Soviet sports reporters and photographers do not share the personal fame of their U.S. brothers in the craft but they were on their marks last week as the U.S. men's and women's basketball teams played their first games against Russian opponents in Moscow. Herewith, from Trud (as translated for The New York Times) and Sovfoto, a novel sample of their work:
It is difficult to overestimate the interest of the sporting public in the playing of the American basket-ballers in the Capital. Yesterday, long before the beginning of the games, lovers of sport gathered far from the central stadium named for Lenin, hoping for a chance to get in to see these outstanding matches.
Every row inside the Sports Palace was filled with people. Flags of the United States and of the Soviet Union hung over the stands. Friendly words of greeting in both English and Russian were hung above one of the stands....
The American and Soviet basketball players marched onto the court to stormy applause. The guests were heartily greeted in the name of the Basketball Federation of the U.S.S.R., sportsmen of Moscow and sporting fans by Comrade Bessonov, chairman of the Basketball Federation.
May 4, 1958
Then the president of the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States Mr. [Kellum] Johnson took the floor to reply. He said: "Dear friends of the Soviet Union. We are very glad to visit your country and are sure the games here will promote friendship among our sportsmen. We also are sure that your sportsmen in the United States will receive the same kind of hospitality. We have a high regard for Soviet sportsmen. Long live friendship between our people."
These words of Mr. Johnson were drowned by a stormy ovation in the hall. Then he presented to the captains of the Soviet teams, N. Maksimilyanova and M. Valdmanis, souvenirs, bronze statues of basketball players. Then followed the national anthems of the United States and U.S.S.R. Our sportsmen presented the guests with large bouquets of spring flowers. Then the teams met in the center of the court and in pairs, shoulder to shoulder, left the court.
The women's teams lined up for the game. Before the beginning of the match the American girls huddled and the coach gave them a final pep talk. With a loud shout, the guests ran to their positions. Then the starting signal was heard. The struggle began.
After 25 seconds a buzz was heard among the spectators when Yeryomena made the first score. By the end of the first minute our sportswomen are ahead, 3 to 0. But here 20-year-old K. Washington, who turned out to be a wonderful offensive leader, made 2 points. Then L. Davidson put her team ahead. But immediately the Soviet basketball players, due to the efforts of M. Otsa, moved ahead again. During the first minutes something was wrong with the foul shots of the Americans. Meantime our girls increased the score, 7 to 4, then 8 to 4. But then the most dangerous sharpshooter of the American team, N. White, cut the lead and then Washington tied the score.
Both teams demonstrated a number of brilliant combinations. Soon the tempo picked up and the game was converted into a fascinating sporting performance.
Especially remarkable on our team was Yeryomena, who was ably assisted by Maksimilyanova and Otsa. On the guests' team, the guard, K. Garmes, who demonstrated wonderful long shots, and Washington played a brilliant game. As far as the tall B. Sykes is concerned, our team succeeded in neutralizing her in the first period. At the end of the first half the result was 29 to 25 in favor of the home team.
The second period began with a new offensive by the Soviet team, which soon was ahead, 35 to 29, 35 to 31. But the American girls began to respond with accurate long shots. The score was changing rapidly.
When only 2 points separated the guests from our team, Coach S. Butautas called time out to give necessary instructions to the team. After that the Soviet girls had more luck in attacking the basket despite the fact that Yeryomena left the game on fouls. The gap in the score increased steadily. In this period Kostikova of our team played brilliantly, executing a number of beautiful combinations. For the guests, White was again outstanding. She is 21 years old. The technique and obvious experience of these girls were wonderful.
The game came to an end and two or three minutes before the end it was felt that the guests had resigned themselves to defeat. With the score 61 to 46, the Soviet team gained revenge for last year's defeat at the Maraquana Sports Hall [in Brazil]. The American girls were the first to warmly congratulate the Soviet girls for their success.
After a short warm-up the men's game began....
Hardly had the whistles of the referees, Blanchard of France and Kashay of Hungary, sounded when the attack of Semenov, who played wonderfully, brought the first score to the home team. Immediately Bochkarev made the score 4 to 0. However the Americans, due to the efforts of one of their giants, Born, gained 3 points. After which a struggle of amazing sharpness begins.
The Soviet team played excellently. It carried out different offensive combinations both in the center and along the flanks. It was felt the Americans were a bit puzzled. After Palmer pierced the basket and tied the score, 7 to 7, the Soviet team began moving ahead again, 11 to 8, 13 to 10.
Then the Americans were successful in moving ahead 1 point. For a long time the game swayed back and forth. But then with a series of successful attacks the home team brought the score to 23 to 16.
W. Womble, the experienced coach of the guests, having lost his coolness, jumped up from the bench, shouted to his team, then took time out.
However, the first period continued as before to the advantage of the Soviet team despite the departure of Semenov who gave 14 points to the collective. At the end of the first period the score is 40 to 31 in favor of the U.S.S.R. team.
The second half starts with a long and aggressive attack by the Americans. They slowly but surely narrowed the gap and after seven minutes after a shot by Bouschka they are ahead, 52 to 51. The intense struggle reaches its climax....
In the last five minutes after our team completed several offensives unsuccessfully, the guests, on the contrary, accurately and thoroughly carried out a number of combinations, and moved ahead. Besides that, almost all the best Soviet players had left the court [on fouls]. But the American leaders continued to play. The result of the game is 74 to 68 in favor of the guests.
It was an extremely interesting match which showed the high class of both the winners and losers.