Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 33 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.

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