THE BIG SURPRISE
It was obvious from the outset that the highly publicized London-Moscow track meet, held under lights at White City Stadium one night last week, could end only in crushing victory for the Soviet invaders. Theoretically at least, all of the U.S.S.R.'s state-subsidized career athletes are residents of Moscow; London had only amateurs living within the city, and not even the best of them (since Miler Roger Bannister has retired for the season) to pit against this Olympic Games might. But all of England fairly quivered to see the struggle—45,000 people jammed the stadium and 10 million people tuned in to watch on television.
Part of the interest, of course, was simple curiosity about the blue-clad Soviet juggernaut, the first Russian track team to compete in England since 1878. But England also nursed a hope, so strong in some cases as to lead scores of fans into the un-British trick of sneaking over the fence to get in. "I've just got," said one of these desperately, as his stranded wife cursed him from the other side, "to see Chataway (right) run." Red-headed Chris Chataway had paced both Bannister and John Landy to their world-record miles. He had beaten the phenomenal Czech runner Emil Zatopek in the 5,000 meter event of the European games—only to push an unknown Russian sailor named Vladimir Kuc on to victory and a world record. But now England thought Chataway's night had come.
It had. Kuc, undoubtedly aware that his red-headed foe (an executive of the Guinness Stout Co.) had not had his unlimited opportunities for training, slipped into the lead at the gun and set a blazing pace. Chataway fell in, exactly one stride behind. They ran as though tied together for a mile. Then Kuc, with a prodigal expenditure of energy, began trying to kill his rival off. He sprinted alarmingly for 100 yards. Chataway sprinted with him. Kuc tried it again and again—in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth laps. Chataway never left his heels.
October 25, 1954
"It was the most extravagant race I have ever run," Chataway said when it was over. "Each time he sprinted I thought it was for the last time. But it wasn't. I had no idea he was so difficult to beat." But at the end of two miles Chataway was still exactly one stride behind—and the stadium was in bedlam. He was still there at the bell for the final quarter mile. Searchlights atop the stadium picked the two men up and followed them—still running in perfect tandem. Then, 50 yards from home, Chataway made his move, gained, inch by agonizing inch, and hit the tape amid an hysterical uproar, one half stride in the lead. His time: 13:51.6, a new world record.
When the meet was over the two teams met for a banquet at the Dorchester Hotel and the casual Chataway horrified the joyless Russians all over again; he leaned back after dessert and lighted a big, black cigar.
Spotlight glared down on England's Chris Chataway as he made final lunge to beat Vladimir Kuc of Russia by half-step in record-smashing 5,000-meter duel.
STICKS FLY, TEMPERS FLARE
With the season only a week old, the National Hockey League's top contenders—Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens—fought with the bitterness of Stanley Cup finalists. High-sticking, roughing, and general rowdiness added up to 10 penalties and a 3-2 Detroit win before 14,518 whooping spectators at Montreal.
Fastest five minutes seen at the Forum in recent years produced a Canadien drive that came very close to pulling out the game Trailing 3-1 with only seven minutes left to play, Maurice (Rocket) Richard, high-scoring demigod of the Montreal team, barreled down the ice. Hurling himself toward the Detroit goal he took a pass from Doug Harvey and slapped the puck into the net before skidding full tilt into a tangle of players that included bewildered Goalie Terry Sawchuck. As the red scoring light flashed, the Rocket rose to his knees (above), and joined his stick-waving teammate Bert Olmstead in yell of triumph.
Rough Stuff by Leswick (8) left Montreal's Goalie Jacques Plante stretched on the-ice with a nasty cut across the bridge of his nose. Plante recovered and stayed in the goal for all but the last minute of the game. Leswick, who seemed to be in the thick of every rhubarb (top right), also came back to get in a few more licks; but Montreal, handcuffed by roughing penalties of its own, saw two of the Detroit goals scored while offending Canadiens sat helplessly in the penalty box. High scorer for the night: Detroit's Gordie Howe, who scored one goal and made two assists to give him leg' up in perennial race with Richard.
Looming Giant Bud MacPherson (top) of Montreal abandoned stick to make an exasperated lunge for Tony Leswick, Detroit's scrappy forward. Leswick managed to hustle out of harm's way. Then teammate Bob Gold-ham (above) stopped a Montreal thrust by ducking underneath Bert Olmstead and hoisting him away from the puck.
