Olympics opened at Melbourne with usual fanfare and galaxy of outstanding performances as early events bore out predictions of experts (SI, Nov. 19). U.S. was off and running in competition for gold medals, displaying expected strength in track and field and providing mild surprises in weight lifting, where records fell with almost every heft of a bar bell (see page 12).
Melbourne held firm monopoly on week's record breakers as world and Olympic marks were shattered with furious frequency. Weight lifters rewrote world record book with following achievements: Bantamweight Chuck Vinci of U.S., 753.5 pounds; Featherweight Isaac Berger of U.S., 776.5 pounds; Middleweight Fedor Bogdanovski of Russia, 925.75 pounds; Light Heavyweight Tommy Kono of U.S., 986.56 pounds. Norway's Egil Danielsen also rifled javelin 281 feet 2½ inches for world standard. Olympic marks which fell: Winner Glenn Davis and Eddie Southern (in semifinal) of U.S. each clocked 50.1 for 400-meter hurdles; Tom Courtney of U.S. surged to front in 800 meters in 1:47.7; Bob Richards of U.S. soared 14 feet 11½ inches in pole vault; Harold Connolly of U.S. tossed hammer 207 feet 3½ inches; Charlie Dumas of U.S. leaped 6 feet 11¼ inches in high jump; Russia's Vladimir Kuts earned brilliant tactical 10,000-meter victory in 28:45.6; Czechoslovakia's Olga Fikotovà won women's discus with heave of 176 feet 1½ inches; Australia's Betty Cuthbert set 100-meter mark of 11.4 in trial heat; Russian Lightweight Igor Rybak lifted 837.5 pounds; Heavyweight Paul Anderson of U.S. raised 1,102.3 pounds.
Holland's wondrous Robben Club water sprites, denied their chance to compete in Olympics, continued to churn up world records. Backstroker Lenie de Nijs, Breaststroker Rita Kroon, Butterflyer Atie Voorbij and Freestyler Greetje Kraan swooshed 400-meter medley in 4:54.3 at Hilversum (Nov. 19).
Oklahoma and Tennessee continued unbeaten march, the Sooners routing Nebraska 54-6 for 39th straight while Vols turned to Johnny Majors in last quarter to beat Kentucky 20-7, but Yale and Iowa also made big-time news. Elis hopped all over Harvard 42-14 to win Ivy League title; Iowa, headed for Rose Bowl date with Oregon State (unexpectedly tied by Oregon 14-14), thumped much-beaten Notre Dame 48-8, heard good news that Michigan had beaten Ohio State 19-0 to give Hawkeyes first clear-cut Big Ten championship in 35 years. Among other notable results: TCU edged Rice 20-17 for Cotton Bowl berth; Orange Bowl-bound Colorado warmed up by beating Arizona 38-7; Clemson won 7-0 squeaker from Virginia to clinch Atlantic Coast Conference crown; Columbia out-scored Rutgers 18-12 for retiring Coach Lou Little; Pitt and Penn State played 7-7 tie; USC held off UCLA 10-7; California came through for Coach Pappy Waldorf, who had announced retirement five days earlier, scoring over Stanford 20-18.
Chicago Bears staged spine-tingling rally in closing minutes to tie New York 17-17, but both teams held on to lead in respective NFL conferences. Chicago Cards stayed right behind Giants in East, outscoring Pittsburgh 38-27 while Detroit lost ground to Bears in West after 24-20 Thanksgiving Day upset at hands of Green Bay. Washington continued to streak, coming from behind to beat Cleveland 20-17 for fifth straight; Baltimore overwhelmed Los Angeles 56-21; San Francisco and Philadelphia played to 10-10 deadlock.
Edmonton Eskimos, hard-pressed in first half, cranked up their version of Oklahoma split-T in third and fourth quarters, turned loose Americans Jackie Parker and Johnny Bright and Canadian Don Getty to rout Montreal Alouettes 50-27 for third straight Grey Cup title at Toronto.
Boston's nine-game unbeaten string was snapped by New York 4-3 for Rangers' first win in 11 starts, but Bruins outskated Toronto 3-2, 3-1 for two-point NHL lead over Detroit, which tied Maple Leafs and Chicago and beat Black Hawks, and six over still sputtering Montreal.
Charley Humez, French middleweight contender, slugged it out with plodding Ralph (Tiger) Jones in bloody 10-rounder before 13,000 at Paris, came away with decision.
Gaspar Ortega, quick-moving Mexican with handy knack of knocking over favorites, added still another to his list, stabbing and jabbing away at bomb-throwing ex-Welterweight Champion Tony DeMarco in early rounds and bravely trading punches with heavy-hitting Bostonian in later rounds to win 10-round split decision in New York's Madison Square Garden. Said puzzled DeMarco: "I guess all you can say is that the horse ran out."
Swaps, still suspended in sling to facilitate healing of left hind leg fractured in Oct. 9 workout at Garden State, was choice for Horse of Year and best handicap horse in annual poll of The Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form. Other bests: Barbizon, 2-year-old colt; Leallah, 2-year-old filly; Needles, 3-year-old colt; Doubledoghare, 3-year-old filly; Decathlon, sprinter; Blue Sparkler, handicap filly or mare; Career Boy, grass horse; Shipboard, steeplechaser. Latest report on Swaps: recovering; appears brighter and even puts full weight on injured leg for brief periods without pain; X-rays show good callus formation.
Summer Tan, back in big money after spending most of year chasing home winners, began to look more and more like horse he should have been, outhoofing straining Midafternoon and spent Find to win going away by three lengths in $50,000 Pimlico Special.
Don Newcombe, his feelings bruised and battered by World Series failures and criticism by fans despite 27 regular-season victories for Brooklyn Dodgers, got morale-boosting lift (and salary-talking point) when Baseball Writers Association voted him 40-point edge over Teammate Sal Maglie for National League's Most Valuable Player award. Confessed surprised but happy Newk: "I didn't think I'd get it."
Philadelphia traded power for defense, giving up Outfielder Del Ennis, who spent 11 major-league years clouting home runs (259) for Phillies and unnamed minor leaguer to St. Louis for Outfielder Rip Repulski and Utility Infielder Bobby Morgan.
Boston's famed one-two punch of Bill Sharman and Bob Cousy helped Celtics run off three straight over Philadelphia and Syracuse (whose Coach Al Cervi resigned, was replaced by Player Paul Seymour) to move 3½ games in front of Warriors in Eastern Division of NBA. St. Louis routed Syracuse, split pair of close ones with Minneapolis to remain on top in West.
Jimmy Bryan, cigar-chomping Phoenix ex-mechanic who wrested lead from injured and sidelined Indianapolis "500" winner, Pat Flaherty, with victory in his third straight Hoosier Hundred Sept. 15, went on to pile up 1,860 points to win 1956 USAC auto racing championship.