Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 6 Olympics 1960 Day Two

Today will see the semis and final in the 100 and the high jump competition. There will be trials in the steeplechase and semifinals in the 800 and 400 hurdles.

Three heats will qualify three each. The first heat is won by Nikolay Sokolov of the USSR in 8:43.2. Phil Coleman finishes fifth in 8:56.6. George Young does better in the second heat, but is eliminated although running 8:50.6 in placing fourth behind world record holder Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak's winnning 8:49.6. This leaves Charlie Jones as the last American with a shot at making the finals and he comes through with an 8:49.2 second place behind Russian Semyon Rzhishchin's 8:48.0. The Deacon will live to run another day, specifically September 3rd.


George Young

It is an easy day for the American hurdlers. There are two semifinals qualifying three for tomorrow's final. 1956 Olympic Champion Glenn Davis has an easy time of it, winning the first semi in 51.0. Finland's Jussi Rintamaki is second in the same time. The dangerous Helmut Janz of Germany takes the last qualifying spot at 51.4. Cliff Cushman and Dick Howard run 1-2 in the second race, both clocking 50.8. Switzerland's Bruno Galliker makes the final with 51.3.

The first three in each semi qualify for the finals. The first race may have had significant bearing upon the final. Young Harry Jerome of Canada, one of two men to have run 10.0, is leading at 50 meters when he pulls a muscle and is out of the race. Without him perhaps the medals are distributed differently. Cuba's Enrique Figuerola now has the lead, but here comes Great Britain's Peter Radford to take it at the tape, 10.4 for both. Frank Budd gets the third ticket to the ball in 10.5.
The second heat is Germany's Armin Hary all the way. His incredible start gives him enough to hold off strong closing rushes by Dave Sime and Ray Norton. Hary's 10.3 puts him a tenth ahead of the Americans.

A tough day for the Americans results in the first Olympic final without an American since 1896. Once again two races qualify three for the final. In the first race Tom Murphy runs 1:48.2, good for sixth and last place. George Kerr glides to a convincing 1:47.1 victory followed by Switzerland's Christian Waegli at 1:47.3 and Germany's Manfred Matuschewski in 1:47.4.
Ernie Cunliffe leads a loaded second race through a pedestrian 53.5 opening go around, but the big kickers are there and they are just waiting to make their move. Paul Schmidt of Germany takes the lead in the homestretch, only to be passed by world record holder Roger Moens of Belgium who in turn is passed by upstart Peter Snell of New Zealand. Snell 1:47.2, Moens 1:47.4 and Schmidt 1:47.8. Jerry Siebert comes up short at 1:48.0 and Cunliffe is left behind at 1:50.8.

Siebert has had the misfortune to get sick at the wrong time. He has dysentery and has lost 13 pounds. He says, “When I left the States I felt I could handle anybody in the world. But with a 101 temperature and no strength, it was a different story.” That, of course, is why the Olympics are the most dramatic of sporting events. There is no “get 'em next year”.

