Sports Close-Ups, Daily Racing Form, 1958-05-08


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SPORTS CLOSEUPS By Ira Seebacher NEW YORK May 7 The Russians with three high jumpers who have scaled seven feet or better with their builtup platform shoes have tossed a large sized sputnik into the ath l tic firmament that promises to cause as much hullaballoo as those which shocked the world into a state of deepdyed tizzydom For awhile we thought this trick jumping shoe would be out ¬ lawed the minute re ¬ sponsible authorit i e s were told of it But we are amazed at the amount of legalistic hemming and hawing going on in athletic circles instead of com ¬ ing out forthrightly and condemning the thing as a gimmick To carry artificial aids to their absurd extremes we might find sprinters using rocket launching devices to get off the mark But because it is the Russians who have come up with this cheating dodge everyone seems afraid to condemn this shoe shoeEven Even our own AAU pussyfooted around until the braver NCAA came out with a flat fiat stating the shoe was taboo It would not be any more welcome than Mercurys wingfooted sandals The AAU tagged along on the NCAA coattails with a sort of me too statement that Pinky Sober made to the New York press a week or so later In effect the AAU is now agin it too But it took a bit of doing and the so called excuses as to why it wasnt outlawed months ago would make you laugh Even when it was learned a Polish jumper was due to come here for the indoor season no one could get the AAU to say what it would or would not do in case this gentle ¬ man Dr Lewandowski decided to use this platform shoe Fortunately he saved all concerned some embarrassment He didnt use the shoe and was contemptuous of the undoubted artificial advantage it affords affordsA A A A ANow Now comes the strangest note of all The matter of course came up in Britain but the British can be even more sticky and stuffy than our own athletic bigwigs In fact the general committee of Britains Amateur Athletic Association voted against banning the shoe It isnt clear whether this means it will recognize records made with it but it certainly does indicate a lack of backbone when common sense calls for a crack down f fObviously Obviously the British prefer not antag ¬ onizing the Rusians If the dirty work has to be done the British AAU evidently pre ¬ fers the antishoe legislation to come from one of the various international ruling bodies We expect this will come in time probably from the IAAF which has only to refuse to put its cachet on any of the Russian marks and that will mean a death knell to the shoe shoeHowever However it is fairly obvious that while this builtup shoe has to go there is a aContinued Continued on Page FiftyOne SPORTS CLOSEUPS CLOSEUPSBy By IRA SEEBACHER Continued from Poge Two Twoneed need for some sort of international agree ¬ ment on just what sort of shoe can be used how thick its sole of what material etc Here again one would think it would be fairly easy to say that a jumping shoe must have a sole of no greater thickness than say threeeighths of an inch it can be made of leather or rubber only and it f cannot iri any way be legal in any sort I of attachment contrivance or whatever is j built into it or attached to its outside A AI I As we said this ought to be a simple and direct ruling but wait until you see how the legal talent attacks the problem One would think it is a booby trap trapOf Of course there is one other considera tion the rule must cover This is the mat ¬ ter of spikes Perhaps a comprehensive rule should embrace the matter of spikes as well how many these may be if neces ¬ sary how long and whether permissible indoor outdoors or whatever These we fell loopholesPresumably would cover any and all loopholes Presumably sports aresupposed to build above all sportsmanship We find nothing sporting in any such device as trick plat ¬ form shoes with or without hidden springs or added bounce to the ounce We take an even dimmer view of the American coach who went the Russians one better with an attachment for the shoe of his jumping star What kind of a mind is it that seeks out such angles in which to beat the others who abide by the rules and more impor ¬ tantly the spirit of the rules It take a conniver to try and win lor himself an edge and the only way to fight connivery is to lay down the law and woe unto him who breaks it once it is explicit and forth ¬ right But then it is probably asking as much of athletic officials to be forthright as it is for some competitors to be sports ¬ manlike manlikeA A A Similarly the rules provide that wind measuring devices be employed at major meets to learn whether runners are or are not favored in the event a world record is made Such devices which are called anemometers evidently are not to be picked up as surplus stock at Army and Navy stores but cost considerable dough The result is that rarely if ever is there such a device at any meet The Penn Relays employed one last month for the first time in the history of that meet Obviously the AATJ is remiss It ought to own several of these gadgets and ship thenTaround where needed But1 tHen the AAU ought to own several finish timers too but it doesnt Wont spring for the dough But it does send athletes hither thither and yon A little more dough spent at home would help

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