Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 82 Tokyo Olympics Day 7 Willi Holdorf's Day

1964 Olympics 7th Day

There is only one final today, the last five events of the decathlon. In addition there will be qualifying in the high jump, quarterfinals and semifinals in the 4 x 100 and semifinals in the 4 x 400.
Anyone competing today best be a hearty soul for it's damp and the temps are in the high 50's. Bundle up and let's see what's happening.

We trust that none of the competitors were up late partying because it is 9 AM as the entrants in the first heat are setting their blocks. For those of you who were out late partying, let me refresh your memories about the standings when the sun set yesterday. Germany's Willie Holdorf has the lead with 4090 points. Teammate Hans-Joachim Walde is only 16 points back. In the bronze medal position is Rein Aun of the USSR a mere 7 points out of second. Then there is a gap of 157 points to fourth place. World record holder C.K. Yang is mired in 7th, 287 points off the pace.
The rain falls throughout the entire competition. Yang has the fastest hurdle time, 14.7, but it is likely too little too late as he picks up only 33 points on Holdorf who runs 15.0, good enough to open ground as Walde runs 15.3 and Aun severely hampers his chances with a sub par 15.9. Holdorf's lead is 39 on Walde and a whopping 110 on Aun. Americans Paul Herman, Dick Emberger and Russ Hodge are 6th, 10th and 11th.

The gap among the leaders continues to widen as Holdorf throws 151-1 increasing his margins to 99 over Walde and 149 over Aun. Yang nails the coffin shut on any medal hopes by throwing only 129-10½. Russ Hodge has the fourth best throw, 146-5.

There are three heats each qualifying five teams and the fastest sixth, meaning 16 teams will move on to the semis.
Italy impresses in the first heat, easily running 39.7 to edge Poland's 39.9. Great Britain, Hungary and Nigeria also get the golden ticket to advance to the semis.
The US is in lane two in the second heat. Our guys certainly have the talent to take gold but memories of the passing debacle in Rome just four years ago are stirred when leadoff man Paul Drayton can't connect smoothly with Gerry Ashworth and Germany gains two meters on the exchange. The second exchange isn't much better as Dick Stebbins is off slowly and the pass is made with the runners nearly side by side. Sloppy or conservative? Who knows? Stebbins runs the curve well enough to gain back a meter and the pass to Bob Hayes is good. Hayes starts a meter down, but the former Florida A&M star is money in the bank. He explodes into the lead. Cordner Nelson writes that he gains four meters in the first twenty. Hyperbole maybe, but impressive none the less. He hits the tape in 39.8, a great finish but the passing leaves cause for concern. Italy ran faster under wraps. Venezuela catches Germany for second, 40.1 to 40.2. Senegal and India take the other qualifying spots. Japan runs 41.0 to replace Malaysia as the fastest sixth.
The third heat sees France running 39.8, leaving Jamaica and the USSR well behind with both running 40.1. Australia and Ghana qualify for this afternoon's semis. Uganda is sixth at 41.4, not good enough to unseat Japan much to the delight of the local crowd.

The qualifying height, 2.06 meters (6-9 1/8), is cleared by 20 jumpers. There are no surprises. World record holder Valeriy Brumel is the overwhelming favorite. The gold is his to lose. Our guys, Ed Caruthers, John Thomas and John Rambo, will be back tomorrow.

This is the event where C.K. Yang took command of previous decathlons. Not today. The scoring tables were dramatically changed only six weeks ago, devaluating top performances. Today he vaults higher than the competition, 15-1¼, but only gains 98 points on the leader, Holdorf, who jumps 13-9¼. At this point the world record holder has to realize that he won't medal. The order of those destined for the victory stand remains the same: Holdorf 6598, Walde 6470 and Aun 6449. American Paul Herman quietly moves up two places to fourth with a vault of 14-3. He has 6364 points.

