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A United States intelligence report, unclassified and based on a careful study of Chinese mainland newspapers, etc., says that Communist China is now holding some 2,070 contests in preparation for the Olympic Games. What the Reds are sending to Melbourne seems not to interest intelligence so much as what they are keeping at home.
The Communists claim to have broken 384 Chinese records in orthodox sports events in the past year and are now boasting about the performances of some one million participants from 11 trade unions in a workers' athletic tournament and their plans for 30,000 rural sports associations. And they are talking up, pretty loud, some respectable showings made by 491 Chinese athletes in other countries, especially soccer matches in other satellite lands.
Peking, however, is soft-pedaling the performances of its stars in some special categories of sport not likely to reach Olympic competition. These are competitive military events—not merely shooting (though there are 629 marksmen's clubs in Peking alone, with 84,000 members) or parachute jumping but "searchlight operation," "hand-grenade throwing," "bridge building" and, perhaps the least attractive sport ever devised, "landmine laying."
The reports throw a good deal of light on the old records that have been broken. The best Communist China time for the 100 meters is 10.6, which was the time of the winner of that event in the 1924 Olympics. As might be expected, Chinese records look worst in sports requiring long training and top coaching. In the high jump, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500 meters, their best performances rank with those of the 1900 to 1912 Olympics. One of the new Chinese Communist records is a broad jump of 22 feet 8? inches. This was exceeded by 10 inches in the 1900 Olympics.
But the Chinese women's records are more impressive. In the hand-grenade pitch one of them has tossed the little iron spheroid 156 feet.
THE $25,000 STRIPER
The Striped Bass, all by itself, is prize enough for the hundreds of thousands of surf casters and boat fishermen who seek him along the Atlantic coast, but there is one striper presently at large with a little something added: a gold, diamond-studded tag attached to his lower jaw that makes him worth $25,000 in prize money to the angler who catches him before midnight September 14.
The tagging of the striper, henceforth to be known as Diamond Jim, was accomplished on a recent hot and humid afternoon in Chesapeake Bay in the presence of about 50 witnesses representing the state of Maryland, newspapers, radio and television stations, the Baltimore brewery that had put up the $25,000 prize, the advertising agency that thought up the stunt and three seagoing bartenders.
It wasn't easy. The whole affair flirted with fiasco for a full 24 hours. The night before the tagging day Clint Johnson, the advertising agency man in charge of arrangements, was called to the phone at a country club outside Baltimore and informed that the three stripers being held for tagging had just expired in their tanks. Turning away from the phone, Mr. Johnson scratched his bald head, tugged at his blond mustache and announced that other fishermen were being alerted and new stripers would surely be taken by dawn. Then Mr. Johnson went back to what he was doing, which was playing Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland on the piano.
At noon next day the guests began to gather in the bar of the Carvel Hall Hotel in Annapolis, the tagging expedition's port of embarkation. Mr. Johnson was there, mopping his head and passing out mimeographed fact sheets. When a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun asked him if he had a live striper standing by, Mr. Johnson said confidently, "There will be an announcement shortly."