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The half-mile run was the first event. Two contestants from each club had been selected, with only first-place winners to count in the scoring. "Get in position," cried starter A. A. Jordan. Charles H. Kilpatrick and Henry S. Lyons, the Americans, stood poised shoulder to shoulder with English champions Frederick S. Horan and Charles H. Lewin. "Set," shouted Jordan, and the crack of the pistol sent them on their way. Lyons and Lewin led briefly but yielded to Kilpatrick just beyond the quarter-mile post as the crowd of 10,000 yelled like madmen. The American's strength on the last straightaway was too much for the now oncoming Horan and Kilpatrick finished 20 feet ahead in 1:53[2/5], a new world record by a full second.
There was a pause while the band played Oh, Mrs. O'Flaherty, What Do Yon Think of That? and then the sprinters came out for the 100-yard dash. The crowd lapsed into comparative silence. Bernard J. Wefers and a celebrated intercollegiate champion, John V. Crum, were the U.S. representatives, while Charles A. Bradley and H. G. Steavenson ran for Britain. All got off to a good start from the new crouching position. At the 50-yard mark Wefers was a step behind Crum, but he came on very strong and burst through the yarn in 9.8 seconds. He had tied the world record and set the tempo for the remainder of the afternoon. The British team was down two points.
The mile was next. Britain's best miler, F. E. Bacon, had failed to make the trip, so William E. Lutyens was alone in facing George Orton and Thomas Conneff, the magnificent Irish-American distance runner. After three uneventful laps, Conneff left Lutyens staggering and won in the excellent time of 4:18[1/5]. Then came the 220, with Wefers and Crum facing Alfred Downer and Gilbert Jordan. After another good start, it was Wefers who gradually forged to the front while Downer pulled up lame. A group of 3,000 strained to see from the heights of Deadhead Hill outside the enclosure, while inside there was a delirium of excitement as Wefers went over the line five yards ahead and ran smack into a big policeman. His winning time of 21[3/5] seconds was another world record, and the team score stood at four points for the U.S. and 0 for Great Britain.
While these races were going on at the track, one of the top field performances of the 19th century was unfolding at the high-jump pit. A. B. Johnston of the London team had failed three times at 5'10" and his teammate, Reggie Williams, had missed at 6'. This left two New Yorkers to fight for the honors: S.A.W. Baltazzi and the peerless Michael F. Sweeney, owner of the world record at 6'5?", a height some eight inches higher than his own. Baltazzi proved unable to clear 6'. Sweeney, a powerfully built Irish-American, stepped off 10 paces from the bar, made a mark and walked back another 15 feet. His approach would be head-on, at a 90-degree angle to the handkerchief-draped crossbar. The crowd groaned and groaned again as Sweeney narrowly missed his first jump and his second. On the last attempt, he approached with quick short strides, followed by what poetic newsmen were later to describe variously as "a little mincing jump, like a lady in a minuet," and "a dance step that would have captivated a French master." Whatever it was, Sweeney used it with great effect. Accelerating, crouching and lengthening his last three strides, he catapulted off the ground, rose for the bar, cleared cleanly, half on his side, half on his back and landed in the crude pit. The officials from both countries, losing all sense of dignity, did a dance. Three mighty cheers burst from the grandstand and were echoed all around the field. Even the two beaten Londoners rose and clapped their hands and cheered with the rest. The band played Hail to the Chief. A careful measurement gave Sweeney another precious fraction, and his official clearance was recorded as 6'5?".
The Americans continued to swamp the British. In the 16-pound hammer throw, the massive James S. Mitchell easily defeated his teammate, Harry P. Cross, and the little, square-built Englishman, George S. Robertson. Mitchell won the event with a toss of 137'5�". The 16-pound shotput was more of the same as George R. Gray, NYAC, won with 43'5" and left his English opponent away back in third place with 34'7". All the while the band kept up a steady blare of patriotic airs that must have seemed dirges to the visiting athletes. In the broad jump the English were again inadequately represented, and the Boston stylist, Elwood B. Bloss, won with 22'6". In the 120-yard high hurdles, Stephen Chase surprised the two English hurdlers, Godfrey Shaw and William J. Oakley, with a time of 15[2/5] seconds. This world record, however, was disallowed as Chase had knocked over the second barrier. The English team captain, Shaw, was a yard back.
The closest and most exciting race of the day was the 440-yard dash. Britons Gil Jordan and W. Fitzherbert were pitted against Americans Thomas E. Burke and George M. Sands. On the back-stretch Sands was leading by 20 feet when, according to the New York Herald, "suddenly Jordan, the Englishman, shot by Burke at a sprinting gait, and set sail for Sands, whom he passed as though the New Yorker was standing still. Before Burke knew where he was the Londoner was 15 feet ahead and only 75 yards from the finish." The crowd roared as Burke dug down and went after the big redhead with the eight-foot stride and "the spring of an ostrich." Five yards from the finish both were on even terms. A supreme effort, and the American went ahead by a margin too close to measure. Tumult raged. The exhausted Englishmen walked gloomily off the field. Their comrades on the clubhouse balcony sat with their heads buried in their hands.
The last event, the three-mile run, could be nothing but anticlimax and it turned out to be a funeral procession. Conneff and Kilpatrick of New York had as rivals Horan and E. J. Wilkins. Kilpatrick dropped out after five laps. Conneff moved up, passed Horan and ran on the heels of the game Wilkins until the last lap. Then the American made his move and sailed home an easy winner in 15:36[2/5].
In the end, the Americans had won all 11 events and either broken or tied four world records. The English were obviously overconfident, undertrained and incredulous at American performances. The shocked visitors competed like men and lost like gentlemen, with the possible exception of the tight-lipped leader of the English team, Montague Shearman. Shearman grumbled the hope that the rigid American system of training a small group of specialized gladiators would never infect his own nation's larger, voluntary, self-trained and joyous approach to athletics. His sarcasm was biting as he pointed out that "the machinery of the New York Athletic Club, with its free training stables—I mean tables—was ready to train anybody with ability."
He failed to take note of the substantially important fact that for three months prior to the fall contest the entire American team had practiced correctly and hard—and twice a day. The result was a remarkable American performance in the first important international meet.
The following year, 1896, the first modern Olympics were held in Athens and the track and field events were again dominated by the United States—with a team distinctly inferior to the NYAC team of 1895. Only Thomas Burke of the former group competed, winning both the 100 and 400 meters. E. H. Clark of the Boston Athletic Association took both the broad and high jumps at Athens with a distance and height that would not have come close to winning earlier in New York.