Gavriil Korobkov,the Russian national track coach, is predicting that this year's men's teamwill be the best ever. Forget the Soviet debacle at Tokyo in 1964, saysKorobkov, and take notice of the fresh young blood he has to back upestablished stars like Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, Janis Lusis and Romauld Klim. Thereis Ryemir Mitrofanov in the 800 meters, who "came so fast in ourchampionships that there is no telling what he can do." There is ViktorKudinsky in the steeplechase ("This year he will not surprise me with aworld record"). There is High Jumper Valery Skvortsov who, at 21, hascleared 7 feet 1‚Öû inches indoors "and should go higher outdoors."
The only placeRussia really needs help, says Korobkov, is in the women's events. "It ismore difficult than ever to attract girls to our track and field program,"he reports. "We used to be the best in Europe. Now our girls are toointerested in lipstick and makeup and trying to make themselves pretty todevote their time to hard work."
In a game at theAstrodome last week, Bill Faul of the Chicago Cubs stopped pitching in themiddle of a Houston rally and glared at the huge scoreboard in center field. Ashe watched, a pair of hands flashed across the screen, clapping rhythmically,accompanied by sound effects blaring from the public-address system. Most ofthe 11,494 fans began to clap their hands, too, and Faul refused to pitch.
"Pitch,"ordered Umpire Chris Pelekoudas. "Not until you shut that thing off,"retorted Faul.
"Either youpitch or you'll be watching that thing show a guy taking a shower," snappedPelekoudas.
So Faul pitched,Lee Maye doubled, the Astros went ahead, and Faul was taken from the game. Sothe scoreboard showed a pitcher taking a shower.
The NationalLeague put a stop to the needling of umpires by Houston's electricmonstrosity—and now it is time to do the same on behalf of the visitingpitchers. And maybe someday people will stop referring to Houston as bush.
Perry Wallace is a Nashville high school senior (6 feet 5 inches tall, 217pounds), with an intriguing tendency to bruise his elbows on the rim of abasketball hoop. Wallace is also a Negro. Heretofore, Nashville's outstandingNegro athletes have headed north for college varsity sport. Vic Rouse andLeslie Hunter, for instance, hopped a bus for Chicago and eventually won anational basketball championship for Loyola in 1963. Now Wallace has become thefirst Negro to sign a basketball grant-in-aid in the Southeastern Conference—athometown Vanderbilt University. The exodus, it appears, is beginning toend.
There were still25 grueling miles to go in the Liege-to-Bastogne-to-Liege bicycle race whenJacques Anquetil, the European champion from France, bolted out of the pack anddisappeared over the next hill. The next time his challengers saw Anquetil, hewas resting casually at the finish line where he had been awaiting them forfour minutes and 53 seconds. Zut, it was Willie Mays winning the World Serieswith a grand slam; it was Jimmy Brown beating Green Bay on the last play of thegame. Fantastique! said the French. Phantastisch! hailed the Germans.Fantastico! sang the Italians.
Then Anquetilrefused to provide a urine sample for the race physician, and the troublebegan. Ever since the death of a cyclist in the Rome Olympics, Europe has beencracking down on athletes who take zip drugs. It is now de rigueur in most bigcycling events for the winner to offer up a specimen for analysis. "I feelthat my 13 years of racing put me above any suspicion of having to take dope towin," said Anquetil. Besides, he said, he had done what anyone who hadspent almost seven hours pedaling a bicycle would do at the first opportunity.The physician was simply too late. Race officials did not see it that way."In Belgium, the law is the law," they said, and not only was Anquetildisqualified, he was fined $200 to boot.
After firstproclaiming that he would never pay the fine—or race again in Belgium—Anquetilhired France's foremost trial lawyer, Rene Floriot, to appeal the case. Florioteventually persuaded Anquetil to pay up, but in Europe, where a bicycle race isan international incident to begin with, L'Affaire Anquetil whipped up a stormof taunts at the embarrassed Belgians. They began back-pedaling rapidly. "Iconsider Anquetil the moral winner," said one. But into the record bookswent the name of the official winner: Monsieur X.
To the casualstudent of volleyball, it would appear that the Brigham Young University teamis playing a different game. BYU Coach John C. Lowell, a former linguisticsofficer for the Army, spent six years in Japan and learned from the Japanesethat there is a lot more to it than pitty-pat or even the tough spike gameplayed by the U.S.
The way theJapanese go at it, in fact, volleyball combines elements of karate, judo andplatform diving. America's poor showing in the game at the Tokyo Olympics wasdue partly to a casual approach and a poor defense. After four years of workingon the "attitude" of his boys, Lowell now has them earnestly practicingsuch maneuvers as the bump, in which a player dives headlong, bumps the ballwith his hands just before it hits the floor and completes the play by skiddingto a stop on his stomach. That, sir, is not casual. It is also good defense.Lowell has thrown in another Oriental twist called the underhand bump. Theplayer simply keeps the ball in play by bumping it off his forearms. Simple?Lowell hammers the ball at his back-court men at about 75 mph, and they call itthe torture rack. But the underhand bump, insists Lowell, will revolutionizevolleyball the way the jump shot did basketball.
