. PETER WILSON, one of the world's great sports writers, tells the
Games story, day by day, to millions \ ^ of London "Daily ; Mirror" readers. Here are extracts from 9^^^^^
his colorful despatches. m ^^^^^ÊÈfàms^
Only One day ta ga
THE eve of the Olympics. Can you remember what it was \ like, the last day of term, or the first Christmas you lay : awake wondering whether ybuwere really going to get the red : fire engine youd asked for?
. That's what ¡t's like, waiting for the Olympics to . start. And it's better and bigger and greater and more : colorful than any theatrical first night, because this - unique show only opens once every four years.
I don't care where you've been and what you've seen.
THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.
For just over two weeks if you have any interest in the world of sport your eyes and ears and heart and soul will be on Melbourne.
To you and you and you - and to me, lucky enough to be here - the whole think is as scintillating and colorful and as personally ex citing as being a neon tube in the biggest sign, in Piccadilly Circus.
The Torch is weaving its fiery way day and night from hand to hand across the State of Victoria.
Melbourne is illuminated so that even the faces bf the people seem to shine - and tonight a quarter of a million . people jammed the
streets, packed closer than the pages in a book.
Yet while most of us are as keyed up as you are while you're waiting for the champagiie cork to pop, the strain constricts some
It's a lonely life to be a great athlete - perhaps never more lonely than when you're on the narrow red ribbon with the con . crete towers surrounding you and
the crowd crouching like a great, corporate beast licking its chops at you as you sweat coldly, pre paring for the clinical isolation of taut-muscled competition.
Yes, they're lonely folk, all of them. I wish them well, each single one whose ordeal starts to
IHAVE seen the opening
ceremony at three summer Olympic Games - Berlin, London, and Hel sinki - and two winter ones at St. Moritz and Cor tina d'Ampezzo.
Today's, in setting, in sun shine, and in sincerity, was the equal in every way and the superior in many to all
You had the great ones of the world-the Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister Menzies, church dignitaries, royalty, and nobility and so you know who stole the
A teenage Australian kid who received what could be the greatest honor of his life, and was man enough to keep mum about it even from his mother-and to suffer great physical pain in the execution of his task.
Eight days ago 19-year-old Ron Clarke, articled to a chartered ac countant, received a telephone call. It was from E. J. ("Billy") Holt, technical director of the Games.
Clarke was told that, in this most sporting nation of all the world, h£ had been awarded the supreme honor of carrying the Torch into the great stone arena, packed tight as a kernel in a nut shell with 100,000 spectators from the five continents of the world.
As he padded round the track, the athletes, in their harlequin colored costumes, broke ranks and spilled across the green grass to the verge of the blood-red track like colors spilling on an artist's palette.
But they did not know thc full ordeal of the youngster. For great gobbets of the magnesium com pound flaring in the Torch were falling on Clarke's bare right arm.
The kid never flinched. Finally he plunged the Torch into the cauldron . . . but let nim tell his own story.
"The flame spurted up quicker than I expected, and I thought I would be burnt. For the first time I looked down on the magnificent
And now the curtain has gone up . . . the lighthearted gaiety is finished. Let the great play commence!
. "Kuts runs like a bear, squeezing the sweat out of your skin, the marrow out of your bones,", Peter Wil son told England. This is the 10,000 metres, and
the end ot Gordon Pirie's dream of a Gold Medal.
THE myth of Gordon Pirie as a 10,000 metres runner
was exploded in front of 100,000 people here today when he was crashed, bashed, and thrashed by the Rus- sian naval officer Vladimir Kuts, who thus became the first male Russian ever to win an athletic medal for the U.S.S.R.
This was one of those in tense human dramas which make six-figure crowds cram into stone bowls, pay more than they can afford, and more than is printed on the ticket, and forget their unpaid bills, their hum-drum lives, their domestic problems, and their own shortness of breath and longness of tooth as they identify themselves with the spiked heroes of the track.
Kuts has the tactics of a bear, running in those devastating vari- ations of speed and slowness,
S AT Wo AT
always setting the pace you don't want - going fast when you want a breather, slowing up when you feel that you might be getting your second wind.
He runs like a bear squeezing the sweat out of your skin, the marrow out of your bones, the breath out of your lungs, the light out of your eyes, and the hope out of your heart.
It was ruthless, killing run- ning this, which ripped the sap out of Pirie.
Kuts looked daisy fresh after a shower and after a short race made a broadcast to Russia. He said:
"It was not my hardest race by any means. The only thing that worried me was Pirie running so close."
I ritivMSMn. but . .
