United States athletes met their Soviet rivals at Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday (18-19 July) for the first time in direct confrontation since 1965.
United States athletes met their Soviet rivals at Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday (18-19 July) for the first time in direct confrontation since 1965. It was a three-sided contest, the British Commonwealth also fielding a team.
The United States' men won their seventh victory in eight postwar contests between the athletic "big powers", but the bigger triumph that went to the U.S. women; it was the first time they had ever defeated their Soviet rivals.
The Commonwealth team lacked several top names and did not generally match the other two teams. One success it did have was in the women's javelin, when Christine Thompson of Australia won with a throw of 174 feet 11 inches (53.31 metres); Nina Marakina (USSR) was second with 173 feet 5 inches (52.86m) and Petra Rivers (Australia) third with 171 feet 10 inches (52.37m).
In the men's pole-vault the Soviet record-holder Gennady Bliznyetsov cleared 16 feet 9 inches (5.09m) but failed the next height. World record-holder Bob Seagren (U.S.A.) went on to clear 17 feet 6 inches (5.33 metres). There was excitement as he attempted the 18 ft (5.49m) "barrier", but failed. Seagren had earlier said he would retire after this event, but said later "I don't know -- It's still to be done and I should hate to be on the sidelines when it is done".
The women's 100-metres was a triumph for the United States girls, with Barbara Ferrell first in 11.5 secs and Iris Davis second in 11.6 secs. Lyudmila Michailova (USSR) was third.
The men's 100-metres produced a similar result, with John Carlos a fraction ahead of Ivory Crockett, both Americans being timed at 10.3 secs.
Both Carlos and Miss Ferrell went on to score their sprint "doubles" by winning the 200-metre events as well.