Friday, June 27, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 47 Tokyo Olympics 1964 Day Two October 15


After a long evening of partying last night for American fans (Can you say Billy Mills? Louder, I can't hear you. BILLY MILLS! Alright, that's better.), we are back at the stadium for the second day of competition. Finals in the 20K walk, 100 and discus are on tap. Let's get to it.

After yesterday's less than optimal conditions, the runners are heartened by today's 75 degree weather. All three Americans advanced to today's races but Trenton Jackson pulled a muscle yesterday and is bandaged from hip to knee as he gets into his blocks in the first semi. Also in this race are world record holder Bob Hayes and second round winner, Tom Robinson of the Bahamas.
Hayes blasts out of the blocks and, aided by a wind of 5.28 mps, dominates in 9.9. Poland's Wieslaw Maniak surprises with a 10.1 in second. (Who is this Maniak guy?  For the answer see at the bottom of this post.)

Robinson is third in 10.2, a tenth ahead of the last qualifier, Heinz Schumann of Germany. Jackson is game, but has to ease up when yesterday's injury becomes too painful and finishes last in 10.6.
The competitors in the second semi had to be encouraged by the aiding wind, but life is not fair. Now the wind has turned around and is blowing at 1.29 mps against them. Not to worry. All that matters is placing in the top four.
Our third American entrant, Mel Pender, is not much better off than Trenton Jackson. He pulled a muscle under his ribs yesterday and, when last seen, was in considerable pain. You wouldn't know he was running with an injury today. He gets a tremendous start and is in the lead at 80 meters when, as he reports, “I felt something tearing loose inside me”. He eases up as three runners, led by winner Harry Jerome, go by. Jerome runs 10.3. Gaoussou Kone of the Ivory Coast and Enrique Figuerola of Cuba and Pender all qualify at 10.4. Pender collapses in agony and is carried off on a stretcher. It doesn't look like he will be back for this afternoon's final.

The qualifying distance to advance to the final this afternoon is 180'3” or failing that, the top twelve throwers. Shouldn't be any trouble for our guys, right?
On the surface that would seem to be the case, but it isn't that simple. Two time Olympic champion Al Oerter is in trouble. He has torn cartilage in his rib cage and hasn't been able to do any exercise for the last six day. He is heavily taped and ice is applied periodically to prevent internal hemorrhaging. The team doctors have advised him not to throw. But this is the Olympics and this is Al Oerter. He will compete. His first practice throw doubles him up in pain. Things then go from bad to worse as he watches Ludwig Danek, the Czechoslovakian who advanced Oerter's world record by over five feet earlier this year, fling a practice toss further than the world record.
Pain or not, Oerter is giving 100%. The result is an Olympic record of 198-7. Danek is content to throw 193-2. They will tangle for real this afternoon. Qualifying is no chore for the other Americans. Jay Silvester throws 189-9 and Dave Weill goes 186-6. The stage is set.

The first four in each of two semis qualify for tomorrow's final. All three of our guys, Jay Luck, Rex Cawley and Billy Hardin are still in the mix.
In the first semi Cawley runs confidently and comfortably in fourth place for five hurdles then moves away to an easy win in 49.8. Roberto Frinolli of Italy is impressive with a 50.2 second place ahead of Australia's Gary Knocke and Belgium's Wilfried Geeroms who are timed in 50.6 and 51.0.
In the second race Luck, in lane four, takes the lead early and holds it until he eases up at the tape allowing England's John Cooper to pass him in the last stride. Italian veteran Salvatore Morale closes well for third as the three finish within a foot of each other in 50.4. The good news for the US ends there. Hardin, whose father won this event in 1936, is in trouble from the get-go, missing his step on the first two hurdles and losing too much ground. He finishes sixth in 50.9.

