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BEAU GESTE IN MELBOURNE
As spring comes to the northern half of the world, athletes in more than 50 countries will start work in earnest toward the big target: the Olympic Games in Melbourne next November. This has been a foul winter, and that may explain why the fervor for these Games has been far from wholesome in the past few months. Through the winter, at such times as it has not been diverted by the alleged wrongdoings of Wes Santee, the interest of many has been consumed by the big unnecessary question of whether the United States or Russia will "win" the Games.
No country is supposed to win, of course, and while Olympic officials have been pointing this out from almost every platform except swinging chandeliers, there is still a tendency among well-wishers to keep the national rivalries going. In Washington this winter, Congressman Torbert MacDonald, an old sportsman who should know better, proposed that the government reimburse our athletes for expenses incurred while preparing for the 1956 Games. Congressman MacDonald was thus taking a seat very close to Arpad Csnady, the secretary of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, who this winter advised the free world that the way to build Olympic strength is to give the government a hand in it, as Hungary does.
Meanwhile, happily, sportsmen in the southern hemisphere have been exercising in the good warm air and last Saturday came a pleasant story from the Australian track and field championships in Melbourne, where John Landy had promised to run a truly fast mile.
Landy was churning along, as good as his word, when the runner in front of him, a promising 19-year-old named Ron Clarke, stumbled and fell. John Landy sailed over him, raking Clarke's arm with his spikes.
Nothing in the rule books dictated what Landy did next. It is quite conventional for a runner in what was then Landy's position to give his fallen rival the briefest of pitying backward glances—while racing on. In the split instant, however, John Landy consulted John Landy. Then he stopped, turned back to help Clarke.
"Go on, John, go on," cried Clarke. "Don't worry about me."
Landy hesitated, then ran on. Well, he overtook the field one by one and charged to the tape to win in 4:04.2, as the crowd bellowed its happiness. "This," said an eyewitness named Franz Stampfl, who was Roger Bannister's coach, "is the most gallant action I have seen in a lifetime."
EXERCISE IN MILWAUKEE