Enthusiastic congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED upon that marvelous Olympic Preview Issue (SI, Nov. 19). It embodies an advance report which is staggeringly comprehensive and exceedingly well done, and the Bannister article is superb; perhaps its author should be a writer instead of a doctor—or at least in addition to.
You may wonder why this note is coming to you from Arizona rather than Australia. Through very bad management I picked the present as a period in which to be obliged to take an enforced vacation; accordingly, I am now the world's most reluctant absentee from Melbourne and the one U.S. Olympic official party member who isn't there.
But, with your able help I hope and expect to gain full information on everything that takes place at the 1956 Olympics.
U.S. Olympic Committee
Your Olympic Preview Issue will remain part of my permanent sports library long after I have used it for comparison with the actual results from Melbourne.
December 10, 1956
It is truly a superb job.
Chairman, National AAU
Track and Field Committee
WORLD IN CHAOS
This year the Olympic Games take place in a chaotic world. As the athletes disembarked from their planes and ships in Australia, the news from Suez and Budapest could not have been more disturbing. There was doubt that the Games would even take place. Yet, as you said in your Olympic Preview Issue, "a vast part of the world clings...to the stubborn conviction that the Games should go on...."
We may thank God for that stubborn conviction. For, as the Games progress, they give the lie to those who saw "absurdity" in "the idealistic concept of the Olympiad." No Olympiad has been so free of "unsportsmanlike conduct," so free of jingoism and official squabbling, so free of tension-making incidents (such as Hitler's ignoring of the great champion Jesse Owens at the 1936 Games).
Conversely, I can remember no Games which, in their friendly competition, in their opportunity for friendly intercourse between individuals and nations, have seemed to better advance the cause of world peace. And this at a time when the hopes for peace are at low ebb.
To me, at least, the XVI Olympiad of the modern era stands as a monument to man's stubborn and never-ending quest for peace and brotherhood. It seems that few statesmen in recent months have done as much to advance the interests of peace as have the athletes and officials participating in the "children's games" at Melbourne.
I hope nothing will now happen to make me retract my enthusiasm for this year's Olympic Games. If the spirit of the first weeks of the Games persists, I see no need for concern.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
I am very proud to have my picture appear in Symeon Shimin's painting of the modern record holders of the Olympic Games. But the last time I looked I was hurdling right leg first over the hurdle—the opposite of the way you pictured me. Biggest surprise is that you have my name spelled correctly. What a battle I've had over that missing p!
EARL J. THOMSON
•Navy Track Coach Thomson, left or right leg first, was an outstanding hurdler.—ED.
THE MEN BEHIND THE MEN...
I enjoyed your special issue very much. I was disappointed, however, to see that in such a complete coverage of this great event you neglected to mention one of the most important groups in the Games.
The men and women of this group are not the athletes who are competing for the gold medals. And they will never be among those who climb to the winner's pedestal. Without them, however, there would not be that fine competition which in the Olympics produces the best athletes in the world. Yes, I am indeed sorry to see no mention of the trainers.
STEPHEN P. APTHORP
•A belated but therapeutic pat on the strained back muscles of the Olympic trainers.—ED.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (FULFILLED)
In reading your Olympic Preview Issue, I was a little surprised to see that you had completely neglected a definite contender in the hop, step and jump. Vilhjalmun Einarsson (alias Willie) spent two years at Dartmouth and, since graduating last June, he has raised his Icelandic national record to 51 feet 11 inches and is still improving.
I expect soon to see his name in your magazine as a medal winner, and a few points on the score sheet for Iceland.
JAMES H. FENNER
•Willie did well. He finished second to Ferreira Da Silva of Brazil, with both breaking Da Silva's old Olympic record.—ED.
I enjoyed your Olympic Preview Issue very much. I thought perhaps I'd find an answer I was looking for, regarding a slight argument a friend and I had: who is the person who has won the most gold medals in his life and how many? Would you happen to know?
•American Ray C. Ewry holds the most Olympic gold medals. Competing from 1900 to 1908 in the standing broad jump, standing high jump and standing hop, step and jump (all events since dropped from Olympic competition), he won eight gold medals—10 if the 1906 Games are regarded as a genuine Olympiad. (The 1906 Games are not listed in the official record books, but many historians think this attempt to make the Games a biennial rather than a quadrennial event should be counted since it was a full-scale Olympiad in every respect but date.) An invalid as a child, Ewry began jumping as a means of regaining strength, continued with the sport at Purdue University where he received a master's degree in mechanical engineering. Ewry died in 1937, undefeated in Olympic competition.—ED.
FRESH FROM THE COCOON
I greatly enjoyed your issue on the Olympics. There is one point, however, on which I am puzzled. You have the Australian swimming star, John Marshall, down as a butterfly man. I know that at Yale and in the 1952 Olympics he swam freestyle. Has he changed strokes or is this a mistake?
•Marshall switched from freestyle to butterfly stroke when he began training for the 1956 Olympics, and on Oct. 30 he won the Australian 200-meter trials in this event.—ED.
Can you tell me the motto of the Olympics? I read through your Olympic Preview issue, but there doesn't seem to be anything there.
Terre Haute, Ind.
•The Olympic motto is: Citius, Altius, Fortius (quicker, higher, more strongly) and epitomizes the desires of competitors, although the Olympic Games are more often characterized by Baron de Coubertin's stated philosophy, "The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part...."—ED.
Your Olympic issue states that Pole Vaulter Bob Richards is the only 15-foot vaulter competing in the 1956 Games. Since Bob Graham removed himself from the team, in favor of Bob Gutowski of Occidental College, the U.S. team now has two 15-foot vaulters competing. Let's hope they both clear 15 feet come the day of decision.
R. R. OHRBOM
•SPORTS ILLUSTRATED applauds the sportsmanship of Graham, a good vaulter, who voluntarily withdrew in favor of Gutowski, a better one. We also applaud the one-two finish of Richards and Gutowski at Melbourne, although neither topped 15 feet.—ED.
Oh to be in Melbourne now that the Olympics are here! I don't suppose you'd give some vital statistics on your "vogue's gallery" of male competitors? I am usually an Elvis Presley fan, but after your last issue—well, WOW!
•Wow! indeed. But Miss Bell should be more specific. There are 277 males on the U.S. Olympic squad alone. Anyone in particular?—ED.
We have been astonished by your un-awareness of the fact that many of your readers are Canadians. Canada is entered in the current Olympiad. Perhaps you didn't know this. There are athletes in this country as well as lumberjacks. Canadians present a threat in some Olympic events, particularly rowing and paddling.
The Olympics, furthermore, are not "America (the U.S.) against the world," as you said. Please do not be poisoned by the appalling attitude of Americans toward the rest of the world. We sincerely hope this attitude does not affect American athletes and/or those who remark upon their able performances.