A clearance at 4.60 meters, 15-1¼ for the non-metrically inclined, is the golden ticket to return for the final in two days. Our three entrants, John Pennel, Billy Pemelton and Fred Hansen clear with no problem. Well, no, that is not correct. Though he clears the required height, Pennel has a bad back and is in considerable pain. Only time will tell whether he will vault in the final.
Two non-American vaulters who attended college in the US will not be in the final. Surprisingly Rolando Cruz (Puerto Rico/Villanova), in his third Olympics, fails to make the qualiying height. C.K. Yang (Taiwan/UCLA) clears easily but withdraws to save himself for the decathlon.

There are three heats, semifinals if you will, qualifying the first three and the fastest fourth. The field of 29 will be pared down to 10 for the final day after tomorrow.
Vic Zwolak runs a creditable 8:43.4 for fourth in the first heat. Now he will have to wait to see if it is the fastest fourth. He doesn't have to wait long for the guys in the second heat have put on their big boy pants. Maurice Herriott of Great Britain runs 8:33.0 to break the Olympic record while Sweden's Lars-Erik Gustafsson and American George Young equal the OR at 8:34.2. When Guy Texereau of France crosses the finish line four tenths behind them Zwolak is relegated to spectator status for the final.
The new Olympic record holder doesn't hold that title for long. Adolf Alexsiejunas of the Soviet Union runs 8:31.8 to better world record holder Gaston Roelants of Belgium who finishes two seconds later. Eight minutes and forty-five seconds will be good enough to get Jeff Fishback to the final, but it is not to be. The San Jose State runner can do no better than 8:50.2 in fourth and will join teammate Zwolak as an onlooker for the final.

Linder, Matthews, Holubnychiy

The field of 32 circles the stadium three times before leaving the stadium for the open road. When next seen by the stadium spectators
Ken Matthews of Great Britain is destroying the field by 99 seconds, winning in 1:29:34 and crushing the Olympic record. 
Kenneth Joseph "Ken" Matthews
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
Weight: 172 lbs (78 kg)
Born: June 21, 1934 (Age 80.006) in Birmingham, West Midlands, Great Britain
Affiliations: Royal Sutton Coldfield Walking Club
Country: GBR Great Britain
Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total) In 1959, Ken Matthews of the Sutton Coldfield Walking Club
 won the first of his six consecutive RWA 10 miles titles, and as he also won the 2 miles
 and 7 miles at the AAA Championships that year he was the British champion in all 
three walking events, a feat he repeated in 1961, 1963 and 1964. With victories in 
the Olympic Games in 1965, the European Championships in 1962 and the Lugano Cup
 in 1961 and 1963, Matthews won four of the five major international races in which 
he took part and his only failure came in the 1960 Olympic Games. Starting as one of
 the favorites for the 20 km. title in Rome, he made a rare error of pace judgment and 
failed to finish. Four years on in Tokyo Matthews was a convincing winner, finishing 
ahead of Dieter Lindner of East Germany and the Russian Leonid Spirin, who had wont 
he Olympic title in 1960 and was to win a second gold medal in 1968 after Matthews 
had retired. Matthews, who was an electrician at Hams Hall Power Station, near Sutton
 Coldfield, was the only British Olympic champion in Tokyo who was not honored with
 an MBE at the end of the year. A campaign from within the sport to rectify this finally
 succeeded in 1978 and Matthews was appointed an MBE 14 years after his Olympic victory.
Personal Bests: 10kmW – 42:35.

Second place will be Dieter Linder of Germany.
Height: 5'9" (174 cm)
Weight: 146 lbs (66 kg)
Born: January 18, 1937 (Age 77.160) in Nebra, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Affiliations: Sportclub Fortschritt Weissenfels/Sportclub Chemie Halle

