As Breen took off from the starting blocks in a field of five, some spectators idly followed his churning progress, fascinated that any man could thrash along so hard for more than a quarter of an hour. But most people followed the divers. The loudspeakers interrupted the diving scoring to give three interval clockings for Breen's heat, yet there was never a hint that George was swimming faster than any man had swum before. He hit the 400-meter mark in 4:37.5. As he rolled on the turn at 800 meters, Breen cast an eye at the clock. It read 9:31, within three-tenths of a second of the existing world record.
For 800 meters Breen churned on, strangely stepping up the pace in the laps where ordinarily he fades a bit. As he touched into the finish, almost a length in front of his nearest opponent, Breen got a desultory round of applause. Then, in a tone of almost utter boredom, the loudspeakers spoke: "The results of the third heat of the 1,500 meters. First, George Breen, the United States. Time, 17:52.19. This is a new world and Olympic record." There was some polite hand clapping, but few real cheers.
George Breen had taken the 1,500-meter record back from Murray Rose and fewer than a thousand of the 5,500 persons in the stadium had seen him do it. When the word got around, a woman in the upper tier of seats complained: "They ought to tell us when things like that are happening!"
The whole world was told, a little later, that Murray Rose had won the gold medal in the 1,500-meter final, with Yamanaka of Japan second and George Breen third.
"I don't have any excuses," said George when it was all over. "I've got the record and Murray's got the gold medal. I guess we'd both rather have the medal. This is going to be one of my memories. It's not really the end of everything. I'm going to keep on swimming. So I've lost one, but I still have a town, my folks and my school and a girl at school to go back to."
A DOG'S LIFE
They will tell you down in Tennessee that there is nothing quite so smart as a good hunting dog. No one knows this better than Alton Carver, who values his dog at $400 and was understandably alarmed when he lost him recently. Setting out in his automobile, Carver retrieved the dog and was driving happily homeward when he wrecked the car, burning it to ashes. In the resulting confusion the frightened dog skipped away again.
Carver then collected his father and the family truck and eventually recovered his dog for the second time. On the way home once more he cracked up the truck, and both Carvers had to be packed off to the hospital for repairs. The dog? He walked home.
The personalized golf ball, imprinted with the name of its owner (Ike has some stamped "Mr. President"), is a jolly thought for Christmas giving, but donors and donees should bear in mind that the personalized golf ball, like many another modern boon, can have some awkward side effects. Among the first case histories to be reported: