The U.S. and Russia will once again be fighting it out for the overall title but East Germany, a power in women's track and field, may mount a challenge
TRACK & FIELD MEN
Let's face it, the U.S. has no Hayes, Hines or Tommie Smith and many experts foresee a repeat of Rome when all the sprint gold medals stayed in Europe. Although Hart and Robinson have equaled the 9.9 world record, and Borzov's best is 10.0, he has done it on slower European tracks and he runs to win, not to set records. Mennea has a 10.0 and a 20.2 this year and should beat Quarrie, who has been injured. A surprise medalist in the 200 could be West German Ommer.
J. SMITH, USA
Only a month ago Honz set a European record (44.7), dampening U.S. hopes for a sweep. Before a largely German crowd he will have more adrenalin going for him than Matthews of U.S. who is competing in his second Games. U.S. is a cinch in relay, barring a mishap.
800-meter world-record holder Wottle of U.S. is bothered by tendinitis and Arzhanov can win with any kind of tempo. In 1,500 Boit will set a murderous pace for Keino, and Ryun will have to hang on and blow by Keino in stretch. Finland's Vasala is a threat for bronze.
Because of his spectacular double last month, Bedford has to be a favorite in the 5,000 and 10,000. He will try to burn everybody out with a fast pace; he has a better chance to do so in the 10. In the 5, Pre's indomitable spirit could carry him to victory. The next best bet is Viren, who has a tremendous kick. Experts see in Belete another Bikila, and he may well be. The dark horse in the marathon is Munich-born Shorter of U.S. Malinowski ran a European-record 8:22.2 this month, two ticks off world record, and may move up. World-record holder O'Brien seems to be past peak.
BEDFORD, G. BRIT.
Milburn is slightly injured and could also be beaten by Davenport. France's Drut, Cuba's Casanas and East Germany's Siebeck have all run 13.3 and are out for medals. Mann and Bruggeman of the U.S. are 1-2 in the world, but Bruggeman may poop out after running three heats.
Straddle jumper Tarmak has best mark inworld (7'4 1/2") this year, but flopper Sapka (7'4 1/2") is more consistent. East Germany's Junge could take third. In long jump West Germany's Baumgartner has leaped farther than Robinson, but is nervous in major meets. Triple jumper Drehmel has a reputation for beating Saneyev in big ones. Perez of Cuba hasn't approached world-record distance he achieved
DREHMEL, E. GER.
at Cali. Seagren may have trouble adjusting to old pole, but should win. Isaksson, who injured a thigh muscle recently, is a question mark.
The U.S. should take first and second in the shotput, and Feuerbach, bulked up to 260 pounds,could chop down Woods. They are followed by three East Germans, of whom Gies is best technician. New, calm, slimmed, consistent Bruch, who lately equaled Silvester's world mark, is favored in discus; Silvester could take second. West Germany has two top hammer throwers, Beyer and Riehm, but Riehm is less seasoned. Bondarchuk seems a safe bet for gold, though not as safe as Lusis Superspear, the '68 winner, who recently set a world record in the javelin (307'8").
Skowronek heads world list, but Bannister is 27 points behind. Hedmark, solid in all events, could win.
FRENKEL, E. GER.
When it comes to walking, the Germans are the best, and the farther East they walk, the better they get. Frenkel, Reimann and Nihill all broke the 20-km. world record in 1972. Kannenberg is a new sensation and should beat '68 champion H√∂hne in the 50.
KANNENBERG, W. GER.
STECHER, E. GER.
East Germany holds a trump card in Stecher, who is co-holder of the 100-meter world record and could win three sprint events, though '68 200-meter champion Szewinska, née Kirszenstem, is again favored in 200. Davis seems to have recovered from her back injury, having recently tied the world record for 100 yards. Gleskova of Czechoslovakia in 100 and Annum of Ghana in 200 are also contenders, but Boyle comes through in big ones. East Germany wins the relay.
ZEHRT, E. GER.
Zehrt, only 19, recently equaled the world record of 51 flat and is a killer; Hammond is 8/10ths slower. Seidler could take second for East Germany. The GDR relay team broke the world record last month and is unbeatable. The U.S. has a chance of nipping West Germany.
800-meter world-record holder Falck of West Germany has no finish and gets beaten in important races. '68 champion Jackson has made a tremendous comeback and is very determined. Bragina is the 1,500-meter world-record holder, but her 4:06.9 is sure to fall.
