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WE WIN THE FIVE AND TEN
John Underwood
October 26, 1964
Gold medals were coming America's way in bargain-basement lots at the Tokyo Olympics. Two of them—for the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs—were treasures
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October 26, 1964

We Win The Five And Ten

Gold medals were coming America's way in bargain-basement lots at the Tokyo Olympics. Two of them—for the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs—were treasures

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There were failures. Harold Connolly was disappointing in the hammer throw and Peter Snell obliterated the U.S. half miters. Ralph Boston, the 1960 gold-medal winner, resumed his battle with Russia's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan and beat him again, but this time England's Lynn Davies bested both of them with a jump of 26 feet 5� inches. Boston's last jump was his best, but as he went into the air he was struck with a wind that had pestered the jumpers all day. He came down 1� inches short of Davies' mark. "Good heavens," said a British newsman when he learned of Davies' victory, "it must have been the English weather."

Apart from swimming and diving, the Americans did not score heavily in other sports, though there were some improvements to offset the reversals. The wrestlers won only one medal (they had three in 1960), and the weight lifters had but one bronze compared to one gold, four silvers and one bronze in 1960. But the rifle and pistol shooters won five medals and the rowing team four, and these were huge advances. In rowing America won the pairs-with-coxswain gold medal and then—when the Vesper Boat Club won the eight-oared event—regained a large measure of the prestige it lost in 1960. The U.S. had taken the eight-oared gold medal in eight straight Olympics before the Ratzeburg Rowing Club of Germany won in Rome. The day of the finals in Tokyo was blustery, and the races were postponed twice. Vesper hoped its race would not be put off—heavier than most other crews, Vesper figured it had the power to overcome the headwind whipping across the water. When the race finally got underway the wind was still blowing, and it was almost dark. The Germans and the Russians got off to good starts, but just past the halfway mark Vesper pulled ahead, kept widening its lead and crossed the finish line a surprising length and a half in front of the Germans.

Karl Adam, coach of the German crew, crushed by Vesper's convincing win, stood on the balcony above the boathouse. "I want to go home right away," he said.

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