? Bob Backus, former Tufts track-and-field star, recently captured unofficial U.S. records by tossing 35-pound weight 63 ft., 5 in.?ED.
Don Canham's warning (SI, Oct. 25) that we face a very strong possibility of suffering our first track and field defeat, by Russia, in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, should not be taken lightly.... Toward this effort they have made tremendous strides.
To illustrate the Soviet advancement, a comparison can be made of their national records in the 19 standard Olympic events for the years indicated. In 1946 the oldest U.S.S.R. record in the books dated back to 1938. All the present records were made since 1950, with the exception of the high jump, which is of 1948 vintage. To further emphasize Russia's improvement, 10 of the present records were made this year. Actually the American national records are superior in 14 events, but they extend back through some twenty years.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Russia still has two more years to prepare, while the United States is at a standstill in some events. For instance, in the 400-meter medium hurdles, former American Olympic Champions Glenn Hardin, Charles Moore and Roy Cochran are now ranked in that order behind the Russian pair, Yuriy Lituyev and Anatoliy Yulin, in the world's all-time best performance list. In the United States this event is contested in just a few relay carnivals, some sectional and all National AAU Championships, and by the NCAA only during Olympic years.... An American athlete is lucky if he can participate twice during the season in one of those so-called odd events, whereas the Russians compete week after week in the full Olympic program....
ROBERT A. GILMORE, M/Sgt., USAF
Great Falls AFB, Mont.
HOME IS THE HUNTER
Sic, Sic?Oct. 25, page 26, 10 hunters, 11 deer. Who's embarrassed?
JOHN C. COTTON
NORBERT SCHEMANSKY vs. POTS AND BUMS
In the October 18th issue, one line in the column MEMO FROM THE PUBLISHER stands out in my mind. Quote: "But, in general, sports are to look at." True enough, but look at your Americans today and what do you see? Pots. Yup, they've gone to pot. The great American sport scene, a bottle of brew and a television set. Ah, but we're all experts on boxing, baseball, football and what have you. We watch a boxer take a licking for ten rounds and curse him because he lost. "Why, the lousy bum, I coulda taken 'im myself. He shouldna fought; he ain't in shape." Then we get up off our fat seats and puff to the car to run 50 feet down the street for a pack of butts. So it's fitting that SI would make a hit with us; we can read about it without any more effort than sending in a check for a subscription.
I like the magazine very much and when I tell you that I find only one fault with it and explain what it is, the reaction from you people will probably be what I expect. How about publishing some stories and pictures on the sport of WEIGHT LIFTING? Oh, yes, there is a mention in SCOREBOARD of weight lifting, about 35 words. Don't get me wrong, I go for all sports but weight lifting happens to interest me because I do it in my own home to keep in shape?not for competition.
Everyone knows Ted Williams, but who has heard of Norbert Schemansky, Gugliemi, but how about Dave Sheppard? Yet all are tops in their field of sports. I do realize that baseball, football, basketball and hockey and boxing are followed by millions, while weight lifting is not. But then name one sports magazine that will give this sport a play. You cannot name one. So how about it? A little mention of weight lifting and maybe a couple of the champions in pictures?
EDWARD J. SCULLY
West Springfield, Mass.
?But who's Gugliemi??ED.