Miler Herb Elliott, who is proving as able on the banquet circuit as on the cinders, told an Auckland sportsmen's dinner that even Spartan world champions suffer tension. "You might believe this or you might not," said Elliott, "but I was at the stadium five hours early for the race I won at the Rome Olympics. I have never been so nervous. It was sheer hell. There I was, the stadium empty except for an old woman who was cleaning. She came up to me and said, 'Pardon me, aren't you Mr. Elliott?' 'Yes,' I said. 'Aren't you running today?' she asked. 'Yes,' I said. 'Are you nervous?' she asked. 'No!' I said, 'I'm not nervous.' 'Well,' she said, 'what are you doing coming out of the ladies' room?' "
After a quarter-century layoff, Anglophile U.S. Billionaire J. Paul Getty dropped in at an English bowling alley for another try at tenpins. "I never was a great player," he said as he and svelte Mrs. Jonathan Sieff of the Marks and Spencer department store family watched his first ball roll demurely into the gutter (below), "but I seem to have forgotten everything I knew. It's that three-pace run-up that's so hard to get right."
Two frames later, after a word to the wise from a pretty instructor, Getty rolled a spare. "Ah," he said, "that was much better. After 23 years, I suppose I should expect the first roll to be a bit shaky."
There may be an end or two who catches more passes than Co-Captain Red Dawson of Florida State, but no other collegian can match him in his own area of unique distinction. Dawson, who has been chawin' since he was on a Georgia state championship high school team, is the best tobacco-spitter in college football. Last week he hit a fly executing a sharp Immelmann turn more than 10 feet away.
Nob Hill's Sugar Baron, Claus Spreckels had her built way back in 1893 and named her after his niece, Gracie. Some years later Novelist-Sailorman Jack London saw her, fell in love and made her the central figure in his best-known story: The Sea Wolf. Years later when the novel was made into a movie for the umpteenth time, the old Gracie S. became a movie star and played herself in it—under a new name, Wanderer. With the movie all but forgotten, maverick Movie Actor Sterling Hayden, fleeing Hollywood justice and a custody suit, piled his four children aboard her and sailed out into the blue and the headlines. Captured, reprimanded but freed by the courts, Hayden sold the great 97-foot schooner to millionaire Oklahoma Oilman Joe Price. She was still Price's boat but on charter to someone else two weeks ago when she struck a reef off the southern tip of Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands and ended her long career.
Before the champion collapsed on him, Turkish President Cemal Gursel, vacationing in Izmir on the Aegean Sea, made it perfectly clear whose side he was on in the fight that never was fought. "I hope with all my heart that Muhammad AH is victorious and I am sure that he will be," said brother-Moslem Gursel. "But he should talk less because excessive talking diminishes one's strength."
This year promoters of the Miss Teen-Age America pageant played it safe: they invited Mickey Mantle and some Dallas Cowboys back again but only as judges of a turtle derby (below). When last year's pageant featured a touch football game, contestants took it all too seriously, and Miss Teen-Age Chicago wound up with a bloody knee and a tear-stained football jersey. Last week the girls were restricted to cheering on their entries ("C'mon, Al Catraz!" "Please, Baron Pink Fink!"). Mantle and Cowboys Perry Lee Dunn, Billy Lothridge and Larry Stephens merely waved checkered flags. The winner, in 17 seconds, was No. 43, Knight, owned and driven by Miss Teen-Age Tampa (nee Linda Joyce Putnam). Her prize: A green sweater—turtleneck, of course.
His Royal Highness Prince Tungi of Tonga has decided to introduce surfing to his tiny monarchy, a South Pacific island ruled since 1918 by a 280-pound matriarch. Since Tungi, who happens also to be Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Education, is a characteristically sturdy specimen of the giant Tongan breed, some special equipment will be needed. The Prince already has commissioned a foam-filled surfboard 12 feet 8 inches long and 28 inches wide.
Now a roving promotion expert for the American Gas Association, the first Miss Rheingold called her lecture in Cleveland "Around the World with Jinx Falkenburg." But what Jinx, a onetime tennis star, is really interested in these days is getting around a golf course. And why not, with her 10 handicap?
Honored at half time during a recent Texas football game, Music Man Meredith Willson took a turn at leading the Longhorn band, then tootled his regrets at having given up baseball playing for piccolo playing at an early age. "We used to have some hot baseball games in the John Philip Sousa band league in grade school," ex-catcher Willson recalled. "It was us weak, anemic woodwinds against those beefy tuba players. I quit because my G-sharp finger kept getting hurt by foul balls."