BURNELEIT, E. GER.
EHRHARDT, E. GER.
Balzer, 34, who won in '64, will bow to Ehrhardt, 12 years her junior, who broke her world record.
Gusenbauer and Schmidt both have gone over 6'2" this year, but six other women, all from Eastern European countries, are contenders, plus flopper Brill of Canada, who cleared 6'1¼" this month. Rosendahl can come up with six tremendous long jumps in a row.
ROSENDAHL, W. GER.
Chizhova and Melnik, two hefty Russians, have both broken the world record this year; Chizhova, who weighs 196 pounds, in the shot with a 67'8¼" heave, and Melnik, who dyes her hair red, in the discus, with a 219' fling. Both are 27 years old, unmarried and unbeatable. Fuchs, also a world-record holder, often wins by 5 to 10 feet. Schmidt recently had an illegal flat mark of 212' and has a real stab at silver.
FUCHS, E. GER.
POLLAK, E. GER
Rosendahl is weak in shot and high jump, whereas Pollak should win four events, bowing in 200.
It's between Spitz, the world-record holder, and Wenden, the Olympic champion, in the sprints, and Spitz, wiser and more seasoned than in '68, looks unbeatable. Most likely, all freestyle medals will be divided between U.S. and Australia, but Rousseau of France in 100 and Fassnacht of West Germany and Larsson of Sweden in the 400 could surprise. The 400 promises to be the most exciting race, with four former world-record holders in finals. McBreen broke Cooper's listed record in U.S. trials, but Krumpholz had a faster heat and didn't make the team. New world-record holder DeMont is favored in 1,500.
Americans Bruce and Chatfield and the Japanese Taguchi are also contenders in 100, and any one of the six could win. Job is the most consistent over 200 meters and Colella could make this event a U.S. sweep, but Kusch has advantage of competing before his countrymen.
The 100 is best U.S. bet for a sweep, if GDR's Matthes, who is second only to Spitz, doesn't compete. Spitz holds world records in both events, having lowered Fassnacht's 200 mark by two seconds at U.S. trials. Hall, Brinkley of England and Delgado of Ecuador could surprise.
MATTHES, E. GER.
It's defending champion Matthes all the way in both races. His world marks are two seconds faster than Ivey's best. Ivey placed behind Matthes in the 200 in 1968, and if any human can beat him, Ivey could do it in the longer race. But save your money.
MATTHES, E. GER.
Hall set 400 world record at trials and equaled Larsson's two-year-old world mark in 200. The Swede, who has never beaten Hall in a medley, says , "I'll let him be best until we meet in Munich," and Larsson could get a gold in 200. Furniss is another U.S. threat in both races.
The U.S. should win all three relays and set world records in each. Besides swimming four individual events, Spitz is on all relay teams as well, but will not have to swim in relay prelims, which will bring his grand total of races to a measly 13. Matthes should pace GDR to a silver in medley. In freestyle events, Russia, Holland, GDR and Sweden will battle West Germans, Aussies for silver and bronze.
Italy is heavily favored in both events, with European springboard champion Cagnottoand Dibiasi, who won a silver in '64 and a gold in '68 off the tower. Russians Vasin (springboard) and Kapirulin (platform) will challenge U.S. divers as well as East Germany's Hoffmann and L. Matthes.
Before the U.S. trials earlier this month, Gould held all freestyle world records and seemed unbeatable. Then Babashoff broke the Australian's 200 record by 6/10ths and Harshbarger broke her 800 record by over four seconds. Since the Australian trials were in February and no serious meets have been held since, Gould's form is hard to assess, but chances are she has further improved and could still win all freestyle races. However, defeat may come on the eighth day of competition when she is pitted against a fresh Harshbarger who only swims the 800.
23-year-old Stepanova, the only Russian swimmer ever to have won a gold medal (in the 200 in Tokyo), is the favorite in both events. She is joined by teammate Grebennikova, who is 23. Clevenger of the U.S. and Kaczander of Hungary are also strong in the 200.
Aoki set world mark in 100 last month, but Deardruff is less than 2/10ths off. American Daniel, who won a silver in 100 and a bronze in 200 in '68, is again a contender, and U.S.should sweep 200, although East German Kother and Australians Neall and Funch might spoil.
Belote is the new world-record holder in the 200 and the best bet in the backstroke events. Gurr of Canada and Groen of The Netherlands could also place, as well as Skrifvars of the U.S.
