Bob Richards twice pole-vaulted 15 feet last month. He did it at the Pan American Games Preview, staged right on the city streets of Chicago's Loop by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and the State Street Council, a retail merchants' association. According to our Jim Belsey, who was there putting Coke boxes under the stanchions to bring the bar high enough to challenge Richards, he cleared it one time by a good six inches—and all with a curving, 80-footapproach, much shorter than normal, and a pile of sawdust-filled potato sacks for a landing pit. That's 8¼ inches off Bob Gutowski's world record—but I'll be surprised if it doesn't stand on State Street as a record for a while.
When the whistle blew to start the Giants-Colts exhibition game at Dallas a couple of weeks ago, nearly everyone was taking up where he left off last December in The Best Football Game Ever Played (SI, Jan. 5)—including the Giants' great end, Kyle Rote. In the months between, however, Kyle had been putting some of his many off-gridiron talents to work as a member of a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED advertising presentation team. "After facing some of those audiences," he recently wrote us, "getting back to Gino Marchetti's bear hugs again was almost a pleasure. And if you think I'm kidding, I am. Remember me to everybody."
Late summer days like these, the afternoon sun comes through my office window with special vengeance. It brings to mind another incident which happened about a year ago when, as part of the New York Summer Festival, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED put on a sports spectacular in the plaza of Rockefeller Center. A highlight was a doubles match between Bill Talbert and Vic Seixas, Dick Savitt and Don Budge. For ice skating it's fine, but the plaza was never made for tennis. The match took place on an area amounting to an oversized badminton court with an east-west axis. Daily, as the sun sank in the west it poured unerringly through the Manhattan canyons into the blinking eyes of Don Budge, who every time seemed to end up on the court's east side. It is hard to forget him on the last day, his freckled left hand shading his eyes, as he hit a foreshortened forehand to Talbert. In a mock snarl, as audible to the spectators as his grin was visible, he said, "When are you ever going to let me play on that side!"
One thing's sure. It's been good to have all of them, Richards, Rote, Budge and hundreds more, playing on our side.