"Shots are all different," he said seriously. "Some aren't perfectly round, some are bigger, some are rough on the outside. I like a smooth, perfectly round shot. I have my own, but I left it in California to be balanced and brought up to weight. I used it so much it was a half ounce light. But this one did all right."
Nieder set his record on his first attempt. One of his warmup tosses had sailed 64 feet 10� inches, and he was putting the shot over 62 feet standing at the front of the ring without a glide.
"Frank Medina gave me a wonderful massage just before I came out," he said. Medina is the Texas trainer who went with the American team to Russia two years ago and who trained the American Olympic team in 1948. "He made my arm feel real good. I never have warmed up so fast before. Frank worked on Alley's arm last year before Bill broke the javelin record here, too."
65 WAS A HOPE
"Anyway, when I got ready for the first one, I thought I could do it," Nieder said. "I was hoping for 65. That little fence looked like it was only 60 feet away. That's good psychological edge, you know." The little fence was 66 feet away; it is there to prevent the shot from rolling out on the track. Nieder's prodigious toss hit only inches away from it.
"I did everything just right," Nieder said. "I've been telling these kids all week to wait for the shot, to get a good, long pull on it, to turn their hips. I guess subconsciously I remembered all that myself. I did it anyway. Last year I used to throw line drives because I was in too big a hurry. I waited for it this time."
Nieder had set his personal goal at 65 feet this year, but he revised it to 66 after this performance. He is not optimistic about keeping the record, though.
"I guess Long will get it eventually," he said. "He's bigger than me or Parry O'Brien or Dave Davis, who has been over 63 feet. He's had the advantage of working from the O'Brien stance all the time. And he started working out with weights when he was 14. I didn't use the O'Brien stance until 1955 and I didn't start using weights until I was 20."
Nieder tossed up the shot he had used for the record and caught it. The gray steel sphere looked like a dirty ping-pong ball in his hand. "I don't mind about the record," he said. "As long as I make the Olympic team. That's the big thing. To make the team and to get a gold medal in Rome."