Snell at age 8 , just thought I'd throw this in for the hell of it.
There is probably no one who doesn't consider John Thomas a prohibitive favorite today. His pending world record, 7-3¾, is two inches better than any human has jumped. The Russians have jumped well of late, but they will be competing for silver and bronze.
The prelims at 9 AM are a one question test: Can you jump over this bar set at a height of 2.00 meters? Seventeen of the 18 can and are excused until the afternoon. Joe Faust and Charlie Dumas have their difficulties, both caused by “team officials” if you believe Cordner Nelson. “Joe Faust, youngest competitor in the meet, had injured his ankle after jumping seven feet in the Final Trials and nobody had done anything about it. He was unable to jump well, but no remedy, not even rest, was ordered. Now in the Olympics, he limped each time he came out of the sand pit and he failed to clear 2.00 meters/6-6¾.”
After a paragraph or two of describing the exits of some of the lesser lights, Cordner is off to the races again. It seems Charlie Dumas has a sharp pain under his kneecap when he extends his leg. “Dumas had been able to jump well enough to make he Olympic team, tolerating the pain, but team officials advised him to have cortisone treatment. This exacerbated the injury, and Dumas could not jump. He was told it was all in his head and given a pill before the Olympic competition started, but he could not stand the pain. He left the stadium after the event started, and found a doctor who would give him novocaine.”
Just so we are straight here, the “team officials” were wrong for not advising Joe Faust and they were also wrong because they did advise Charlie Dumas. On the surface it would seem those “team officials” were damned if they did and damned if they didn't. Or maybe the other way around.
Actually Dumas' search for a doctor paid off in sixth place, for what that was worth to him. His absence causes him to pass twice thereby earning sixth on fewer misses.
With the bar set at 7-0¼, it is a Cold War scene – one loan American against three godless, Russians. The Russians are very, very good, but no one envisioned them to be in this position. Twenty-seven year old Robert Shavlakadze sets the tone, clearing on his first jump. His teammates, 18 year old Valeriy Bumel and 21 year old Viktor Bolkov fail on their first attempts. Now it is the world record holding American, John Thomas. He has jumped only three times in three hours. Now he takes a jog to the center of the field and returns. Then he stuns the crowd by missing at a height he makes routinely. The two Russians are successful on their second attempts, and the playing field has tilted for Thomas. He is in the unique – for him – position of having to make this height and the next if he is to win. His second jump is a good one. The bar goes to 7-1 (2.16) with Shavlakadze first and Thomas second. Once again Shavlakadze ratchets up the pressure by clearing on his first attempt. In a replay of the previous heights, the other Russians miss their first jumps and sqo does Thomas.
“The great young Negro had now replaced is haughty look with one of worry, and his legs trembled. He dragged the bar off with his left leg.” Bolkov misses as well. Brumel's clearance leaves them behind. Now it is down to the final attempt for Bolkov and Thomas. When Bolkov misses, all eyes are on Thomas. “Then, at 7PM, Thomas, tight and trembling, his poise gone and his run erratic, missed his third attempt and the event was over.” OK, Cordner is overstating the situation. Brumel and Shavlakade have some jumps to take at 7-1¾. They do. None are successful. Shavlakade is the winner on misses, Brumel collects the silver and Thomas the bronze. Bolkov leaves with some lovely parting gifts.

The lane assignments from inside out are Sime, Budd, Norton, Figuerola, Radford and Hary. As nearly as I can determine, the pole lane is being used and Sime has it. You have the three Americans bunched together and the heat winners, Hary and Radford, side by side.
Hary and Sime, on opposite sides of the field, jump, but the gun is not fired and no penalty is given. Figuerola asks to have his blocks adjusted. The field waits and the tension increases. On the next try, Hary guesses, wrongly as it turns out. His false start puts him at a disadvantage, but not one noticeable to the rest of the field. When next the gun is fired Hary gets a start that, according to Don Potts, gives him a meter lead after the first five. Sime starts badly and is last in the early going, but by the halfway mark he is flying. Again according to Potts, “He came on like the wind and made up something like three to four meters on Hary in the final half of the race.” Sime lunges at the tape, but comes up a foot short as both are timed in 10.2. As in their semi, Radford closes strongly to nip Figuerola for the silver. They are given 10.3 as is Frank Budd. Ray Norton is never in it and finishes last in 10.4.
Nintey-nine meters out



Armin Hary Today
There will be four golds won tomorrow as there are finals in the 5000, 800, 400 hurdles and the broad jump in addition to rounds one and two of the 200.

1 comment:

Joe Faust said...

The 2.0 meters was cleared in the morning session to qualify 17 of 83 jumpers into the afternoon finals session. In the afternoon finals session, I did not clear the 2.0 meters. The malady root occurred three days after the Stanford Olympic trials on the Oxy field in the presence of Coach Coker. We initially thought the deal was an ankle challenge; but what actually occurred was a lower-back disc-nerve challenge discovered after the Olympic Games. Full sciatic spasms would cripple jumps after a couple of jumps in a session; such occurred in the Olympic afternoon finals; the morning session clearing the 2 meters started the syndrome; in the afternoon I cleared the opening height to place 17th, but I was in severe spasm following the initial all-out jump to place.

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