It seems that Gould has a bandoned her plan to swim the 200 medley; if not, there will be a fierce struggle between her and Vidali. That apart, only Japan's Nishigawa could prevent a U.S. sweep. In the 400, Moras of Australia, Cliff of Canada and Stolze of GDR threaten.
It will be more difficult for the U.S. women than the men to win the relays. Both the U.S. and GDR have more depth than Austr alia, but the
strongest challengers may turn out to be The Netherlands and Russia in the medley.
Potter, King and Ely could sweep springboard, but Janicke is consistent and Carruthers won at Pan-Ams. Off the tower Knape, 17, is favored although she was still a butterflyer two years ago. Canadians Robertson (also a Pan-Am winner) and Boys could beat Duchkova, the '68 gold medalist.
Williams, 18, bettered his own world record in the U.S. trials and should be a cinch for gold; Poland has an exceptionally good women's team; still, Wilber, 42, could beat world-record holder Szydlowska to collect a second gold for U.S.
U.S. has never lost a game since basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936. Present team is perhaps tallest, but also youngest and least experienced. The Russians are considered better technicians, the Americans more exciting.
The Russians have a half a million registered amateur boxers and are favored, as they were in 1968. American heavyweight Bobick, flyweight Dement and lightweight Busceme have best medal chances. Rumania and Hungary will challenge Poland for third-highest score.
Hungary, which won six medals in 1968, will be hard pressed by West Germans. The U S.S.R., GDR, Rumania and Sweden have strong teams as well. Smoke of U.S. has chance in women's kayak singles.
Expect a battle between France, winner of four golds m 1968, and Italy, trying to redeem itself after a poor showing in Mexico. With Morelon and Trentin returning, France is given first billing. U.S. could win 4,000-m. team pursuit race.
West Germany is favored because of its jumping and dressage teams, but Great Britain has more horses than most other countries and is unbeatable in three-day events. Defending Olympic champion Steinkraus or Shapiro could win individual jumping title for U.S.
Russia began winning medals 12 years ago and is considered No. 1 in saber and women's events, but Hungary is strong in epée and France in foil. Best American is saber specialist Orban.
Defending champion Pakistan is underdog in what promises to be a bitter fight, and one not without political overtones. The Kenyan team is harmonious mixture of black Kenyans, Indians and Pakistanis.
Japan's Olympic champions Kato and Nakayama lead invincible team. In women's events, Russia's world champion Turishcheva will be challenged by East Germans Janz and Zuchold and by Rigby of U.S.
Japan is expected to take five of six gold medals, with heavyweight medal going to Ruska of Netherlands, the 1971 world champion.
World champion Onishchenko and Balczo are both 34 years old but still going strong. Hungary has more depth with Kelemen and former junior champion Villanyi. The U.S. is counting on Richards and Taylor to lead the team to the bronze medal that barely eluded it in 1968.
East Germany has emerged as a power and is favored to win at least four events. It will be hardest to beat in pairs and fours without cox. U.S. all-star eight may well go all the way. Demiddi of Argentina should win singles.
That's how it went in 1968, and Olympic and world skeet champion Petrov and small-bore rifle ace Parkhimovich could help Russia retain No. 1 ranking. American riflemen Writer and Wigger may figure.
West Germany's team was put together only two months ago, but playing before soccer-mad home crowds may spur them to beat Hungary, the '64 and '68 champion.
Rumania is world champion and has the world's best player in Gruia. Former world champion Czechoslovakia also has a shot at a medal.
There is a good chance that Russia will win both men's and the women's competition, but Japan's women 1964 Olympic may avenge 1968 loss. Bulgarian men s team could take silver or bronze, and Rumania and Poland might place in women's competition.
Five-time Olympic champion Hungary was winner of a recent tournament in which Russians and 1968 champion Yugoslavia took part.
Russia turns out weight lifters like York does barbells and may win seven gold medals, one of which will go to superheavyweight Alexeyev. Best U.S. bet is Patera, who will face (sob!) Alexeyev.
Russia is favored to win eight golds. Top U.S. performers are Gable (149½ pounds), Wells (163½ pounds) and Taylor (superheavyweight).
U.S. team should take a gold medal in Dragon and Tempest and could beat Denmark in Soling. Great Britain is threat in Flying Dutchman and Tempest. Brazil is the favorite in the Star class.