When, after two years of butterfingering it, the city fathers of Cleveland dropped the torch of the 1959 Pan-American Games, a bluff Irishman with a firm grip stepped in and rescued the Games for the U.S. He is Dick Daley, mayor of Chicago and one of the country's most practical practicing politicians.
Chicago, said Mayor Daley, has enough facilities, athletic and residential, to accommodate the Western Hemisphere, and Chicago would consider it an honor to welcome its athletes. Daley himself (except for a stint of cowboying steers into the Chicago stockyards while he was working his way through De La Salle Institute) is not much of an athlete, but he knew where to put his finger on men of athletic and administrative ability. His Pan-American Games Committee is headed by the 1920 Olympic cyclist Carl Stockholm, and with him work Alderman Ralph Metcalfe, the sensational Olympic sprinter of '32 and '36, and the 1912 Olympic swimmer Michael J. McDermott. In just a few months these men and their devoted associates have with efficiency, humor and foresight made all necessary preparations, from starting a $750,000 Olympic pool to ordering four times as many towels as would seem necessary to forestall souvenir-conscious contestants. By August 27, 1959 Chicago will be "ready and eager" to play host to 1,500 athletes from 20 countries who, as Daley put it, "are apt to make a greater contribution to international understanding than anyone else."