SI Vault
April 03, 1967
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April 03, 1967


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2) "Too short! There is no need in Belgium for 'average' or small players. Belgium needs tall pivots, about 6'8"."

3) "At coaches' instructions they usually ask 'Why?'"


Fifty-four years, eight months, six days, eight hours, 32 minutes and 20[3/10]ths seconds after he had set out on the marathon run in the 1912 Olympics, Shizo Kanakuri of Japan was clocked in at Stockholm's Olympic Stadium.

Kanakuri had disappeared midway through the race, leading to rumors that he had missed his first checkpoint and was still running. Indeed, his whereabouts remained a mystery until 1962, when a Swedish newsman tracked him down in the town of Tamana in southern Japan, where he was enjoying the placid life of a pensioned geography teacher.

It seems that Kanakuri, on the verge of fainting from heat exhaustion, had been running past a banker's villa on the outskirts of Tureberg, when he spotted people drinking orange juice in the garden. He stopped to quench his thirst and lingered at the garden party for an hour, then took a train to Stockholm, where he spent the night in a hotel and, deeply ashamed, left on the first available boat for the Orient.

Now 76, Kanakuri returned to Stockholm at the invitation of a businessmen's committee, which is raising money to send the Swedish team to the 1968 Olympics. "It's been a long race," he said, "but then I got myself a wife, six children and 10 grandchildren during it, and that takes time, you know."

Last week Kanakuri revisited the villa garden and was treated to another glass of orange juice by Bengt Petre, the son of his original host. Kanakuri also cleared up a further mystery. For 54 years the Petres have treasured, as a poetic memento of the Olympics, a scroll with Japanese writing on it, which they found inside a decorative box Kanakuri had sent them in gratitude for their hospitality. When he took a look at it Kanakuri sadly informed the Petres: "It is just an old customs form."


"Money makes the mare go" is one of racing's oldest maxims, and as purses for stakes races rise each year it becomes even more relevant. Now the Atlantic City racetrack is trying to give the mares—and the fillies—added incentive: it has dreamed up the Matchmaker Stakes, which promises the first three finishers not only money but a little love.

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