National Geographic : 1964 Oct
friendly international rivalries. Even some "cold war" ice seems to have been cracked. Holding aloof until they felt equipped to make a respectable show ing in big-league competition, the Soviets first entered the Olympic Games in 1952 at Helsinki, 40 years after their countrymen, under the tsarist banner, last participated in the games. The 1952 athletes, however, were the representatives of Stalinist Russia; they lived apart, behind barbed wire, and under the surveillance of Commu nist secret police. This attitude was progressively discarded in the next two Olym pics. At Rome in 1960, the athletes of Communist and capitalist countries mingled in relaxed and friendly fashion, even though en gaged in a spectacular rivalry for top honors (opposite). All Olym pic records in women's track and field, and all in men's and women's swimming, were wiped out. Only four individual marks in men's track and field withstood the assaults of many nations led by the United States and Russia. Coming virtually from nowhere, the Soviet Union in three Olym piads has outscored the United States, 270 to 221, in total medals (first, second, and third) for all the summer Olympic sports. In men's track and field, the blue-ribbon sport, the U.S.S.R. has given the U. S. its biggest challenge since little Finland struck its mightiest blows at American supremacy in the twenties. It is against this intriguing background that the games will be held this October in Tokyo-24 years late. Japan was to have been the host in 1940, but fate called the world to a grimmer game. For the Japanese the XVIII Olympiad is the long-sought fulfillment of an ambition frustrated by the war lords. For the Olympic ideal it is a long step forward-the first time the games have been held in Asia, home of more than half of the human race (map, pages 506-7). Dorando, the Games' Most Famous Loser One of the events the Russians have never won is the greatest and most truly international of all-the rugged marathon, named for a battlefield in ancient Greece. Not only does it cover the most geog raphy-26 miles, 385 yards of it-but usually the marathon has at least one entry from every country participating in the games, and it is the only Olympic race which has been won by runners from five continents. Since the beginning of the modern games at Athens in 1896, many a great athletic star has sparkled in the Olympic galaxy. I shall never forget seeing Paavo Nurmi, foremost of Finland's fabulous parade of distance runners, win four gold medals at Paris in 1924 (page 500). In the swastika-plastered setting of the 1936 games at Berlin, I watched as the wonderful American Negro sprinter and jumper, Jesse Owens, also won four Olympic gold medals-to the obvious embarrassment of Adolf Hitler and his theory of Aryan supremacy (page 501). Yet for sheer emotional impact, no single Olympic episode can overshadow the climactic struggle of a little marathon runner from Italy who didn't even win. In defeat as dramatic as a Greek tragedy, he stirred the faltering revival of the Olympic Games to heights of courageous performance, controversial excitement, and world-wide interest previously untouched. His full name was Dorando Pietri, but like the storied strongman and hero of ancient Greece, Milo of Crotona, he is known to posterity by one name alone. Dorando was 22 years old, weighed 122 pounds, and was serving 490 Human Projectiles in Flight: Russia's and America's Top Broad Jumpers Meet Symbolizing peaceful coexistence on the ath letic field, Russia's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan and the U.S.A.'s Ralph Boston compete in the Olympic Games at Rome in 1960. Though Ter-Ovane syan was later to set a new world record of 27 feet, 31/4 inches, his best jump at Rome-26 feet, 41/2 inches-won only third place and a bronze medal. Boston's gold-medal winning jump, 26 feet, 73/4 inches, erased Jesse Owens's 1936 record at Berlin (pages 501 and 502). Teammate Irvin Roberson of Cornell fell only one centimeter short of Boston's jump, giving the U. S. a one two finish. "My heart was really thumping," Boston said after officials measured Roberson's leap. In 1964 Olympic tri als at Randall's Is land, New York, Boston twice surpassed 27 feet -by 4 inches and 5/2 inches-but a strong following wind caused officials to disallow what would have been a new world record. HS EKTACHROMES BY MARVIN E. NEWMAN C N.G.S.