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December 12, 1954 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1954-12-12

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SUNDAY, DECEM)3ER 12, 1954






Inernational Athletes 0 tstanding at 1ir


Irish High Jumper Owns British Titlef


Canadians Predominant'
On Puck, Track Squads

'M' Boasts All-Canadian Hockey Squad

A new name may soon be added
to the list of foreign track stars
who won fame and glory at Michi-
While he is only a freshman,
Brendan O'Reilly, a native of Ire-
land, has built himself quite a repu-
tation in European track circles as
an outstanding high jumper.
The 6'-3" cinderman recently
captured the British Open high
jump championship, held at White
City Stadium in London, with a
leap of 6'-5". The two South Afri-
cans who trailed him in second
r and third positions finished first
and second in the high jump event
at the British Empire Games held
last August at Vancouver, Canada.
Ankle Hurt
"After the British Open Cham-
pionship games, I was all set to
compete at the European games
held in Switzerland. Then I hurt my
ankle, and had to withdraw at the
last moment," he commented.
The blond-haired youth is ex-
tremely proud of his native feats.
In 1954, he broke a 41-year old
Irish record in the high jump. Com-
peting in the Irish Championships,
held in his native city, he sailed
over the bar at a height of 6'-5/4",
,. bettering the old mark by three-
quarters of an inch. He also holds
the Irish Youth Record in the high
t jump with a leap of six feet. The
record which he set in 1949 still
stands today.
"I had always desired the oppor-
tunity to come to America and
study in an American university,"
he said. "I wanted to see what the
American way of life was, so when
Michigan offered me a chance to
come to America and study here,
I accepted the opportunity."
Although he had been in this
country for three short months,
he said that he noted one differ-
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Daily Sports Editor
Intercollegiate athletics at Mich-
igan have taken on a distinctly in-
ternational flavor.
Thisinternational atmosphere is
confined almost exclusively to
three sports, but the extent of for-
eign participation in this trio is
In fact, the hockey team can'
hardly be termed international in '
character, for Coach Vic Heylig-
er's 13-man squad is composed ex-
clusively of Canadians.
Represented for Years
The northern neighbors have
been liberally represented on the
Coliseum ice for many years, but
their dominance in the sport has
never been so complete as it is
As far as The Daily has been
able to ascertain, it marks the
first time in history that any ma-
jor athletic team at an American
university has been composed en-
tirely of foreign talent.
Canada is, and long has been, al-
most as well represented on the
track team. Coach Don Canham's
present varsity lists nine Canadi-
ans, including such standouts as
John Moule and Ron Wallingford.
In recent years such of their fel-
low countrymen as Don McEwen,
John Ross, and Jack Carroll have
picked up Big Ten and national
laurels for the Wolverines.
Swedish Star
The Canadians hold no monopoly
in the cinder sport, though, for
last year's captain and champion
shot-putter, Fritz Nilsson, was a

native of Sweden. The next few
years promise to see Canham's
tracksters turned into evenfmore
of an international outfit, for the
current freshman squad boasts a
high-jumper from Ireland, a pole-
vaulter from Finland, and a miler
from Denmark.
Scotland gets into the act on Gus
Stager's swimming team where it
can claim credit for a pair of
Michigan's finest natators, the
Wardrop twins.
As sophomores in their first year
of competition last year, Jack beat
Ohio State's Ford Konno to win the
NCAA 220-yard freestyle, while in
the same national meet brother
Bert placed third in both the indi-
vidual medley and the 200-yard
Australian Swimmer
Three years ago Australian John
Davies was the country's top
breaststroker, while another of his
Michigan mates, freestyler Luis
Childs, hailed from Bogota, Colum-
Latvia has donated one of its
finest sons, Harry Luchs, to Newt
Loken's gymnastics team. Luchs,
who had, to drop out of school this
semester for personal reasons, is
a former Conference parallel bars
champ and all-round star.
Thus nations from South Ameri-
ca to Europe and from Australia
to Canada have given to Michigan
in recent years some of its finest
athletes. Not a little of the Wolver-
ines' success in sports can be cred-
ited to these international competi-

--Daily--Dean Morton
IRISH IMPORT-Michigan's freshman high jumper, Brendan
O'Reilly, tenses every muscle in his body as he clears the high
jump bar in a leap typical of the kind which brought him the

British Open championship.
ence in American and European
American Superiority
"Europeans seem to think that
American track superiority is due
to some special secrets in training
technique. I found this to be un-
true. The Americans are fine track
stars because they train hard and
have good coaching," he answered.
Although his ankle injury has
hampered his workouts thus far,
Canham has been working with his
Irish star to change his style of
crossing the bar from the Euro-
pean Western roll to the American
Straddle roll. The western roll has
the high jumper cross the bar on
his side and then land on his left
foot, while the straddle roll has
the high jumper cross the bar on
his stomach, landing on his right
Decathlon Winner
O'Reilly's versatility will be a
great boon to Michigan's track
chances. The 1949 winner of the
Irish Decathlon is adept at the
javelin throw, the discus, hurdles,
and long distance running. His

work at Michigan will be limited,
however, to the high jump and the
120 yard hurdles.
"He isn't a natural athlete, but
he is very conscientious and is an
extremely hard worker," Canham
added. "He has that will-to win,
and has every possibility to devel-
op into an outstanding high jumper
and hurdler."

