SI Vault
Roy Terrell
July 24, 1961
Valeri Brumel jumped higher than anyone ever had, but U.S. track men were faster and stronger. They won a duel of giants in Moscow's Lenin Stadium.
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July 24, 1961

The High Meet The Mighty

Valeri Brumel jumped higher than anyone ever had, but U.S. track men were faster and stronger. They won a duel of giants in Moscow's Lenin Stadium.

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At first it appeared that this was too far even for Wilma. She closed very slowly for the first 30, 40, 50 yards. But then something happened. Wilma went zoom. She passed Shchelkanova as if the Russian were nailed to the track and won by three yards. The time was 44.4, breaking the old record of 44.5. "That long old girl can run when she wants to," said Ralph Boston. It was estimated that Wilma had raced her 100 meters in eight seconds flat.

The only other world record for the day was the 57.43-meter (188 feet 5 inches) discus throw by Tamara Press, the Soviet amazon who set the old record and who is as muscular as ever.

The most surprising women's performance, however, was a second-place finish to Russia's Taisia Chenchik by America's Barbara Brown, who high-jumped 1.65 meters (5 feet 5 inches). Barbara, who has red hair and freckles, had never jumped that high before and never expected to jump that high now. Then, in her exultation, she proceeded to jump even higher, bouncing around the bright green grass of Lenin Stadium and waving her hands in the air.

Four meet records were set by the men, in addition to the world records. John Uelses, the German-born marine who is our newest pole-vaulting star, went 4.69 meters (15 feet 4� inches), winning over another relative newcomer, Henry Wadsworth, by 3� inches. "It was the second-best vault I've ever made," said Uelses. "I've got to get me one of those fiber glass poles," said Wadsworth.

Vitold Kreer cut loose with the best hop, step and jump of the year, 16.68 meters (54 feet 8� inches). Yuri Zakharov and Virkus Lembit killed off America's best 10,000-meter man, John Gutknecht, with a punishing pace before Zakharov went on to win in 29:34.4 by 220 yards. "It was too hot," said Zakharov, who has run much faster. "Do you know what?" said Gutknecht. "I broke my own three-mile record of 14:01 by several seconds. And we were running more than six miles. That was some pace."

But perhaps the finest race of the day was turned in by Jerry Siebert in winning the 800 meters. Trailing in third place behind Russian Valeri Bulyshev and teammate Jim Dupree for 1� laps, Siebert followed as Dupree took the lead on the last turn and then outran the man who beat him in the national AAU meet. The time was 1:46.8, which equaled Siebert's best.

Ulis Williams and Gary Gubner set no records, but everyone was proud of the way the two boys performed. Williams won the 400 meters, easily, in 46.7, as Adolph Plummer's starting blocks slipped and the big New Mexico runner nearly exhausted himself trying to cancel the misfortune. He finished a full five yards behind Williams, barely holding off Valentin Rakhmanov for second.

Everyone knew that Gubner would someday be something special—it was only a matter of when. As a New York schoolboy competing in indoor meets a year ago, he could not find a gymnasium to hold him. He kept breaking windows and walls and knocking down basketball backboards with his 12-pound shot-put. Moving up to the 16-pound shot this year as a freshman at NYU, Gubner improved steadily. On Saturday he threw 60 feet 7� inches, two inches more than Jay Silvester.

Gubner made the Moscow team because Dallas Long and Parry O'Brien decided to pass up the trip. When he got on the plane at Idlewild, his mother said: "Let us be proud of you." She should be now.

On Sunday the Americans insured the final outcome of the meet almost immediately by winning the day's first three events. Cliff Cushman, the Olympic silver medalist, took the 400-meter hurdles in 50.5. Then Budd and Drayton finished a taut one-two in the 200 meters. Budd ran 20.8, and Drayton ran four steps on the line separating his lane from the Russian next door. He was disqualified on an international rule that is almost never invoked in the U.S. unless the offending runner interferes with another. Since Drayton was so far ahead of the nearest Russian, Pincus Sober objected mildly, but the Russian referee ruled in favor of the Russians.

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