CHAMP GOES WEST
When Gene Tunney hired an airplane to fly him from his training camp at Stroudsburg, Pa. to the first Jack Dempsey fight at Philadelphia (distance 70 miles) it was the great wonder of the day. "Foolhardy," everyone said. When Floyd Patterson crossed the country by train for his fight with Pete Rademacher in Seattle (distance: 3,170 miles) it was also a great wonder. "Why didn't he fly?" everyone asked. The reason is that Cus D'Amato, his manager, does not consider that the airplane has been perfected yet and, until it is, he does not consider it safe for heavyweight champions and their managers.
The long train ride began on a Friday night in New York aboard the Twentieth Century Limited and ended the following Monday morning in Seattle. Patterson made no attempt to train on the Century's overnight run to Chicago, but during the six-hour layover in Chicago he loosened up with a long walk. Aboard the Empire Builder for Seattle, he suffered a disappointment. He had expected to work out in the baggage car, but the conductor was unwilling to risk responsibility for what might happen to the champion in a swaying baggage car. Patterson had to make do with an hour or so of workout in his bedroom. When the Great Northern tracks were picked up at St. Paul, another conductor took charge and Patterson was given the use of a combination car devoted to baggage and crew's quarters, including showers, for his rope skipping, calisthenics and shadowboxing.
At Seattle, Patterson was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd, interviewed and then whisked to his training camp at Star Lake. That afternoon he boxed four rounds, seemed rather less sharp than he usually is and remarked that the long train ride had left him stiff. At that, he arrived in better shape than Gene Tunney after his precedent-making Stroudsburg-Philadelphia flight. He was airsick all the way.
MICHIGAN GOES OUT AND UP FOR FITNESS
While most Americans lolled languidly in the August heat, a fitness fever sweeping over Michigan erupted into two Junior Olympic festivals. One week-long event began with an 82-mile relay from Port Huron to Flint. Eighty men and boys in towns along the route passed on the identical torch used in last winter's Olympic Games, until it reached still-active sexagenarian Roy Hagerman (below). The 225-event Flint Junior Olympics, sponsored by Michigan's Mott Foundation and the AAU, drew 1,500 participants and 1,700 spectators, a high ratio of active to passive sportsmen.
At Detroit's Belle Isle 2,000 boys under 17 ran, jumped, tugged and chinned during one of the largest single programs of its kind in the country. Shane MacCarthy, Eisenhower's chief spokesman for fitness, kept fit hopping between Flint and Detroit bearing Ike's salute to an active Michigan.