SALUTE TO CORTINA
The Olympic year of 1956 begins this week with a merry skirr of skates and a soft swoosh of skis in a little Alpine town high in the craggy Dolomites of northeastern Italy. To Cortina d'Ampezzo have trooped the winter sports athletes of 32 nations, vanguard of all the clans of man who will, before the year is out, have run and thrown and jumped and wrestled in quadrennial recognition of the fact that sport makes all men brothers so long as they have buttons on their foil tips.
The brotherhood of man has had rough sledding over the ages, perhaps even rougher than the Olympic athletes have encountered at Cortina, where a sirocco swooped up from the Libyan desert to melt the essential snow and chill the harried hearts of Games officials. Skaters and skiers and bobsledders, practicing under these obscene conditions, have taken nasty spills and some have been thereby eliminated from the Olympics before they could test themselves in competition. These are the ill fortunes of sport. Still, it has been heartwarming to see that, while the injured shed private tears, they faced the news cameras with broad, brave smiles.
It is pleasant to know, too, that the Games officials, plagued by all the snafus that organization is heir to, have taken the sirocco in stumbling but heroic stride and gone on to outwit it as best they can. They have prayed for snow and cold but they have also made their own provisions. For ski jumping, snow can be trucked down to fill in for what has failed to fall, the cross-country skiers can move to higher and colder ground, the bobsledders can perhaps compete on ice from the early morning freeze. There is artificial ice for the figure skaters and a still-frozen lake for the speed skaters and hockey teams. And there is always the hope that it might yet blow a well-timed blizzard, though not too much, di grazia!
Cortina begins, then, with a sporting handicap. SI salutes Cortina, wishes it well and invites you to turn to page 26 for a preview of this phase of the Olympic year.
DUKE'S YOUNG MR. SIME
Andy Stanfield, reigning Olympic 200-meter champion, and Rod Richard, sprint master of the Pan-American Games, came off the blocks at the crack of the starter's gun and, shoulder to shoulder, headed down the gleaming white board straightaway of Washington's National Guard Armory track toward the finish line 70 yards away. Seven seconds and a fraction later, still shoulder to shoulder, they arrived at their destination—only to discover someone else had been there first.
The young man who had just beaten two of the world's finest dash men was named David Sime and he was a student at Duke University. That much, which the crowd discovered after a quick check of their programs, was about all the information available at the moment, apart from the fact that Duke's young Mr. Sime seemed to be tall, red-headed and the bearer of a bashful grin. Further details were probably unimportant anyway; with a good start, those things can happen at 70 yards, indoors.
But when the same tall youngster with the same thunderous stride charged home again, first, in the 80-yard dash, the crowd began to stir. And when he beat Stanfield in the 100 for a third straight victory, the only calm person around was the meet announcer. "The winner," he droned, "Sime of Duke. Time, 9.5 seconds, a new meet record."
For a moment there was silence and then the announcer, no longer calm, came back on the air. "Sime's 9.5," he announced, "is also a new world indoor record."