The problem of getting from one place to another in the least possible time is one which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S third annual Sportsman of the Year, Olympic Champion Bobby Morrow, has solved to perfection.
The problem also existed for others at the Olympics, not all of them competing athletes, as I found out when I talked with Staff Photographer Richard Meek upon his return from Melbourne two weeks ago.
"For example," he said, "at the Cricket Ground, which seemed as big as half a dozen football fields, several track and field events would all be going on at the same time. Regulations limited the total of still photographers on the field to 13 and naturally each one felt he had to get everything. It was like being in a combination steeplechase, marathon and potato race. You'd start around 10 in the morning and establish your 40 or 50 pounds of equipment in one spot. As events got rolling you gradually left it all over the field—not because you wanted to but because you just couldn't carry all your baggage when you were in a hurry. Then, during the few comparatively quiet moments, you could gather everything together and sort of begin again.
"Sometimes the playing of an anthem would halt you in midflight. Photographers aren't used to slowing down for anything. But at the Olympics, when the music starts you stop. And stand at attention. At first the officials tried to make us walk instead of run. More dignified. But they relented. Even they saw that walking wouldn't get us there in time. I know I ran more miles in Melbourne than any athlete. I never want to work that hard again!
January 7, 1957
"But it was a wonderful and exciting experience. One thing I'll never forget is the sight of the Olympic flame dying out. It wouldn't have registered pictorially, so I didn't even raise my camera—yet it's something I'll always be proud to have seen."
There were very few other times when Meek failed to raise his camera. That's one reason why this week, in 16 pages of color, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can present other sights of an Olympic year which we do register pictorially, from the many thousands of photographs which Richard Meek and his colleague on this magazine, John Zimmerman, took at Melbourne.
As for Meek never wanting to work so hard again, I asked him about Rome in 1960. "Oh," he said, "I guess I'm just a little tired. I'll always want to be at the Olympics."
And I'm sure that's true of the rest of us.