The big ten's tentative new guide to football survival (see page 17) is naturally gratifying to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since the conference has arrived at conclusions remarkably similar to those which this magazine reached several months ago (see page 16).
We believe that the Big Ten is to be congratulated on the seriousness of its recent statement and are sure that something good for football will result. The Big Ten Conference is in a position of prestige and leadership. Other schools will surely take notice, and, surely, some of them ought to take notice.
The set of the tide in public and academic opinion now seems to be against hypocrisy, double-think and some other long prevailing winds of amateur sport. The sea will be a little choppy for a while but the resulting seasickness in some conferences will be hygienic.
Modern rules governing the ancient Greek sport of javelin throwing insist only (except for a welter of technicalities concerning proper weights and measurements) that the javelin be held by its grip, which is near its center of balance, that it be thrown with such control that it lands point first, that the javelineer throw the spear from behind a specified line (actually a shallow arc) and that he approach that line along an indicated corridor 13 feet wide.
Fine and good. For these many years man has picked up his javelin, cocked his arm, run like a thief and flung. But recently in Spain, a 49-year-old, 242-pound enthusiast named Felix Erauzquin, a Basque, took hold of the grip of his javelin as you might take hold of the handle of a pail of milk, lifted it thigh high, ran a little way, then spun around and around and eventually, with his arm outstretched and the javelin describing a circle around him, let go.
When it landed, point first, it had traveled within 10 inches of the listed world record. It was sensational.
Next thing anyone realized, this new Barra Vasca technique—after the traditional old Basque (vasca) sport of throwing an iron bar (barra)—had reached Finland, where a stalwart young man named Antti Seppala, a good but not sensational javelin thrower, tried the spinning style, having first lubricated the palm of his throwing hand with soap in order that the shaft of the spear might slip easily out at the proper moment. Seppala threw it 270 feet 7.2 inches—two feet farther than the listed world record. A few days later Egil Danielson of Norway, one of the world's best, got out his soap to try the new method and sent the spear 304 feet 1.7 inches.
Track purists were stunned. Dana Zatopekova of Czechoslovakia, women's javelin champion at the 1952 Olympics, said, "If this new method is accepted I will personally break my javelin and use it as a support for tomato plants." D.T.P. Pain of Great Britain, honorary secretary of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, announced, "I shall put forward a proposal [at the Nov. 18 meeting in Melbourne] to alter the rules so we shall be able to preserve the traditional style of javelin throwing. Twirling around three times like a ballet dancer doesn't seem to me to be the point of javelin throwing, particularly when you don't know where the thing is going to land."