And there was Ernie Shelton, the man who has come closer to jumping seven feet more times than any athlete alive, but now just one of those who will remain behind in November. Ernie Shelton, trudging dejectedly head down across the field toward the dressing room with sawdust in his hair and what could have been perspiration rolling down his cheeks. And there was Bud Held, walking off the field carrying his beloved javelin which once set a world record but, last week, was one gigantic inch short of sailing quite far enough; Don Bragg, the second highest pole vaulter in history, standing by the pit with his injured leg heavily bandaged and half-heartedly arguing that the wind had blown his pole against the standard on his third failure at 14 feet 8�; and Aubrey Lewis, the Notre Dame football star from New Jersey who beat Davis at Berkeley, and might have again, sprawled on the track after hitting the final hurdle in his preliminary heat and failing even to reach the finals. "It has been," said Lewis later, looking around him at Sime and Bragg and Dwyer, "a tough weekend for New Jersey."
And while there was nothing tragic about two men who have gained glory such as few athletes will ever achieve and who even then had just made their final efforts both thrilling and strong, it was a little sad to watch Whitfield grin and shake his head after the 800 meters and Old Bones Dillard trot back up the track for the last time after finishing sixth in the high hurdles and wave pleasantly to the thousands who rose and cheered as he went by.
But really there was little room for sadness. The younger and the stronger and the physically fit had survived, and when they gathered in the middle of the field for the closing ceremonies and their introduction to the crowd as the members of the 1956 United States Olympic track and field team, no one even looked scared any more. Not even Eddie Southern, who in his 18-year-old wisdom could look back at the two days, look around him at his teammates—and relax with a big grin, knowing that it was now time for the rest of the world to worry about him.