprints down the runway, hits the board and lands in the pit 26-3 away, a lifetime best, but just an inch and a half from a medal. Now all that stands between Boston and gold is his teammate Roberson.

The Cornell grad collects himself and down the runway he comes. Boom! Just like the two previous jumpers, he hits his lifetime best. Just how good it is remains to be seen. The crowd holds its collective breath as the measurement is made. Boston's mark is a metric 8.12. Now Roberson's jump is posted..........8.11. Another centimeter and he would have won on the basis of a better second jump. Instead he has a silver.

This is the first competition in which four men have bettered 26 feet, indeed, all four did it in the climatic final round. It is also the first meet in which four have jumped 8 meters. The final results are Boston 8.12, Roberson 8.ll, Ter-Ovanesyan 8:04 and Steinbach 8.00. Do that V thing with your fingers one more time. Four lifetimes of training and competition have come down to that margin. It is the difference between, “Yes, I was in the Olympics” and “Want to see my gold medal?”


Ralph Boston and Jesse Owens at Rome

Tomorrow we will see the opening rounds of the 400, 1500 and the high hurdles, semis and finals in the 200 and the steeplechase and the hammer finals.

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