In 1956, during the Melbourne Olympics, the late John Lardner found occasion to refer whimsically to "those two vigorous postwar powers—Japan and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED." Eight years and two Olympiads later the two vigorous postwar powers come together again—Japan as host country for the Olympic Games, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as a practiced old hand at covering this quadrennial sports extravaganza. Travel stickers on our luggage include Cortina d'Ampezzo (1956), Melbourne (1956), Squaw Valley (1960), Rome (1960), Innsbruck (1964). Now we add Tokyo. In that huge, sprawling city—largest in the world—SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Olympic task force this week starts its coverage of the 1964 Games. Among the troops here are Senior Editor Jack Olsen, who came by way of Great Britain, where he paused to write a story on soccer that will appear in next week's issue; Associate Editor John Underwood, whose special responsibility is track and field; Associate Editor Gwilym Brown; Writer-Reporter Herman Weiskopf; Photographers Jerry Cooke and Richard Meek; Artist Robert Handville; and numerous others. All are under the guidance and direction of Senior Editor Andrew Crichton.
Crichton is singularly well-equipped for his demanding assignment. He has a loud and rather imperious voice, a handy thing when you are dealing with highly talented and strongly opinionated individuals, which his troops are. He has extraordinary energy; he thinks five hours of sleep a night is a rest cure. He is on familiar terms with the Far East; he has been to Japan, and in the mid-1940s he was a soldier and later a student in pre-Communist China, where he learned to speak Mandarin with a fair degree of fluency. He is a Harvard man, a most loyal one; once, when his wife noticed a hulking Yale athlete with a thick mat of hair growing on his shoulders and across his back and asked, innocently, "Is that a Yale man?" Crichton answered, imperturbably, "They're all like that, my dear." He is a writer and editor of long standing, one of an accomplished family; his father was Kyle Crichton, a pillar of the old Collier's, and his brother Bob is a best-selling author.
Beyond all this—beyond leadership, energy, experience, education, background—Crichton has one other qualification that makes him, we think, almost unique among sports editors. He is himself an athlete. Not was, is. At 41 he runs daily—five, six, nine, 10 miles. As vain as any good athlete, he keeps track of his times for various distances. He has run a mile—which is almost a sprint for him—in 4:55, two miles in 10:50, three miles in 17:20. Not Olympic times, by any means, but not bad for an aged trotter. Crichton intends to continue his running in Tokyo purely to keep in training, he says, though we suspect that when the marathon goes off he will be watching wistfully, wondering if—just if—he ought not to try it himself. You might watch for him on your television screen.