Henry Carr, graduate of Detroit Northwestern High School, here wins the first of his two gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics.
T&FN: 200m dash - Carr was Ready - 20.3
by Cordner Nelson
With eight men in the final this year, plus a strong field and some doubts about the condition of certain sprinters, this promised to be a wide-open event, full of surprises, and the first-round heats failed to clarify the situation. Paul Drayton opened with an unnecessarily strong 20.7 but he had run fast earlier only to lose in the New York Trials. Darkhorse Seraphino Antao of Kenya, Commonwealth champion, ran only 21.5 but qualified with ten yards to spare. Marian Foik, Poland’s veteran who peaked late this year as in 1960, looked strong in beating Sergio Ottolina, Italy’s potential gold medalist. Harry Jerome had proven his condition with his bronze medal in the 100 and his fifth heat 20.9 showed he was a threat here. Right with him in 20.9 was Jegathesan of Malaysia, proving himself to his many supporters. Ed Roberts of Trinidad-Tobago, who had almost won an NCAA title for North Carolina College, ran 20.8 to throw fear into American hearts. Heinz Schumann, Germany's good 100 meter man, ran 21 flat to beat Henry Carr in the seventh heat, and fears for Carr's bad back continued. In the last heat, defending champ Livio Berruti showed his comeback was to be considered seriously when he edged Dick Stebbins in 21.1. Stebbins, who had beaten Drayton at New York and everybody else at Los Angeles, appeared to be a potential medalist.
The quarter finals saw the end of Antao, who finished last in the first heat, won by Drayton in 20.9. Carr won the second in 21.0, still not running his race. The only close miss was Edvin Ozolin, USSR, who was edged for 4th in 21.4 by Franciscus Luitjes of the Netherlands in the last heat. Drayton continued to look best, winning the first semi final in 20.5, equalling the Olympic record. Stebbins had to drive to make the first four, going past Foik in the stretch. Foik, left at the start, barely beat Paul Genevay of France into the final in 20.9. In the second semi, Carr came into the stretch two yards back and drove into first place in 20.6 to beat Berruti, who still looked like a potential winner. Jerome had to struggle to beat France's Roger Bambuck for fourth in 21.0.
They lined up for the final at 4:00 p.m. on October 17 in fine weather, with a slight wind against them. Berruti drew the worst lane, on the pole, with Ottolina next, hurting the Italians' chances. In lane three was Jerome. Then came Foik, Drayton, Stebbins, Carr, and Roberts. Thus Carr was unable to keep an eye on more than one runner. He had slept poorly because of nervousness.
Everyone started well, but it soon became obvious that Stebbins was running poorly and Carr had nothing wrong with him. Carr was running the way he had last spring, long legs stretching out fully with much power and great speed. Into the stretch he was a full yard ahead and he increased his lead by another foot or so to win in Olympic record time of 20.3. "I didn't think it was that fast, " he said. "This was the easiest of my races."
Drayton said, "l was surprised to come out of the turn behind him. If I had come out ahead I would have won." As it was, he had to drive ahead of Roberts to win the silver medal.
Berruti, wearing his dark glasses, and Ottolina ran hard around the curve, and Berruti was a strong fourth into the stretch, but Jerome fought his way past to place 4th while Ottolina faded to 8th. Stebbins, a poor last into the stretch, gained a little, almost catching Foik and Berruti.
This report originally appeared in the Oct/Nov 1964 Olympic edition of Track & Field News. Republished here with permission.
[Henry Carr played in the NFL after the Games, three seasons as a safety for the New York Giants. His jobs after football ended ranged from janitor to real estate agent to preacher.]