Although most of the competition in the tryouts went according to form, there was one startling upset. In a freestyle match, Dan (Homicide) Hodge, the U.S. middleweight champion, was expected to have an easy time with a lanky young man from Illinois named Bill Smith. Smith, a winner of the Olympic welterweight title at Helsinki in 1952, was on the run from the start of the match. Hodge, stalking him like Marciano after Moore, became impatient and, with only 2:35 gone, lunged for Smith's leg. Smith went down, then rolled over atop Hodge and for a fleeting second, Homicide's shoulders brushed the mat. In amateur wrestling that is enough and the referee's and judges' hands shot up to signal the fall.
Hodge couldn't believe it. Neither could Smith, who protested:
"If it was anyone but you, Dan! I know you're a better wrestler than me. I would be happy if it was anyone but you."
Then Smith confided: "It was my whizzer. That's a hold I practice. He went after my leg and held on a little too long. I just whipped him over and that was it. He got careless." Later Hodge made the U.S. team in the Graeco-Roman division.
The conclusion from these and other matches by those who follow the amateur sport: the U.S. will have a formidable team at Melbourne, capable of giving serious competition to such powerhouse teams as those of Sweden and Turkey.
The woeful fan, his day a wreck,
Intones this sad refrain—
How much rain would a raincheck check
If a raincheck could check rain?