TRACK: HERE THEY CAME
Please accept my congratulations on a superior bit of track reporting from Philadelphia (Victory with a Smile, SI, July 27).
Tex Maule's description of the 10,000-meter run was indeed excellent. For one who did not see the race, it was a graphic and complete picture. For one who did see it, it was even more interesting. The picture coverage made it complete.
Unfortunately the meet showed we lag far behind Europe when it comes to staging an affair of this type. With all the planning and thought that was behind this contest, one would think the end result would be a model of track and field efficiency.
Instead it was a two-day ordeal. Believe it or not, no wind gauge was present. Had Greg Bell finally wiped out the last of Jesse Owens' great world records, it would not have been accepted because no evidence would have been available to show that this great broad jumper did not have the advantage of excessive wind.
A successful meet is usually guided by a knowledgeable announcer. At Franklin Field, it was simply frustrating. Pity the poor guy who plunked down $4. He got all of his information from his morning newspaper.
My press-box neighbor was Robert Parient� of L'Equipe. This Paris sports daily with a 600,000 circulation had sent their top man to report it in detail. They felt it important enough to have him telephone Paris four times during the course of the Sunday events. The last call lasted a full half hour. I spent all Sunday evening attempting to convince him that this was not a typically conducted big meet in this country. I'm not at all sure I succeeded.
This nation is still at the top among track and field powers. Our solid position has slipped a bit, to be sure. Europe has learned much from us. They have taken from us three of our proudest possessions—and in a seven-week period. First, it was the Russian, Kuznetsov, who broke Rafer Johnson's decathlon record. Then the Pole, Piatowski, took Fortune Gordien's discus record, and then the German, Lauer, invaded our strongest hold, the high hurdles, and captured the record held jointly by Jack Davis and Milt Campbell.
Europe has learned from us the secrets of our success. The only thing left to be learned from them is how to efficiently stage a big meet.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Although I am not an enthusiastic track and field man, I must say that with Tex Maule's article on one side and the television screen on the other I thoroughly enjoyed the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. track and field competition held July 18-19 in Philadelphia.
His article outlined most events in full detail, including stretch runs, and I found myself very familiar with the names of the athletes.
ALLAN H. TABAC