In the Olympic year 1956, when the talk is of sprinters, you begin with the magic name Morrow. This trim but muscular youngster with the flashing stride has never equaled the world record for 100 meters (10.1) or 100 yards (9.3) although he has been only one tenth of a second off each and has run 200 meters around a curve as fast as any man in history (20.6). Bobby Morrow just wins races—and because of this he could become the first double sprint champion of the Olympic Games since Jesse Owens at Berlin in 1936. He has beaten all the best—including his teammates, Ira Murchison, who has run 10.1, the veteran Thane Baker and the 1952 Olympic 200-meter champion, Andy Stan-field—and has the great competitive poise that sometimes means as much as sheer physical ability in the big races.
Murchison, with his rocketing start, and Baker, with his tremendous mid-race pickup, are in the same class with Morrow at 100 meters, as are Stanfield and Baker—who finished one-two at Helsinki—at 200 meters. Non-U.S. athletes seem to have little chance for medals in these events. One who might come through is the little scooter from Trinidad, Mike Agostini, who goes to school at Fresno State and has run about as fast as anyone alive. But he was notably unable to beat the best U.S. sprinters on the West Coast last spring and summer and the odds are pretty long against his chances of accomplishing it now. Another almost certain finalist who needs only to prove himself against world-class competition is Manfred Germar of Germany, the best young dashman in Europe.
Behind this handful are half a dozen who can only hope to come close. In the 100 the list includes Heinz F�tterer and Hector Hogan, a pair of once-dangerous veterans from Germany and Australia respectively, who are now on the downgrade; the Russians Boris Tokaryev and Leonid Bartenyev; Pakistan's Abdul Khaliq and Leo Pohl of Germany. In the 200 are some members of the above cast plus Jos� Telles da Concei��o of Brazil, Vil�m Mandl�k and Vaclav J�necek of Czechoslovakia, Canada's Stan Levenson, Ardalion Ignatyev of Russia and Karl-Friedrich Haas of Germany.
The man to beat in the 400 meters at Melbourne is certainly Lou Jones, the world-record holder from Manhattan College by way of the U.S. Army and a fellow with a proclivity for losing the unimportant race and winning the big one. He ran 45.4 at the 1955 Pan-American Games and last summer, in the final U.S. Olympic trials at Los Angeles, lowered the world record to an almost unbelievable 45.2.
No one questions that Jones will have the competition to push him on, both from his teammates and others. Jim Lea, the world record holder at 440 yards, was second to Jones in both the big races, and young Charley Jenkins, at Los Angeles, was not far behind. If someone should break into this U.S. monopoly, it will probably be either Ignatyev or young Voitto Hellsten, Finland's fast improving ace at this un-Finnish distance. Others to watch include Haas, Ivan Rodriguez of Puerto Rico, Kevan Gosper of Australia, Peter Higgins of Great Britain, and if the Magyars arrive in good condition, Zolt�n Adamik of Hungary.
With its great strength in sprinting, the U.S. is virtually certain to win both the 400- and 1,600-meter relays and break Olympic records in the process. Morrow, Murchison, Baker and Leamon King (who has also done 10.1) can expect no real competition even from Germany's strong team. And at 1,600 meters Jones, Lea, Jenkins and big J. W. Mashburn should leave Great Britain, Germany and the Russians laboring far behind,
THE MIDDLE DISTANCES
The four best 800-meter men in the world are Roger Moens, a Belgian police clerk who holds the world record; Audun Boysen, a Norwegian psychologist; and two young men from the U.S., Tom Courtney and Arnie Sowell. Of these, only Moens, who injured his leg during a mid-September workout in Athens, will be missing at Melbourne.
On a stop-watch basis, Boysen, Courtney and Sowell are as alike as three spikes in a track shoe. This year Courtney and Boysen have run 1:46.4 and Sowell 1:46.7. But in style—and sometimes in competition—they are not alike at all. Boysen has great speed but never seems to win in the big international meets; he may be the ideal pace setter for what could be one of the great races of the 1956 Games. Courtney and Sowell on the other hand are tremendous competitors, the one a hard-driving runner with great power, the other a graceful floating shadow; they have been taking turns beating each other for three years and the one you like depends upon whether you are a Courtney or a Sowell man.