Morrow ran four races, three heats and the final, and didn't come close to losing even one. He loafed to a time of 10.4 in the first preliminary, which was the best of that round. Two hours later, over a relatively slow track, he equaled the Olympic record of 10.3 and did it much more easily than Teammate Ira Murchison, who looked pretty good himself. In Saturday's semifinal he turned in another 10.3, looking over one shoulder, and in the finals, racing smoothly into a strong and hindering breeze, he hit the tape in 10.5 with a yard of daylight showing at his back.
"To heck with the time," Morrow said, grinning (he didn't stop grinning for 30 minutes). "I just wanted to win."
Another U.S. runner, the 25-year-old Kansan Thane Baker, who picked up one silver medal in the 200 meters at Helsinki, got another one Saturday by beating out Australian Hector Hogan. Murchison saved fourth in a photo finish ahead of Germany's Manfred Germar and Trinidad's Mike Agostini.
Everywhere you looked there were Americans, and the sound of The Star-Spangled Banner was in the air.
Sunday in Melbourne was indeed a day of rest, but Squadron Leader Hicks must have had enough. On Monday when the competition resumed, his place was taken by the Australian Navy Band, and this body solved the problem of the national anthem the first time it came up: they only played The Star-Spangled Banner halfway through. Even so, they had to play it twice, for the 800 meters and the pole vault, but nothing they could have done would have taken anything away from the race Tom Courtney ran this cool, windy afternoon, 10,000 miles away from his home in New Jersey.
Certainly through the first three days of competition Courtney and his 800 meters had to rank with Kuts and his 10,000 as the high point of the Games. Going into the finals, Courtney knew there were three men he had to worry about: his teammate Arnie Sowell, Audun Boysen of Norway and Derek Johnson of Great Britain. He knew Sowell and Boysen had great early speed and that he must stick close, very close, to them all the way, and he knew that should either of them by some chance fail to set a fast pace he would have to do so himself, for there was Johnson and his finishing kick.
So that is the way Courtney ran his race. He went out ahead at the gun and then when Sowell went around him on the backstretch of the first lap Courtney picked up the pace, too, and hung in close behind. A stride or two back came Boysen and Johnson, and in a bunch they hit the first lap in the almost phenomenally fast time of 52.8 seconds. In the same order they went around the turn and down the back-stretch and into the turn for home, and it was then, as the four great runners straightened out in the race for the tape, that Courtney made his bid.
He moved out to the third lane to go around Sowell, forged ahead by a few inches, then a foot, then two. But suddenly there was a roar, and slicing in between the two Americans came Johnson.
"When he got a yard ahead of me there—I guess it must have been about 50 yards from the finish—I thought the race was all over," said Courtney much later in the dressing room. "I thought I had lost. I don't even remember what happened after that."
What happened was that Tom Courtney called up one last ounce of courage and drive from deep inside, caught the wobbling Johnson 15 yards from the finish line and then struggled ahead to win the U.S.'s sixth track and field gold medal of the Games by a matter of two feet. Boysen outfought Sowell for third. There was only six-tenths of a second between the four runners. Courtney's time was 1:47.7 for a new Olympic record, as all four broke Mal Whitfield's once proud mark of 1:49.2.