The article by Mr. Canham, track coach at the University of Michigan, entitled,
Russia Will Win the 1956 Olympics (SI, Oct. 25) was true in every detail and shocking in its conclusions. Something revolutionary in the training of our track and field athletes would have to be organized in order for us to be a contending nation in the next Olympic Games, to be held in Melbourne, Australia in 1956.
I have created a plan which I believe will go far toward accomplishing a basis for preventing the complete humiliation of our track and field forces in Melbourne.
Beginning in June 1955, and going through to approximately September 1st, with the help of the fine people of Utah, some 125 training track and field men will be invited to Salt Lake City, together with approximately 20 nationally known coaches, for the express purpose of spending some 90 days toward improving the times and/or distances of each individual athlete.
It will be purely voluntary on the part of each boy. He may come if invited, providing he is within the standard set by the Salt Lake City track and field forum for his particular event. By engaging in daily workouts with men of equal ability, it is impossible to believe that at least a few in each event covering the entire Olympic calendar will not improve sufficiently to the point where they may be counted upon to not only successfully make the Olympic Team, but win points at Melbourne.
The city of Salt Lake, as well as the governor of the state, are completely enthusiastic about this forum. The mayor of the city, the president of the University, the publishers of the two local newspapers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the board of directors of the Quarterback Club are all enthusiastic about carrying the forum to completion.
In order that the entire idea would not meet with any resistance from either the National AAU or the Olympic Track and Field Committee, I personally attended their combined convention at Miami Beach, Fla. on November 24-26.
The report made by Dr. Lloyd W. Olds, Chairman of the National AAU Men's Track and Field Committee, is herewith quoted: " Mr. William Cox of the Salt Lake City track and field forum, gave a talk on a plan for the Salt Lake City clinic, to be financed by the city of Salt Lake, in the state of Utah. Mr. D.K. Penny moved and it was seconded by Mr. Stenke, that the Salt Lake City track and field forum proposition be approved in principle, provided that there be no conflict of dates and that it be conducted without violation of the amateur code and the clinic officials shall consult with an AAU Committee of three members to be appointed by the Chairman of the AAU Track and Field Committee.
"The above action was contained in Dr. Olds' report made to the Board of Governors of the National AAU on November 28, 1954, which report was approved."
I was agreeably surprised at the interest shown by at least 50 individuals while at the convention. The armed services, the women's track and field group, all inquired for permission to send their athletes to Salt Lake City during the period mentioned above.
The program itself will be repeated in 1956. The final date will be extended to October 1st in order to keep the athletes in top condition as long as possible.