At every Olympics, track and field is the classic on the main stage, but never the be-all and end-all of the Games. Before the Olympic flag is run down at Melbourne, the performers of swimming and 15 other sports will have settled their issues at a dozen different sites. At Melbourne, the sports in which Australian interest runs high and in which Australia has a stake, such as swimming and cycling, will attract large crowds. Fencing will draw far less than at Games held in the fencing stronghold of Europe. Every winner, whether a new and famous star such as George Breen on the opposite page, or a little-known veteran like the field hockey champion Balbir Singh (page 82), will draw cheers in some corner of the world. The following pages show some of the heroes (and heroines) who will be making the strongest claims for Olympic medals.
BILL YORZYK OF THE U.S.
Setting a world 200-meter butterfly record of 2:16.7 last spring, Yorzyk is now favored in an event the Japanese had counted on winning.
GEORGE BREEN OF THE U.S.
World record holder in the non-Olympic 800-meter distance, he is U.S.'s big hope against Australians in 400-and 1,500-meter freestyles.
MASARU FURUKAWA OF JAPAN
Although Japan in most events now trails the U.S. and Australia, this superb breaststroker is still body lengths ahead of the whole world.
November 19, 1956
THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN SWIMMERS
This year Lorraine Crapp (left) and Dawn Fraser have broken all freestyle records up to a half mile and are favored to win the 400 and 100 meters respectively. Murray Rose (left), Gary Chapman and Jon Henricks lead the world at 1,500, 400 and 100 meters, and make Australia favorite also in men's relay. Backstroker David Thiele (extreme right) holds a slim edge over his U.S., French and New Zealand rivals. Barring Olympic jitters, these six should corner, among them, about a dozen medals.
JOPIE VAN ALPHEN OF HOLLAND
The most consistent backstroker this year, she will be hard pressed by teammates and by Britain's Judy Grinham and the U.S.'s Carin Cone.
EVA SZEKELY OF HUNGARY
Though not up to her 1952 form, she enters the 200-meter breaststroke a slight favorite to retain the title she won at the Helsinki Games.
PAT McCORMICK OF THE U.S.
Off the springboard and platform, this 1952 double Olympic winner epitomizes the traditional U.S. supremacy in diving. A foreign rival may squeeze into second or third, but McCormick is almost a shoo-in to keep both her titles at Melbourne.
THE U.S. CREW
At the U.S. Olympic trials last June, Coxswain Bill Becklean and Yale's eight oarsmen—(left to right) Tom Charlton, David Wight, John Cooke, Donald Beer, Charles Grimes, Caldwell Esselstyn, Dick Wailes and Robert Morey—were rated roughly third but in finals Yale beat favored Cornell by half a length. They are favorites at Melbourne over fast-improving Russians and Europeans.
SHOZO SASAHARA OF JAPAN
Although the men of the big wrestling powers, such as Turkey, Russia, Iran, Sweden and the U.S., should predominate in most of the weight classes at the Games, in the featherweight freestyle class Sasahara, 1954 and 1956 world champion, will be pronounced favorite.
BALBIR SINGH OF INDIA
A police officer and a devout Sikh, Balbir Singh (shown above with his wife Sushil and their children) will lead India's excellent field hockey team in what will probably, for the sixth straight Olympics, amount to a complete rout of all of the opposing teams.
GIUSEPPE OGNA OF ITALY
World champion solo sprinter in 1955, this young cyclist, despite a disappointing season, has his best chance at Melbourne on the Italian tandem team.
LIDIA DOMOIKI OF HUNGARY
Surprise winner at the 1955 world fencing championships, with a brash, almost masculine foil technique, in the Olympics she again will face the challenge of traditional French and Italian opponents.
DEZSOE KARPATI OF HUNGARY
This aggressive forward has been a consistent scorer on the Hungarian water polo team that won the European title and is favored to win again over its traditional rivals Italy and Yugoslavia at the Games.
PAUL ANDERSON OF THE U.S.
This genial 310-pound behemoth holds the world's combined weight lifting record of 1,175 pounds, and he should win the heavyweight class. Since 1952, U.S. and Russian weight lifters have led the world in a close rivalry and should just about evenly divide the gold, silver and bronze medals.