Third place goes to Volodymyr Holubnychiy, USSR  

Volodymyr Stepanovych Holubnychiy 
Original name: Володимир Степанович Голубничий
Other name(s): Vladimir Stepanovich Golubnichy, Владимир Степанович Голубничий
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 170 lbs (77 kg)
Born: June 2, 1936 (Age 78.025) in Sumy, Sumy, Ukraine
Affiliations: Spartak Sumy, Sumy (UKR)
Country: URS Soviet Union 
Medals: 2 Gold1 Silver1 Bronze (4 Total)Ukrainian Volodymyr Holubnychiy
 was among the world's top race walkers for nearly two decades, exclusively 
competing in the 20 km walk. He competed in five Olympics, winning four
Olympic medals and set two 20 km walk world records. Holubnychiy took 
up athletics in 1953, and although he set his first 20 km walk world record
 in 1955 (1-30:36) and his second and last world record in 1959 (1-27:04), he
was not selected to the Soviet national team until the 1960 Olympics. At the 1960 
Olympics, Holubnychiy won his first Olympic title, a feat he repeated at the 1968 
Olympics. Holubnychiy also won silver at the 1972 Olympics and bronze in 1964, 
while finishing seventh in 1976, in his last international tournament. At the European
 Championships, Holubnychiy won a full set of medals, gold in 1974, silver in 1966
 and bronze in 1962. He was also six times Soviet champion in 20 km walk (1960, 
1964, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974). After his retirement from sports, Holubnychiy 
worked as an athletics coach in his native Sumy, Ukraine. Since 2006, an annual 20 km
 walk race has been held in his honor in Sumy.
Personal Best: 20kmW – 1-23:55 (1976).
This has never been a good event for the Americans, but today the performance
 of Ron Zinn is encouraging. He clocks 1:32:43 to finish a surprising sixth. 
Teammate Ron Laird is in 15th place when he is disqualified with half a lap to go.

Ron Zinn (4 years later would die in Viet Nam)


Bob Hayes is the favorite, but there is a problem. The random draw has him running in lane one, the same lane that has just been chewed up by the walkers. The start is held up while the lane is raked and scraped (but not rolled). From inside out the field is Hayes, Schumann, Figuerola, Kone, Jerome, Maniak, Robinson and Pender. A hush falls over the crowd as the starter barks “Koh!” (“set”).
Figuerola gets his usual great start, but surprisingly, so does Hayes. By 40 meters there is no doubt. Hayes has a full meter and is increasing his lead with every stride. The only question is the margin of victory. Hayes runs through the tape without leaning, winning by an incredible seven feet, a gap Jim Dunaway describes as “almost insulting to an Olympic final field”. He is clocked in 10.0, tying his world record and establishing the Olympic record.

Figuerola holds on to second by a foot over Jerome as they both are timed in 10.2 equaling the previous Olympic record. Maniak in fourth and Schumann in fifth run 10,4, the same time given Kone and Pender who dead heat for sixth. Robinson, running fourth at 65 meters, pulls a muscle and finishes last in 10.5.
Hayes says that his lane felt soft and he thought he would have run faster in another. He has no plans to retire as he keeps getting faster each year. “I'll keep running until I stop getting faster.” His goals next year are 9.0 for yards and 9.9 for meters. (We will present more on the 100 meters in our next post)

Three races qualify the first two finishers in each and the next two fastest times. The first semifinal puts Peter Snell and Jerry Siebert into the final. After following a 52.6 first lap leader, Snell takes over on the second lap and eases to victory in 1:46.9. Siebert is well back but moves strongly on the straight to hold off Belgian Jacques Pennewaert as both finish in 1:47.0. Now Pennewaert must suffer through the following two races to see if he will make the final.
If Snell looked good in the first heat, George Kerr of Jamaica and Wilson Kiprugut of Kenya look great in the second heat. Kiprugut goes out fast, leading at the 400 in 51.4. He can't be expected to hold on as his personal best is only 1:48.0. But hang on he does at least until the last few meters where Kerr catches him Their time is a an Olympic record 1:46.1. Dieter Bogatzki of Germany is third in 1:46.9. Kiprugut suddenly becomes a threat as he runs aggressively and he has just improved almost two seconds. He could be the surprise of the day in the final.
The runners in the last heat have the advantage of knowing what it will take to qualify on time, yet no one does. Switching from his usual follow and kick strategy, Tom Farrell of the US goes out hard, passing the 400 in 51.4. Canadian Bill Crothers has become somewhat of an unknown quantity since a dominant indoor season. He has raced so seldom outdoors that no one knows what to expect. He dispels doubts by taking over on the backstretch and pulling away easily to win in 1:47.3. After losing his lead, Farrell gets caught in a box before moving outside in the stretch and holding off Europe's top 800 man, Manfred Kinder of Germany, 1:47.8 to 1:47.9.
Two days hence questions will be answered. Is Snell the Snell of old? Will Crothers' advantage in basic speed pay off against the defending champ? Is this finally George Kerr's year? And who is this Kiprugut guy? Stay tuned.

