From Lake Michigan west to the town of Hinsdale, where equestrian teams sent their mounts over jump after jump, northwest to Portage Park, where swimmers and divers plunged into the brand-new Olympic-size pools, southwest to the Cal-Sag Canal, where commercial shipping was slowed to avoid ramming the rowers, Chicago and its suburbs teemed with a fascinating cross-section of humanity—2,162 athletes from 24 Western Hemisphere countries, male and female, tall and short, light and dark. They were in town for the Pan American Games, which start this Thursday and continue through Labor Day. They spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese. They wielded sabres, threw discuses, rode bikes and had fun as they worked themselves into shape.
With competition not yet begun, even the disputes were relaxed. Some U.S. girls complained that their uniform shorts were too tight, that they couldn't compete in them. But different-size shorts were traded around, an emergency order went out for replacements, everybody smiled, and. the teapot tempest died away.
Busiest spot in town was Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, where world-record holders like Shot-putter Parry O'Brien will work out., U.S. Pole Vaulter Don Bragg spent more time coaching and helping his' foreign rivals than he did in perfecting his own skills. Brazil's Adhemar Ferreira da Silva, a sort of universal ambassador (see page 34), served as a catalyst between English-speaking: and Latin-speaking groups. And Bill Nieder, who missed making the U.S. team, was on a busman's holiday, learning how to high-jump ("just for fun") and having a ball teaching pretty girls how to put the shot.