The most important track meet the U.S. takes part in except for the Olympic Games is the annual dual meet with Soviet Russia. This year's renewal, sixth in a series that began in 1958 (the meet was not held in 1960), takes place Saturday and Sunday in the Coliseum in Los Angeles. It will be telecast, live and on tape, over the ABC network.
This year, because of the advantage we have in being the home team and because our strength in track becomes intensified in an Olympic year, we are almost certain to win the men's division by the widest margin ever (last year we were lucky to win by five points), and our women should do much better than in 1963. For the first time we seem likely to win in overall team scoring. A compressed form chart follows. Likely division of points (5 for first, 3 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth) in each event is given in parentheses.
100 METERS ( U.S. 8, U.S.S.R. 3): Bob Hayes, probably the fastest man who ever lived, has an injured thigh and is not the explosive runner he was in 1962 and 1963, but he is nonetheless much too strong for his opposition. Bernie Rivers should take second from Edvin Ozolin, the Russian record holder, who has a complex about international meets. "He is a coward," says Soviet Coach Korobkov, "and you can quote me."
200 METERS ( U.S. 8, U.S.S.R. 3): Henry Carr, the world record holder in the 200, is as graceful a runner as Hayes is violent and, barring injury, he is just as sure a bet. Paul Drayton is almost as good as Carr and guarantees a sweep.
400 METERS ( U.S. 8, U.S.S.R. 3): Mike Larrabee, 30, and Ollan Cassell, 27, are a couple of guys who never quite made it before. Both go all out from the start and defy the opposition to catch them. Vadim Arkhipchuk has had good times and tries hard but seldom wins.
800 METERS ( U.S. 7, U.S.S.R. 4): Jerry Siebert won this event in 1961 and 1962 and then retired to graduate work in physics until the lure of Tokyo brought him back to action. He should win, but Estonian Rein Telp, who has a strong finish, may surprise.
1,500 METERS ( U.S. 8, U.S.S.R. 3): With Tom O'Hara out because of his father's illness, Dyrol Burleson will be joined by his old sidekick, Jim Grelle. Unless they permit a dawdling pace they are certain to finish one-two.
5,000 METERS ( U.S.S.R. 7, U.S. 4): For the first time since 1932 the U.S. has a chance of winning a major international victory in the 5,000. Bob Schul is the best in the world so far this year, though Pyotr Bolotnikov, the 1960 Olympic 10,000-meter champion, is only six-tenths of a second behind. The 5,000 should be the best race of the meet.
10,000 METERS ( U.S.S.R. 8, U.S. 3): This is a race for veteran runners, but America's hope is 18-year-old Gerry Lindgren. He has run the 10,000 only once, and his time is almost 50 seconds slower than the best by the Russian pair, Nikolai Dutov and Leonid Ivanov. But Gerry improves in great surges, and he could produce something astonishing.
110-METER HURDLES ( U.S. 8, U.S.S.R. 3): Anatoli Mikhailov always does about 13.8, and if that is good enough he wins. Last year, surprisingly, it was. But this time Hayes Jones and Blaine Lindgren, with 13.4 and 13.6 respectively this season, will leave Anatoli behind.