Al Oerter
practice your German for this clip

This is a regional event, Europe vs. the United States. The field has no throwers from any other part of the world. The great individual dual is two time Olympic champion Al Oerter versus world record holder Ludvik Danek of Czechoslovakia. Oerter just doesn't lose when the stakes are high. On the other hand, Danek has thrown five feet better than Oerter ever has and, indeed, bettered that mark in warm ups this morning. Americans Jay Silvester and Dave Weill have excellent chances of medaling. After three rounds the field of 12 will be pared to six.
Danek takes the lead in the first round when he throws 195-11 ½. Oerter opens at 189-1½. Weill fouls. Silvester is dealing with a problem not faced by most discus throwers. Just minutes before the competition he hit his head on a concrete beam and was knocked unconscious. Now he is up for his first throw in the biggest competition of his life. Given the circumstances, he does well, throwing 186-11½ to take over third place.
The second round belongs to Dave Weill. He throws 195-2 to move into second. Oerter improves to 191-5 but drops to third. Danek doesn't improve and Silvester fouls.
Ludwig Danek (Czechoslovakia)
The three in medal positions fail to improve in the third round, but Silvester closes the margin with a toss of 188-9½.
With half the field eliminated, the fourth round begins. Zenon Begier of Poland and Jozsef Szeccsenyi of Hungary join Silvester, Oerter, Weill and Danek for the final three rounds. There is no change in the order, but Danek stretches his lead with a 198-6½ effort. Oerter, can not respond, throwing only 178-4½.
In the fifth round Silvester replaces Oerter in third with a throw of 193-10½. Danek doesn't improve. As Oerter steps into the ring for the last throw of the round, not only is he not in position for the gold, he is not in position for any medal.
Big Al feels he has been turning too fast, causing a low trajectory. This time he slows and the result is a higher and longer throw, 200-1 ½ to be exact, moving him into first and removing Silvester from the medal podium.
Dave Weill (USA)
In the sixth round Weill can manage only 172-1 and Silvester fouls. Weill has the bronze. The gold is about to be decided as the 6'6” Danek steps into the ring. The competition ends not with a bang but a whimper as the big Czech's throw lands 187 feet away. With the gold assured, Oerter passes his final attempt.

There is optimism in the US camp as the spectators leave the stadium. The two gold medals won today don't provide the elation of the one won by Billy Mills yesterday because one was in an event we were supposed to win (100) and the other in which we had a very good chance (discus). Still we were thrilled our guys won.
The future is bright. Rex Cawley looked great in the 400 hurdles. Our vaulters have a strong shot at gold. George Young made the final in the steeplechase as did Tom Farrell and Jerry Siebert in the 800. We even did better than expected in the 20K walk. Yes, it was a very good day.
Tomorrow we will find out whether Peter Snell can repeat in the 800. We will see if world record holder Rex Cawley can add the 400 hurdle gold to his resume. There will be qualifying for the triple jump in the morning and the final in the afternoon. The first two rounds of the 200 are on tap and so is the first round of the 5000.
Big day coming up. Get a good night's rest and we'll meet in the hotel lobby for a run before breakfast. See you then.

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