July 21-21, 1962 The Russians Are Here
Okay, class, here is the question for the day. Not counting Olympic competition, what is the largest attendance for a single track meet in the United States? If you said the USSR – USA dual meet in Palo Alto July 21 and 22, 1962, go to the head of the class. Saturday's competition at Stanford Stadium drew 72,000 spectators and the following day 81,000 filled the stands, a total of 153,000 for the two days.
This is not to say that there were no great marks. There were. Seventeen stadium records, twelve meet records, three Russian records, two American records and two world records were set. It is just that there wasn't much competition between the two countries. The Russians won what they were supposed to win, so did the Americans.
This meet was of major cold war importance for the propaganda that could be made in the "Our Way Is Better Than Your Way" mentality that existed between the Americans and the Soviets, the East Bloc vs. the West. Throughout the world we were competing on many fronts from the amount of money donated for aid projects or military hardware. We were lining up for a hot war in Viet Nam and ready to contest the legitimacy of governments in Central America, South America, Africa , and Asia. For this reason the USSR USA track and field meet produced a tremendous audience in North America both at the stadium and on television. It was the beginning of the hey day of men's track and field and the beginning of a build up of track and field for American women. ed.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Vol. 2 No. 92 The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming
Unquestionably the highlight of the meet comes on Sunday when 20 year old Valeryi Brumel clears 7-5 in the high jump, breaking his own world record and bringing 81,000 to their feet.
Pyotr Bolotnikov is the only double winner, taking the 10,000 in an American all comers record of 29:17.7 on Saturday and the 5000 in 13:55.6 on Sunday as the Russians sweep both races.
Jerry Siebert says he is retiring after his 800. He wants to take Tom Courtney's 1:45.7 American record with him. The field is small, the track fast and the weather good. He follows the Russian leader through a 52.5 first go round, but can't get by the Soviet and Jim Dupree until the final straight where he opens up and powers to a 1:46.4 win. Dupree runs 1:46.8 in second.
Rex Cawley takes the lead in the 400H on the sixth hurdle, but Willie Atterberry has more in the tank coming off the last hurdle and wins 50.3 to 50.5.