Two races with the first four qualifying for the final. Quarterfinal winners USA and France are in adjoining lanes in the first semi. The sloppy passing continues for the US with France picking up two meters on the first pass and holding it until the baton is firmly in the strong left hand of Bob Hayes. For the second time today the US anchor man demonstrates the difference between the greatest sprinters in the world and Robert Hayes. He takes the lead and is satisfied to win by a meter in an Olympic record tying 39.5. Still there is an element of doubt for tomorrow's final as France and Dennis Johnson's Jamaica are clocked in 39.6. Adding to that sense of uneasiness is the fact that Italy, Poland and Venezuela also run 39.6 in the second semi. Russia and Great Britain will also be back tomorrow. US fans can only hope that Drayton will introduce himself to Ashworth and they come up with a plan to move the baton along more smoothly on that first pass.

There will be three heats, each qualifying the first two finishers. The teams with the next two fastest times will also be back tomorrow for the finals.
The US is in the first heat. There is no mystery here. Our guys are prohibitive favorites. Two hundred meter champ Henry Carr leads off followed by Ollan Cassell, 400 champ Mike Larrabee and Ulis Williams. They win easily, 3:05.3 to 3:07.4 for runner up Russia which narrowly edges France out of the automatic qualifying position by a tenth.
Trinidad-Tobago betters that time with a 3:05.0 clocking in the second heat with team of US college students, Ed Skinner, Kent Bernard, Ed Roberts and Wendell Mottley. It is obvious that they are capable of running much faster tomorrow. Second goes to Poland in 3:07.2.
The third heat has some serious competition. Anchor George Kerr takes the handoff for Jamaica in the lead but is passed by Robbie Brightwell of Great Britain and Manfred Kinder of Germany. Great Britain wins in 3:04.7 with Gemany second in 3:04.9 for the two fastest marks of the day. Jamaica qualifies for the final in 3:05.3, the same time the US had in winning the first heat. Tomorrow's final has Olympic and world record potential.
Once again Yang has the top mark, 223-7, which moves him to fourth, only 23 points out of third. Herman throws 207-10 but is passed in the point standings not only by Yang, but Vasiliy Kuzneytzov of the USSR who has a mark of 222-8. Walde gains on Holdorf by out-tossing him 206-4 to 188-2 but Holdorf holds a commanding lead with only the 1500 left. Holdorf 7326, Walde 7266, Aun 7199, Yang 7176, Kuzneytzov 7175, Herman and Storozhenko of the USSR 7166. As Yang is not a strong 1500 runner, the medals seem assured for the first three. Too bad fourth doesn't provide a medal because it looks like a good race, literally and figuratively.

Paul Herman
Leader Willi Holdorf is not a great 1500 runner, but he only needs to be average to win as he has a 60 point lead on German teammate Hans-Joachim Walde, also less than a whiz bang 1500 guy. Russian Rein Aun is strong at this distance but he is 127 points back. Failing a complete blow up, the gold medal will be Holdorf's.

Paul Herman of the US is in good position to move up from sixth as both Yang and Kuzneytzov are plodders.
Dick Emberger
Dick Emberger of the US runs the day's fastest time, 4:19.3, to move up one spot to tenth, but it is Aun's 4:22.3 which matters the most as it earns him the silver medal over Walde who can only chug out 4:37.0 to become the bronze medalist. Holdorf isn't much faster than his teammate, 4:34.3, but he doesn't have to be.

Aun, Holdorf, and Walde
 He will stand on the highest platform when medals are presented. Holdorf 78867, Aun 7842 and Walde 7809 are the medalists. Herman's 4:25.4 moves him past Yang, 4:48.4, and Kuzneytzov, 5:02.5, to fourth with 7787.

Tomorrow will provide an exciting climax to these Olympics. We will soon know if Abebe Bikila can defend his Rome championship, as the marathon starts the day. Peter Snell, already the 800 gold medalist, will try to do what has not been

Snell, can he pull off the double?

done before, win both the 800 and 1500 in the same Olympics. World record holder Valeriy Brumel is the favorite in the high jump but he will face a tough field. The US is favored in both relays but a recent history of inconsistent baton passing – see Rome 1960 – is reason for doubt in the 4 x 100. Gold in the 4 x 400 appears more certain, but England, Germany and Trinidad-Tabago all ran faster than we did today. Get a good night's rest and we will see you tomorrow.

Starts and Stripes Photo of Bob Hayes, Ralph Boston, Henry Carr
and Fred Hansen, coach Ducky Drake?  Give us some help on this one.

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