By tradition birthdays are a time both for looking back and for looking ahead. With this issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED we celebrate our third birthday, and as a natural part of looking back I found myself browsing through our first issue.
Overshadowing all the events of that week three years ago was one unprecedented in sports history. Two men, the world's only sub-four-minute milers, met in a match race at the new Empire Stadium in Vancouver. England's Roger Bannister defeated Australia's John Landy.
In tennis, Amateur Lew Hoad romped over Ken Rosewall in the finals of the Eastern Grass Court Championships at South Orange. In baseball, the New York Yankees were an unaccustomed four games out of first place, behind a Cleveland team that went on to win the pennant. For the fifth straight year Stanley Sayres won the Gold Cup with Slo-Mo-Shun V. And SCOREBOARD carried a short entry to the effect that a light heavyweight named Floyd Patterson had knocked out Heavyweight Tommy Harrison in 1:29 of the first round.
As SPORTS ILLUSTRATED marks its third anniversary, its first issue seemed to me a surprisingly indicative preview of the events in sport which hold the center of the stage today. Only three weeks ago four men ran a mile under four minutes in one race, raising to 15 the total who have followed the way that Bannister and Landy pioneered. Hoad and Rosewall have moved into professional ranks, and Hoad is having his troubles these days with his diminutive opponent. In the American League, at least, life is back to normal, and the Yankees stand at the top where habit, almost ingrained, makes people look for them. Another Gold Cup approaches, continuing the Seattle- Detroit rivalry which Sayres, much more than any other man, has made an exciting constant in speedboat competition. As for a certain Floyd Patterson, the latest chapter in his history was the opening chapter in last week's issue.
As we began three years ago, Associate Editor Gerald Holland wrote a story in which he carefully documented the fact that we are in a new golden age of sport. The events of the intervening years have more than borne him out. And the promise of the future is even greater.
One reason for this is inherent in words written by Roger Bannister himself (SI, June 27, 1955). "No one can say," Bannister said, " 'You must not run faster than this or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."