Last year BYU lostto UCLA in the nationals, but watch those Cougars in this week's championshipsat Grand Rapids, Mich., baby-san, or you may get honorable ball shoved downyour throat.
Increasingly,cities that are awarded Olympic Games are using them as a lever to obtain majorcivic improvements that otherwise would have to be deferred—or lost entirely.Munich, which won the 1972 Games last month, is the latest and most extravagantexample.
Between now andOctober, 1972, the city, the state of Bavaria and the federal government ofGermany will finance $400 million worth of construction: an autobahn bypassaround town, a new subway system, new dormitories for the university (theOlympic village), at least 5,000 additional hotel rooms and a modernized jetairport.
All theimprovements were on the city's long-range planning docket. Receiving the Gamesput them just around the corner.
Wayne Thornton,the Mick who dutifully says "An Irishman will always beat a PuertoRican" to help build the gate for his light-heavyweight title fight thismonth with Champion José Torres, is nevertheless training seriously for thebout. He is serious but a little kooky. When he practices punching, he standsneck-deep in a swimming pool and jabs the water furiously. "When I am inthe ring with Torres," he says, "I will be able to punch harder andquicker without any extra effort."
Thornton is in thewacky tradition of such pugs as Primo Camera, who bathed his jaw and hands inpickling brine to toughen them. I don't think it did any good, but Primo suresmelled raunchy," says Fight Manager Al Braverman.
Lou Nova, areflective man who challenged for Joe Louis' title in 1941, used yoga asprescribed by Oom the Omnipotent to prepare for the fight. He was knocked outin the sixth round. Max Baer liked to warm up by punching the nose of a bull."I do it because it makes me feel superior," explained Baer. Baer didbecome champion, but when Louis knocked him out in the fourth round of their1935 fight he reverted to more conventional training methods.
None of thisaugurs particularly well for Thornton—unless, of course, the Torres bout in NewYork's Shea Stadium is hit by a downpour.
SEEMS LIKE OLDTIMES
Floyd Overton was No. 4 man on the Little Rock University tennis team when hewas called up for military duty in 1942. He moved back home this winter andre-enrolled at LRU. At the end of eliminations he is once again No. 4 man onthe tennis team. That's not progress, but, at 42, it's fitness.
Mild-mannered andplacid, even when his players openly criticized him, Dolph Schayes explodedwhen he was fired as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I'm as good acoach as there is in the league," snapped Dolph, who was the NBA's Coach ofthe Year for 1966. "I think my record proved it. No other team—past,present or future—could have won 55 games with the road schedule we had.
"I knew theplayers were saying things behind my back. And I knew what Wilt Chamberlain wasgetting away with [missing practice sessions, for example]. But I thought youwere hired for performance. Do you really think they'll win 55 next year...doyou?"
That is a questionAlex Hannum, the new 76ers coach, will have to answer. It won't be easy.
Many critics haveclaimed that Little League baseball games put too heavy an emotional strain onthe players. Now a physical-education instructor has shown, electrically, thatthe kids are not nearly as keyed up as the critics like to believe.
By fasteningelectrodes to the chests of players in Maryland's Greenbelt Little League, Dr.Dale Hanson discovered that the only time a player's heartbeat increased duringa game was when he came to bat. "At all other times in the games the boysgenerally registered only normal heart rates," says Hanson. "In fact,within three minutes of taking a turn at bat—whether he got a hit or made anout—each player's heart rate returned to normal." Hanson, who conducted theexperiments out of "general curiosity," intends to turn next to parentsof Little Leaguers. And that's where the emotional action is, we'llwarrant.
GETCHA REH EHHEAH!
In Mexico City, we are told, tourists are now being sold cans marked "RareAir." This is the Mexicans' own spoof of the Olympic Games hassle. Insteadof just standing there being insulted as the world debates whether athleteswill breathe or expire in the rarefied air, the Mexicans have decided to makeit their own little joke—at a profit.
IndianapolisChampion Jimmy Clark drove a Lotus-Ford painted British racing green to victorylast May, but this year he has changed colors. Clark's 1966 car is red—a verybright red—as are the outfits of his crewmen and the sports coat worn by LotusDesigner Colin Chapman.
It seems that STP,the oil-additive company headed by Andy Granatelli, is sponsoring the entireLotus operation at the Indianapolis Speedway this year (cost: over $100,000)and, when the sponsor wants the color changed, it's changed.
THEY SAID IT
•Jackie Stewart, third in the world Grand Prixracing-car standings last year, after having to take a 130-mph "rookie"test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 500-mile race: "I justabout fell asleep out there."
•Mrs. Joe Bradley, asked if publicity was affecting herson Bill, freshman quarterback at Texas, who has been nicknamed Superbill:"Not a bit, but it sure is making me cocky."
•Ray Willsey, California football coach, asked if hemight be wooed away by the pros: "You know that house I was renting inOrinda? Well, I bought it."