"Comparatively weak in the distances but unmistakably superior in the hurdling events", was the terse opinion of America's chances in these departments of the track contests at the Olympic games this summer, expressed to the CRIMSON yesterday by E. L. Farrell, University track mentor and a member of the coaching staff of the American Olympic team in 1924.
Despite the fact that on paper Europe's probable entrants in the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races have better records than the American records at the corresponding distances, the team from the United States should contain potential point winners, though it lacks outstanding stars, Coach Farerll believes.
At the 5,000 metre distance, Ritola of Finland appears as a likely champion, the veteran coach stated. With his compatriot, Nurmi, and Eklof of Sweden, Ritola should finish at the head of the field. Pederson of Norway, Kohn of Germany, and Norland of France also have good racing records.
Unable to offer as good opposition in this event as in most others, America will probably depend on Lermond of the Boston Athletic Association and a team selected from Cox of Pennsylvania State College, the intercollegiate cross-country indoor and outdoor mile champion, Booth of the Newark Athletic Club, former intercollegiate cross-country title holder, Payne of the University of Pennsylvania, and Kirby of the New York Athletic Club, M. L. Smith of Yale and J. L. Reid '29, Harvard cross-country captain, are other possible starters.
Lining up possible starters for the 10,000 metre distance, Nurmi and Ritola of Finland and Wide and Ohm of Sweden appear to Coach Farrell to outrank anything America can offer. With Petri of Germany, who has done 32 minutes flat for the 10,000 metres, Beddarl of France, rated at 32.18 for the same distance, and Matilainen of Finland, the European contenders seem to have clinched most of the places in this event. Against this array of consistent performers America will probably send Osif, the former Haskell Indian School runner, Henigan of the Boston Athletic Association, and Richardson of the University of Maine. In the last I. C. A. A. A. A. cross-country race, Richardson took second place, following Cook of Pennsylvania State College and leading Reid of Harvard.
The outlook in the hurdles appears much brighter to Coach Farrell, for in the United States is any number of good timber-toppers and several excellent performers.
In the 100 metre event there will probably be Vennstrom of Sweden, rated at 15.3 seconds, and Burghley and Gaby of England, both of whom have done 15 seconds flat or better. Sempe of France, and Steinhardt of Germany are not quite so fast as the other three but under the pressure of Olympic competition, might step into the lead. America, however, has unquestionably better material. Wells of Dartmouth and Ring of the New York Athletic Club with Werner of the Illinois Athletic Club and Dye of California can all of them turn in stellar performances, while there is any number of good hurdlers to supplement them.
An unusual situation presents itself in the 400 metre low-hurdle race, for this event is rarely run in America. Nevertheless America is well prepared with any number of quarter milers who may change their activities to the hurdling field. Coach Farrell named as the best performers from Europe, Peltzer of Germany, Sangerson of France, Petterson of Sweden and Burghley of England. The Americans who will probably be entered are Gibson of Fordham, who defeated Burghley of England at the Pennsylvania Relays, Taylor, the 1924 Olympic winner, and Steinbrenner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was intercollegiate champion last year.