The significance of what happened to British track athletes in Nairobi and Font-Romeu in the French Pyrenees on recent days will not be lost on coaches training their charges for the Mexico City Olympics. Both Nairobi and Font-Romeu are at altitudes of about 6,000 feet. Mexico City is some 7,800 feet high.
At Nairobi Alan Simpson, who has broken the four-minute mile barrier, finished ninth among the 18 starters and had to be revived with oxygen. The winner was Kipchoge Keino of Kenya, who trains at that altitude and finished in 3 minutes 59.6 seconds.
On the same day in Font-Romeu, Walter Wilkinson, another British miler who has also run the race in under four minutes, collapsed on the track.
Not long ago Konstantin A. Andrianov, president of the U.S.S.R.'s Olympic committee, saw fit to deny flatly that Russian athletes were undergoing high-altitude training on the ground that it was not needed. Now comes Felix Talyshev, secretary of the Central Institute for Physical Culture in Leningrad, with the news that Russians do indeed have a high-altitude training camp—at Alma-Ata in the Tien Shan mountains. Alma-Ata is 11,480 feet above sea level.
In order to prepare for 1968, Lamar Hunt's Dallas Tornado team (United Soccer Association) is training in Seville, Spain and is about to take off next month on a 25,000-mile tour eastward through such soccer centers as Ceylon, Singapore, Burma, Pakistan and maybe Pagopago. The team will play about 45 games coming the long way home and wind up with a brief swing through South America and Mexico. Estimated cost: $50,000 in airplane tickets alone.
Paul Waters, Hunt's executive assistant, is preceding the team and already has confirmed 23 dates, beginning October 11 in Istanbul. Then it's on to Tehran, Ahwaz, Lahore, Chittagong, Rangoon and the old Moulmein pagoda. Reading the itinerary is almost enough to give one tourist-tummy.
ACTION IN VEGAS
The talk about a Nevada fight between Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell appears now to be nothing but talk. More substantial is word that Liston may meet Buster Mathis, the ultraheavyweight who has won all his 16 professional fights, 10 of them by knockouts. If arrangements now under discussion are completed, it would be staged in Las Vegas next month.