A huge white banner bearing the
motto "God Save The Queen," sud-
denly erupted from the throng at
Minnesota's Williams Ice Arena
and the big sports palace was en-
veloped in a wave of laughter.
The occasion was the annual vis-
... and Michigan
son, and the banner was a crack
at the Wolverines largely Canadian
This year, however, the sign will
be even more meaningful, for last
season, two American players
were with the Wolverines. Now
even these are gone, and Michigan
has fielded what probably is its
firstall-foreign varsity squad in
All From Canada
All 13 of Vic Heyliger's 1954-55
crew hail from Canada, and the
veteran mentor becomes probably
the only coach in America who has
absolutely no worries about the
The reasons for this unique sit-
uation are obvious. Hockey is the
national sport of Canada, while it
is hardly played as a high school
sport in Michigan. The Canadians
play the game as Americans play
softball-from the time they can
hold a stick.
The proximity of the Canadian
border from Ann Arbor is approxi-
mately 40 miles, making Michigan
the closest WHL school to our
northern neighbors.
Counter Attraction
Therefore, Canada is obviously
the main source of hockey talent
for the Wolverines, and the educa-
tional prestige that the University
carries in the provinces acts as a
counter attraction for the Cana-
Over half of Michigan's squad
hails from. Ontario, nearest of the
provinces. Lorne Howes and Jay
Goold hail from Kirkland Lake,
Bob Schiller and Bill Lucier come
from Windsor, captain Bill Mac-
Farland is from Toronto, Neil Bu-
chanan resides in Ottawa, and
rookie Baden Cosby is from Gra-
The number two province on the
Michigan squad is far away Al-
berta, the home grounds of Cal-
gary's Bernie Hanna, and Edmon-
ton's Dick Dunnigan and Jerry

The remaining three men repre-
sent three other provinces. The
lone Manitoban is Winnipeg's Tom-
my Rendall, the only player from
remote British Columbia is Bob
Pitts of Nelson, and the sole rep-

resentative of Quebec is Yves He-
bert of Montreal.
Last but not the least member of
the Wolverine icers is the coach
-Vic Heyliger-whose Roxbury,
Mass., birthplace makes him the
only American citizen of the bunch.

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University Sponsored Swimming in U.S.
Encourages Athletes, Say Wardrop Twins

The big difference between
American and European swim-
ming, according to Michigan's War-
drop twins, is that in this country
the sport is university sponsored.
"European swimming is on a
club basis," Jack Wardrop ex-
plained. This situation keeps the
sport confined to a small number

of athletes, and cuts down interest
among hopefuls.
"A boy in England who wants to
become a competitive swimmer
must progress under his own initi-
ative, with little encouragement,"
said Bert Wardrop.
Swam for Motherwell Club
Before they came to this coun-
try, the Wardrops swam for the
Motherwell Club of Scotland. It
was there that they gained fame
as the first swimmers of interna-
tional quality to emerge from the
British swimming scene in a good
many years.
University sponsored swimming
attracts more athletes, they felt. It
takes a big organization and much
competition to develop any sport
to a high level.
"The only countries which are
close to the United States in swim-
ming," said Jack, "are the Com-
munist countries." He explained
that countries like Russia, Hun-
gary, Poland and Czechoslovakia
run their athletic programs on a
state supported basis. This gives
coaches plenty of time and ade-
quate plants to develop top-notch
Olympics at 15
The Wardrops, however, devel-.

oped quite well under the unen-
couraging club set-up. At the age
of 15, Jack swam in the Olympic
Games for the British team.
Jack was primarily a free-styler
before he came to Michigan. He
holds every British Empire free-
style record.
When the boys returned to the
British Isles last summer during
vacation, Jack set the British rec-
ord in the 100 meter backstroke.
His time of 1:04.2 is good in any
man's bathtub. Jack was captain
of the 1952 British Olympic team,
and swam the 400 meter free-style.
He placed fifth in that event.
Bert holds his share of records
also. The Scottish backstroke rec-
ords are his, as well as the 300
yard individual medley mark. He
was the British Empire's top back-
stroker in the '52 Games, and
placed sixth in that event.
Aside from a few outstanding ex-
ceptions, like the Wardrops of Scot-
land, Alex Jany, Jean Boiteux, and
Gilbert Bozon of France, and a
few good German breaststrokers,
Western Europe doesn't rate in in-
ternational swimming. The big
strength lies in countries, like the
U.S. and Russia, where swimming
is on a wide, state-supported basis.

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