THIS is a critical message about Melbourne's Olympic
Not critical of the enthusi asm, the hard work, and the (hospitality which the Aus
tralians have demonstrated to their guests-to the rest of the I world-but critical of the lack of I technical knowledge or plain
I "know how" which has already
_ .HIM.rmrmnnr mill mi « n III ll '.'i^WTTH*TJLi"'i',ff
been demonstrated by them or their advisers...
In every great track and field meeting I have attended in a dozen -or is it a score? - of countries you get the lap times announced in all races over a quarter of a
Here ... in the greatest of all meetings ... no!
Some tracks are faster than others - Budapest (Hungary), Gothenberg (Sweden), Turku (Fin land) - are ones which spring to
But the essential- of a great track is that it will stand up to the punishment of thousands of spikes.
BY THOSE STANDARDS THE TRACK HERE IS NOT A GREAT ONE.
On the very first day of com petition the surface of the high jump take-off was unsatisfactory. In the first race to be decided, the 10,000 metres, Vladimir Kuts, the winner, said:
"The track was very bad on the inside." '',
And take the starting.
Yes, take it - right away.
Nowhere have I seen so many false starts, not only -in the sprints but even in the distance events.
I my opinion competitors are being kept far too long in the "set" position, and, although they look like beautifully sculptured figures, they are, in fact, flesh and blood, and, as a result, inevitably they are, breaking before the pistol.
Individually some of these things may seem little .complaints. But there is - or should be - nothing little about the Olympics.
IT'S THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.
AGREAT day with triumph and tragedy, courage and
defeats, records shattered, and hearts broken . . . all blending into the rich tapestry which make the Games the greatest pageant of muscle and physical skill ever
devised by man.
I have never seen anything more prodigious than the way the javelin sailed on and on until its steelpoint buried itself only a few feet shprt of the run-up to the pole vault.
AU the leading competitors seemed to favor this one red jave lin made of Swedish steel, and I can quite understand how Daniel sen has cleared over 300ft. with the now-forbidden Spanish discus style of throwing.
Not only was this the first world record to be broken at these Games, but it is the first Gold Medal to be won by Norway (ex cluding winter Olympics) since
Just one discordant note.
. Why have the National Anthems been chopped in half for the victory cere
The few moments when an athlete stands on the dais and sees his country's flag raised to the masthead, and hears what is. to him. the most familiar tune in the world, are perhaps the proudest few seconds in his life.
Why make it a pinchpenny job?
round this wonderful
Olympic Village, I felt at last that it was very well worthwhile coming half wov round the world to see SPORT - without beina tormented by the sad agonies of politics.
Here are some of the things that happened:
EMIL ZA TOPER, probably the greatest active runner in Ahe world, spent an hour circling the practice track - and with him were run ners of almost every nation.
As he ran, the fabulous Czech never stopped giving advice . . . and if he could not speak the lan guage he explained with signs.
Then there was the incident when Audun Boysen, of Norway, the former holder of the world's 1,000 metres record, came off the track limping slightly after a solid
Almost before he was off the cinders an American trainer trotted over to him and gave him a 10-minute massage. Nearby Italian cyclists, perhaps the best in the world, were coaching Abys sinians - remember how, 20 years ago, they were killing them?
THESE INCIDENTS MAKE THE GAMES COME ALIVE.
IT to.ok the last war to
add the word "blitz" to the English language .. it has taken the Melbourne Olympics to add the word
"Kutsed" to it.
Today Vladimir ? Kuts, the Moscow naval lieutenant, spreadeagled, spatchcocked, and slew the international field of 13 rivals who started against him.
For the first ten and a half of the twelve and a half lap course it was still a race.
After that it became the cus tomary procession of protracted death with the Russian sailor carrying- out a sub-naval engage ment as he cnopped off his rivals' legs at the knees.
It was the end of a golden (medal) dream for Gordon Pirie.
IT took 24 years for a
British athlete to win an
individual Olympic gold
medal on the track.
And it took five minutes herè today for two misguided Australian officials to 'tarn ish it beyond repair by get ting him temporarily dis qualified.
The athlete was Chris Brasher, the unconsidered member of our 3,000 metres steeplechase team, who crackled home in 8 min. 41.2 sec. to clip 4.2 seconds off the existing Olympic record.
I shall not soon forget Brasher'a face as he sat in the interviewing room after having got team mana ger Jack Crump to register his appeal.
He looked a bad 10 years older than his true agc of 28. His face was the color of cigarette ash, and his cheeks were as sunken as though his teeth had been plucked out one by one.
He outlined the complaint that when he had come to the fourth last jump he was supposed to have interfered with Larsen of Norway. He said that neither recalled any sort of incident. More than that he would not say.
It was one of the best examples
of dignity under great strain and ' ob'viously crushing disappointment that I have ever seen given by an