BIG OCEAN, LITTLE MAN
Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.
—Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki
From far-away Pago Pago last week suddenly came the news that a raft bearing a man named William Willis was approaching Samoa. It had been so long since anybody had heard anything from William Willis that the rest of the world, quite frankly, was hard put to remember how he happened to be in such an odd situation.
Willis, a 61-year-old adventurer, had set out on his log raft last June 22 from Callao, Peru, to ride the Pacific currents 6,000 miles to Samoa. This seemed a needless venture to many, since in 1947 Thor Heyerdahl and his bold Kon-Tiki crew had already proved the worth of such craft by sailing 4,300 miles over the same course.
But for Willis, a German-born New Yorker who has spent 45 restless years as farmer, sailor, hobo and minor poet, Kon-Tiki served only as inspiration. "I am an adventurous type," he told dissuaders. On his trip, moreover, he would be testing the nutritive value of a Peruvian grain, which, legend says, gave ancient Inca warriors an added vitamin wallop on the eve of battle. He also planned to write a book. But most important, while six men had sailed on Kon-Tiki, Willis set out alone on his smaller, 35-foot raft with only a parrot and a cat "to prove that solitary man can conquer an ocean."
In the Ecuadorian forests, Willis hand-picked seven large balsa trees for his raft. He was careful to take male rather than female trees, since their water-resistance is greater. In honor of this all-male log base he christened his raft, oddly, the Seven Little Sisters. He packed aboard fish lines and six-month rations for man, cat and parrot.
As Willis was towed away from Callao, a small crowd cheerily wished him luck, but among themselves grimly pondered the worst. Was the raft too frail? Was not this man mad? When food gave out, who would eat whom first? Would the cat eat the parrot, or the man the cat?
Cut loose 60 miles out, Willis' raft slipped northwestward on the cold Humboldt current. Then for 115 days he saw little but sky and sea and heard nothing but wind, the hiss of water and an occasional staccato burst of Spanish from his parrot.
On the sixth day radio men picked up his call letters and a cryptic word, "Adelante" [onward]. Thereafter, through burning days and drenching equatorial rains, Willis ignored the land world. He snatched half-hour naps, fished and wrote. There was alarm ashore at his silence, but his wife Tess remained calm. His radio worked full range only on automatic S O S, and Husband Willis had told her, "I'll never send S O S. I'll try to help myself."
And Willis did, keeping his troubles to himself. Three weeks out his stove failed and he subsisted on raw gruel and fish marinated in lemon juice. Playing a five-foot shark, he fell overboard, but luckily grabbed a trailing line. With more than 2,000 miles yet to go, the water leaked out of his rusted cans. Willis sipped salt water, trapped rain water and sucked more out of raw dolphin flesh. Then, with Samoa only three days away, as if belatedly seized by the desperate state of things, the cat ate the parrot.
To the Samoans cheering him when finally he stepped ashore, Willis said, "It was a nightmare, and a beautiful dream."
Willis' Route roughly follows the earlier voyage of the Kon-Tiki. At first he was swept northwestward by the Humboldt Current, then westward by the South Equatorial Current and the prevailing easterly trade winds. The larger Kon-Tiki, averaging 42½ miles daily, on its 101st day grounded on a reef in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Averaging over 50 miles a day, sighting land only once dimly, in 115 days Willis sailed 1,700 miles farther to Samoa.
Dead Moose hung limply from block and tackle while happy hunter Harry Lamb of Dayton, Ohio (plaid shirt) got a proud and steadying grip on one horn of his trophy. The moose, seven feet tall when it stood on its own four feet and weighing a hefty 1,800 pounds, was far more cooperative dead than alive. In actual encounter in northern Ontario woods, Lamb's first bullet caught moose in leg, but failed to slow it down. Second shot stopped charging bull only 20 yards from hunter.
Mule Deer hanging on rack at Bend, Oregon were opening-day bag for local hunters—including Photographer Bill Van Allen (second from left) who set camera on stump and scurried back with rifle to get into the act with fellow sportsmen.
Buffalo hunt on Pennsylvania game preserve wound up with one-shot kill by Cal Abrams (left), star outfielder for Baltimore Orioles. Other hunters: Umpire Jim Honochick, County Commissioner Elmer Shellhammer, A's outfielder Elmer Valo.
South Equatorial Current