Inside the stadium all awareness of nationality and isms, of world tensions and political views disappeared as an ugly thought succumbs to a happy one. These were not just Americans competing against Russians. They were, most of all, men competing against one another. We sat there and wanted the crowd to applaud for the Russian who won as much as for the American who did not.
We waited with thousands of others underneath the stands, wishing the rain would stop and praying that Kuznetsov would make his record. We applauded his effort as sincerely as did the three Russians sitting next to us. Said the announcer, "You are the largest crowd that has ever waited for one event [the last decathlon race] in Franklin Field's history. It's a great tribute." And said a friend of ours who was helping to officiate, "Kuznetsov, although he doesn't speak English, is one of the nicest guys I've ever met."
THE TRACK MEET
Here are two comments on the U.S.A. vs. U.S.S.R. track meet in Philadelphia:
You might have noted in your caption on the photo showing Bob Soth being hoisted from the track that the fellow in the flowing white gown and Red Cross armband was one of the Russian doctors who rushed to the stricken U.S. runner's aid when it became apparent that Soth could not get up again and continue the race. Just one more instance of the good will that pervaded Franklin Field.
Kuznetsov may have lost his own "new" decathlon record when, in the pole vault, he elected to go to 13 feet 10, instead of 13 feet 8. On his second attempt at 13 feet 10, the mighty Russian grazed the bar with his chest as he descended and, all things being equal, would have been over had the bar been at 13 feet 8. He was credited with a 13-foot-6 clearance. The other two inches would have-given him enough extra points to break his approved and the pending records.
GERALD G. KALLMAN
If the three Russian women pictured (SI, July 27) were some of the "dolls" you were referring to who represented the U.S.S.R. in the track meet with the U.S., I should hate to see a Russian woman who is not a doll. Let's face it, they look just as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED said most Americans pictured them: truck drivers with long hair. Give them credit for being good athletes, but please don't call them dolls.
American girls do not shun "the violent and often unbecoming effort implicit in track competition." They are very carefully taught by the physical education authorities of our public schools and our YWCAs that competitive sports are bad for the health of the growing girl.
This was a track competition between the U.S.S.R. and a few rebels against the U.S. education system. The slothfulness is not with our youth, it is with our adults.
What genius developed the scoring system that allows a contestant to score one point for finishing last?
?Although each event was limited to two competitors from each team, the Russians insisted on the customary one point for fourth place.—ED.