SI Vault
 
OVER THE FIRST BIG HURDLE ON A GOLDEN TRAIL
John Underwood
July 13, 1964
Some old dependables and a few new faces won places on the Olympic team. Some of those who missed will get another chance in September
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 13, 1964

Over The First Big Hurdle On A Golden Trail

Some old dependables and a few new faces won places on the Olympic team. Some of those who missed will get another chance in September

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

It was, as any track and field man might have said, a time to put aside wild facts and get down to speculation. There had been, after all, no less of a fact-finding muddle in the steaming pit at Randalls Island in New York where the U.S. Olympic trials were held last weekend than there had been at the cottage of the Connecticut housewife who had watched the trials on television in hopes of catching a glimpse of her husband in the stands. Her attention was not always riveted, she explained, but her amazement was genuine as she subsequently told her husband about "the men out on the field who were positively immense. That one fellow, from Dallas, I believe, who throws the big rock. Huge. Is he going to be on our Olympic team?"

Dallas Long of Pasadena, Calif. is, of course, going to be on our Olympic team because he can throw the big rock—put the shot—farther than anybody and did so again last weekend. He is very close to being a 260-pound sure thing. Otherwise, the developments at Downing Stadium, hard by New York's East River, impossibly situated beneath the thundering Queens arm of the Triborough Bridge, were developments not always so packageable. Encouraging for Tokyo? Discouraging? Either, neither and both. But altogether intriguing, as:

Three remarkable teen-agers—Randy Matson, 19, of Texas A&M, who puts the shot; Jim Ryun, 17, of Wichita East High School, who runs 1,500 meters (the metric mile); and Gerry Lindgren, 18, of Spokane, who runs (thrusts and parries, rather) through 5,000 meters—proved good enough or near good enough to make the American team.

A Yale man—that's Y-a-l-e, Yale—made it.

Jim Beatty did not.

The laureate candidates for the 1,500 meters—Dyrol Burleson, Tom O'Hara, Jim Grelle et al.—ran like coy old women. Coy old women in rocking chairs vying for a view of the shuffleboard. Their times were embarrassing, though not for Burleson, because he ran as fast as he needed to win.

There was more:

The winner of the 5,000 meters, a straightforward Ohio shuffler with an extraordinarily swift finish named Bob Schul, volunteered to run the old women right out of their chairs if the U.S. Olympic Committee would allow him to join the crowd in the 1,500 meters in the final trials at Los Angeles on September 12 and 13. (The winner of each event at Randalls Island qualified for the Olympic team; the first six qualified for the final trials, which will determine two more Olympians in each event.)

Fastest human Bob Hayes, his left thigh slightly injured, did not run in the sprints.

Pole Vaulter Fred Hansen did not vault 17 feet, as has become his custom. He did not quite vault 16� feet either, which was what was required of John Pennel to win the event.

Continue Story
1 2 3