In track and field, where the overall performances of the Russian men were mildly disappointing, Coach Gabriel Korobkov offers no excuses. For Russia he sees perhaps two gold medals and for the U.S. a fairly solid victory. "I don't not see," Korobkov announced, as the Spartakiada went into its final days this week, "how the Americans can fail to win at least 12 gold medals. They'll probably win 14 in the 24 men's events. We expect such things from Americans."
The thousands competing in 20 sports at the big Spartakiada were the cream skimmed from hundreds of district and regional competitions entered by 17 million Russians during the past year. Considering that this vast depth of raw material may not yet produce more than a few gold medals in some sports, a Russian coach might feel the need of an excuse, but he should not. To judge by the vigor and enthusiasm of the topnotch athletes striving for the team and the youngsters cavorting en masse at the Spartakiada, the effort seems worthwhile even if no one wins at Melbourne.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]