"I spent the first six months practicing in my living room—without bullets," he recalls. "After work each evening I would lie down on the carpet and squeeze the trigger, carefully watching the movement of the gun after each shot. The idea was to control the movement and make it consistent." At the age of 30 Da Sousa, who had not fired a bullet for 14 years, took a bus to the colony's annual shooting competition and wound up in the Governor's Twenty (the winner's circle). Today one of the closets in the Da Sousa flat contains 180 shooting trophies.
Da Sousa can now afford all the bullets he wants. He is the senior land assistant in the district office of Tsuen Wan, an industrial township on the outskirts of Kowloon, and he earns $500 a month and lives expansively with his Chinese wife and six children and his German Anschutz bolt-action .22. In 1955 he cut out smoking because smoking affected his heartbeat on the firing line. Since 1958 he has never spent less than six hours a week at target practice. "I have never," he says, ' "touched a drop of alcohol. My wife does not expect to be taken out more than five nights a year. Since training for Tokyo, which began almost immediately after my return from Rome [where he was 41st in a field of 90], I've had no night life at all. Late nights definitely affect my shooting. My wife, God bless her, has never complained."
His friends know Henry Da Sousa as a man who is almost inaudible. He docs not talk about himself at all, except to say that "this Olympic business has not changed me—I'm my same old self." He does not talk, either, of what he pointedly calls "the Great Value of the Olympics," except to say that at Rome he never once heard a political discussion in the village for athletes. He has rather strong feelings about the Japanese, developed from the war. But he also remembers a day in Rome when he was doing poorly and a Japanese competitor came to him with some ammunition to help him change his luck.
George Kerr will be 27 on October 16, so he will celebrate his birthday in Tokyo, though he is no great shakes as a celebrator. He is a self-effacing, monosyllabic farm boy from the Jamaican backwoods district called Maryland, and he is very much like Henry Da Sousa in that he is the last man he ever talks about when he is talking, which is mostly never. He would rather run than talk—and he runs 800 meters almost as fast as anybody in the world.
George Kerr is the youngest of four brothers of strict Baptist upbringing. The hard life on their Jamaican farm made him self-reliant, single-minded, patient, and the Baptist upbringing made him so humble that he fairly flees when there is a possibility he might be called on to sound important. His coach, Herb McKenley, who ran in the Olympics in 1948 and 1952, speaks and schemes for him, and a few years back saw to it that he was offered scholarships to get into two universities in the U.S., Illinois and Oregon State.
"George was in Chicago when he met his wife. She was a schoolteacher, and he asked her to marry him, but he wouldn't set the date until I met her and passed judgment. I think she is right for him. She is probably the only girl he ever looked at seriously in all the years I have known him. In our travels together he is the one man you could always be sure wasn't horsing around somewhere."
George Kerr is deathly afraid of being poor again. He studied entomology at college because he could not imagine ever being too far removed from farming, and he has scouted around to see where he can put his education and reputation to best possible use. As a runner, he has been found lacking in aggressiveness, and at Tokyo it is a factor that might cost him. "It is true, he is not aggressive, I know that. He likes to be at peace with everyone and everything," says McKenley. "You watch him before the race. You will see him go off by himself and be very quiet. That is when he is praying."
Kanoko Mabuchi is the 26-year-old daughter of a Kobe painter, a graduate of Kwansei Gakuin University, where she majored in esthetics. She is now the color and design consultant for Kurashiki Rayon of Osaka, which pays her $83 a month even when she's off in formful pursuit of the high and springboard diving championships of Japan, which she has won every year since 1954. She looks like a teen-ager, Kanoko, with her short hair and her round happy face. She is married to another diver, Ryo Mabuchi, 31, who coaches her. She has a recurring dream. "What else could a childless wife dream of? Why, that's to have a child," she says. "After the Tokyo Games."
"To me the Olympics means but one thing—the finest possible festival of the finest possible youths from around the globe, the cream of the world of tomorrow," says Kanoko. She speaks with great reverence. "I learned in Rome the vital importance of the Olympics as a means of insuring the peace tomorrow. Now my own country is hosting this important occasion, an honor that very much likely will not be repeated in my lifetime. Win or lose, I am going to cherish every moment. Later, when I feel beat because of a problem which seems insurmountable, then I may tell myself, 'Have you forgotten your Olympic honor? You must do better than that, because, after all, once you were an Olympian!' "
The Games begin October 10 and last 14 days. Once they were just a handful of sports; now they are 20 men's sports and six for women, and at the final accounting the 6,600 who can later say they were Olympians will have decided the distribution of 499 medals, gold (first place), silver (second) and bronze (third). Until 1956 it was generally conceded ahead of time that a majority of the medals would go to athletes from the United States, which took the Games seriously when others did not. (In the last 14 summer Olympics, American athletes have won 1,078 medals, nearly three times as many as the nearest rival nation, Great Britain, with 445. In gold medals, the U.S. is ahead 469 to Britain's 130.) In 1956, however, the Soviet Union put its great bulk behind an Olympic effort, and the resultant competition at the top—imagine, the Americans having competition!—had a vitalizing effect on the entire world.