SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
June 18, 1973
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June 18, 1973


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On the eve of the English Derby at Epsom Downs—which was reported, incidentally, to have attracted a million spectators scattered over a vast area—William Hill, a leading English bookmaker, had a most interesting ante-post book.

If one of four horses out of the 25 starting were to win, Hill's stood to lose amounts ranging from �21,951 for a Ksar victory to a mere �4,524 for a win by Sea Pigeon. Victory by any of the other 21 horses would have resulted in a handsome profit for the book.

As it turned out, Morston, a 25-to-1 outsider, broke through in the final furlong and Hill's had to pay out �6,250 to someone who had wagered �250 on him. That was the biggest single wager laid on Morston. Other individual bets, losers, went as high as �1,000, and would have paid as high as 10 to 1 on Ksar and 100 to 1 on Sea Pigeon.

With Morston the winner, Hill's came out ahead by �44,202, establishing once more that you can beat a race but not often the bookies.


Sports fans sometimes wonder how those in authority in the fun and games field happened to be picked for their jobs. In the case of Roger Rousseau, president and commissioner-general of Montreal's 1976 Summer Olympics, there is no mystery. He was picked by a computer. Or so he says.

At the time that he was chosen, Rousseau was Canadian ambassador in Cameroon, West Africa, far from Montreal.

"When Mayor Drapeau asked the Canadian government for a man for this job," he explained, "he said he wanted someone youngish [Rousseau is 52], experienced in economics, bi- or trilingual and with a French name.

"This data was all fed into a computer in Ottawa—and I came out."

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