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" Marciano is taller than I thought," Cockell said. "He certainly carries himself like a champion."
Two other fighters were less than pleased with what was going on. Archie Moore, light heavyweight champion who feels that he alone has earned the right to fight Marciano, and Nino Valdes, ranked No. 1 contender in Nat Fleischer's Ring ratings, were left out in the cold with no one to fight but each other.
Scuttlebutt: they might do that at Las Vegas under the billing: The Fighters Marciano Refuses to Meet.
Many words have been written about the hold that sports and games have on our sedentary population and on the worship that our sedentary population bestows on athletes whose skills or accomplishments are outstanding. Much of this apologia has been directed at those who do not particularly care for athletic contests—neither to participate in nor to watch—and who cannot really understand why any sane and grown person can melt into ecstasies of delight at the sight or even the thought of a fine runner or outfielder or tailback or whatever.
There is no intent here to add to the wealth of literature directed at these nonbelievers. Let them go to their paintings, their music, their ballet. This is for those who have seen DiMaggio lope after a fly, head cocked to one side, grace enveloping him like a robe, or who have seen Robinson fight, or Jones swing a golf club. This is to tell them: there is another. Have you seen Arnold Sowell run?
Arnold Milton Sowell is a slender young man from Pittsburgh, who will not be 20 until April 6 but who has already been called by one astute track coach—George Eastment of Manhattan College—"the greatest runner I ever saw."
Eastment offered his verdict last week after the AAU 1,000-yard run, in which Sowell tied the world record of 2:08.2 and soundly defeated the great Norwegian runner Audun Boysen. But Eastment must have been thinking, too, of Sowell's hard-won victories over Fordham's remarkable half-miler Tom Courtney in the outdoor IC4A and NCAA championship half miles last spring, when the powerful Courtney was at the very peak of his form, of Sowell's ability to turn in cracking times at distances from 440 yards (46.9) to five miles (24:59), of the casual, almost absent-minded way he ran a 1:52.1 half mile in the NYAC indoor games three weeks ago, barely a second and a half off the indoor world record, of the fact that in dual meets Sowell has appeared in five different events for the University of Pittsburgh.
Carl Olson, Pittsburgh's grizzled, unexcited track coach, smiles at Eastment's comment. After all, Eastment never had a runner like Sowell, while Olson once had Johnny Woodruff, the 6-foot 4-inch giant with the nine-foot stride who won the Olympic 800 meters in 1936 at Berlin as a college freshman (and who danced an odd little Chaplinlike burlesque of Adolph Hitler's stiff-armed Nazi salute when that race-baiting dictator, furious at the success of those he called America's "black auxiliaries," refused to greet the victorious Woodruff).