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"I guess we have so many good quarter milers because I ran the quarter," said Herb McKenley, the former Olympic star who coaches the West Indian team. "I'm very proud of them all. This was worth working for. George Kerr could have been a double winner, but in a way it's well that this happened to him now. He ran a terrible race in the 800, but he's young and he'll do a lot of improving. I have told him often, 'George, no matter how well or how badly you run, go over each race in your mind before you go to sleep that night and eliminate from them all of the mistakes you realize you made.' "
Kerr's mistake in the 800 was in staying too far off the pace, leaving himself an impossible gap to close against a runner with Murphy's marvelous finishing sprint. In the 400, a timely bit of advice from his coach at Illinois, Leo Johnson, helped him.
"Coming out of the last curve," Kerr said, "with about 20 or 30 yards to go, I heard someone yell, 'Relax! Relax!' I realized right then I was tightening up because I was looking for Ince."
He was worried about Basil Ince, a West Indian teammate, because this was only the second time he had run against the Tufts graduate.
"But I relaxed," he added, "and I won."
Probably the most relaxed athlete on the field was Ray Norton, who kept himself from being a great sprinter in 1958 precisely because he tightened up in crucial races. He won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchored the winning U.S. 400-meter relay team. Once, in a 200-meter semifinal, running well ahead in the very easy, very long-striding style which is peculiarly his, he called back over his shoulder to a teammate, "Pick it up, pick it up. They'll catch us."
In view of the fine performance of the West Indians, who beat us in our pet events, that's pretty good advice for the whole U.S. team.
Although Norton tied the world record for the 200 meters around a curve (20.6), he, too, was glad to reach the end of the long season. "I'm terribly tired," he said after the meet. "That tired old feeling I had last year after I got mononucleosis is coming back. I need rest."
Norton, who played halfback on the San Jose State football team last season, is under considerable pressure to play again this year. The attraction of seeing the "world's fastest human" carrying the ball has boosted San Jose's preseason ticket sale from less than 100 to more than 2,500, but Norton, at last report, has not succumbed to the pressure. After an interview with Football Coach Bob Titchenal, Norton allowed that he might come out to afternoon practice, but then he did not appear either at practice or at the training table.
"It's a shame," said Titchenal.