Russia made its long-range concentration on Olympics pay off, finishing with grand flourish in gymnastics and Greco-Roman wrestling to lead U.S. in total medals (99-74) and unofficial point standings (722-593). American and Australian swimmers engaged in record-splashing spree in Melbourne's final week to salvage some glory but hardly enough points to catch front-running Soviets (for medal winners and records, (see pages 54-62).
U.S. and Australian track stars continued assault on world records, splitting four in post-Olympic meet at Sydney. American quartet of Leamon King, Andy Stanfield, Thane Baker and Bobby Morrow, triple gold-medal winner, sprinted 880-yard relay in 1:23.8; another foursome of Jerome Walters, Lon Spurrier, Arnie Sowell and Tom Courtney circled cinders in 7:23 for two miles. Pretty Shrub Nursery Assistant Betty Cuthbert anchored Aussie girls to two marks, teaming up with Shirley Strickland, Norma Croker and Fleur Mellor for 0:45.6 clocking in 440-yard relay and then came back to help 880-yard relay team register 1:36.3 (Dec. 5).
Jim George, husky Akron weight lifter, muscled up 388½ pounds in clean and jerk at Melbourne to better light heavyweight world standard set by American Tommy Kono in Olympics (Dec. 5).
December 17, 1956
Roger Murphy, young Oakland, Calif. pilot, bounced his seven-liter Galloping Gael over Seattle's Lake Washington in runs of 129.032 mph and 134.328 mph for measured mile, came away with new world record of 131.680 mph (Dec. 4).
San Francisco, minus graduated All-Americas and Olympians Bill Russell and K. C. Jones, scored over San Francisco State 82-54, California 70-56 and Seattle 57-52 to extend nation's longest winning streak to 59; but it was Kansas' 7-foot phenom, Wilt Chamberlain, who provided week's biggest news in college basketball. Basket-stuffing Wilt made varsity debut with 52 points against Northwestern, added 39 more against Marquette (see pages 26-29).
Boston ran winning streak to 10 before losing to Philadelphia 113-111, split next two games to remain on top in East in NBA but began to cast furtive glances at streaking New York Knicks, who won five straight over Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Louis to move within three and a half games of leaders. Rochester zoomed to top in West as slumping Hawks (who have lost six in row) plummeted into cellar.
All-America selectors engaged in their annual autumn free-for-all, and seven (AP, UP, INS, NBC, Collier's, Look and Sporting News) managed to agree on eight college stars: Ends Ron Kramer of Michigan and Joe Walton of Pitt; Guards Jim Parker of Ohio State and Bill Glass of Baylor; Center Jerry Tubbs of Oklahoma; Backs Tommy McDonald of Oklahoma, Jim Brown of Syracuse and Johnny Majors of Tennessee. Tackle John Witte of Oregon State was picked on six teams; Tackle Alex Karras of Iowa on three; Backs Paul Hornung of Notre Dame and John Brodie of Stanford on three each.
Pitt, trailing 7-0 at half time, used hardhitting Fullbacks Ralph Jelic and Tom Jenkins to shatter Miami defenses, sent wriggling Quarterbacks Corny Salvaterra and Darrell Lewis (see below) over for second-half touchdowns to win 14-7, spoiling Hurricanes' unbeaten record at Miami.
Cleveland temporarily thwarted New York's Eastern NFL title hopes with 24-7 victory, while Washington remained in race by beating Philadelphia 19-17. Detroit held slender edge in West, trouncing Pittsburgh 45-7 to set up payoff game Sunday with Chicago Bears, who squeezed past Cards 10-3. San Francisco upset Green Bay 38-20; Los Angeles surprised Baltimore 31-7.
Eddie Machen, fast-moving Californian who has yet to lose in 19 pro fights, counterpunched and jabbed away at plodding Johnny Summerlin for 10 rounds but was unable to bring down his opponent and had to be content with decision at Syracuse. Machen, touted as future rival for Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson, admitted, "I learned more from this fight...now I'm looking for Patterson," but Manager Sid Flaherty was more cautious: "In some ways he has come along too quickly."
Floyd Patterson, who knocked out Archie Moore to win heavyweight championship, was named Boxer of the Month by NBA, which also dropped Moore from heavyweight rankings, raised clowning Hurricane Jackson to No. 1 contender.
Don Carter of St. Louis, onetime minor league pitcher, threw major league strikes to roll up 309.49 Peterson points and $4,000 in prize money, became first man to win three All-Star tournaments at Chicago. Women's champion: Mrs. Marion Ladewig, 42-year-old Grand Rapids grandmother, for sixth time in eight years.
Montreal, making full use of famed power play, began to sneak up on first-place Boston in NHL. Canadiens outpowered Toronto and Chicago, held Bruins to 1-1 tie to trail by four points. Boston also split pair with second-place Detroit, losing 3-2 and winning 5-3, to hold three-point lead.
Stirling Moss, daring Briton, skillfully maneuvered patched-up 3-liter Maserati over twisting runways of Windsor Air Field at average speed of 96.219 mph to win 210-mile Nassau Trophy Race (see page 51).
HONORED—Paul Hornung, versatile Notre Dame backfield star, brightest spot in Irish's most dismal season; voted Heisman Trophy as outstanding college football player of 1956, by 1,318 sportswriters and broadcasters, in New York.
HONORED—Jackie Robinson, aging but still spry Brooklyn Dodger, first Negro to play in major leagues; awarded NAACP's Spingarn Medal, for "distinguished achievement, superb sportsmanship, his pioneer role in opening up a new field of endeavor for young Negroes, his civic consciousness," in New York.
HONORED—Jim Graham, Oklahoma A&M pole vaulter who voluntarily gave up place on Olympic team to Bob Gutowski; first recipient of Sportsman Brotherhood's Gustavus T. Kirby award, for "act of greatest sportsmanship by any American on 1956 U.S. Olympic team," at Melbourne.
ELECTED—James D. Stewart, personable Hollywood Park officer (vice-president, general manager, director of racing), top turf executive; president of Thoroughbred Racing Association, at Miami Beach.
DIED—Mrs. Grace Reidy Comiskey, 66, president (since 1941) of family-owned and operated Chicago White Sox founded by father-in-law Charles in 1901, later headed by husband Louis; of heart seizure, at Chicago. Content to remain in background, Mrs. Comiskey nonetheless ruled baseball dynasty with iron hand, usually had last word in club squabbles.