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December 12, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

### Weiner

We have been asked by many readers of this column to tell what sporting event gave us the greatest thrills during the last two years. At first we thought this a rather large order to fill but upon consideration we discovered that there were about ten events that set us on edge while we were observing any of the fifty-three sports on the athletic calendar that we have reported on in the last two years.


Most recent of all the events that are outstanding in our memory is the first Ross-McLarnin battle for the welterweight championship of the world. The scrap had all the ballyhoo of a three-ring circus. To this was added the mysterious Garden Bowl jinx which never allowed a champion keep his crown in his first defense of his title at the Long Island sports plant. More than that Barney Ross was fighting the man who had proved to be the nemesis {SPAN}#f{/SPAN} Jewish boxing champs. Leonard, Singer, Goldstein, Fields, Glick and Terris had all yielded to his terriffic onslaughts and had ended up with resin in their teeth. But Barney was game. He was after his third title. He wasn’t satisfied with the junior lightweight, and the lightweight championships. He wanted the welterweight belt and he wanted it in a bad way.

They met last May. It was a perfect night for an outdoor show. Sixty thousand people had jammed their way into the sunken Bowl to watch this highly heralded encounter between two clever fighters. It was Barney’s from the first round on. When Jimmy hit Ross with a right, Barney would come back with a quick one-two that hurt. Barney’s flurries in the last thirty seconds of every round had Jimmy bewildered all through the fight. But Jimmy is Irish. He’s a game guy. He kept tearing into his Jewish opponent with the blows that Terris couldn’t take. These very same punches had the great Leonard sprawling. And Barney was weathering these pummelings and giving more in return.

The bell for the fifteenth round sounded. Barney was on his feet and in the center of the ring, happy because he knew he had already won. Jimmy was out there too, not so fast, still tired. His arms were lifted as if they were of iron. Their sting was gone. Barney jabbed, ducked, feinted and attacked. A thirty-second flurry on which he closed McLarnin’s remaining good eye and the battle was over. Barney Ross became the only man in pugilistic history to hold three crowns simultaneously. He became the first Jew to beat McLarnin. What a fight! What a thrill!


The 1932 winter games at Lake Placid, N. Y., gave us a thrill that we’ll never forget. The skiiers from Norway, Sweden, and Italy were fascinating to watch as they tore down the incline and then went hurtling into the air with the speed of an express train. But the fact that a friend of ours was in one of the most grueling events on the winter sports card and that he had to overcome innumerable obstacles to win the championship in his field gave us the biggest kick of the winter sports program. Irving Jaffe, a New York young- {SPAN}###{/SPAN} and the only Jewish boy on the American Olympic speed skating team, was entered against the greatest skaters from Europe and of the world in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events.

Jaffe had already won the 5,000 meter event and had added a third place to the list of victories scored by the American speed skating team. If he took a first place in the 10,000 meter event the United States contingent would make a clean sweep of all the events in the Olympic speek skating program. Jaffe and Murphy were entered from America. Ballangrud, of Norway, one of Europe’s greatest distance skaters, and Stack of Canada were the chief contenders in this race.

Stack took the lead from the start with Ballangrud in second and Jaffe a close third. The laps fell behind them as they skated at a dizzy pace over the 10,000 meter course at Lake Placid. It was in these same positions that they entered the last 1,500 meters. At this point Jaffe gave everything he had. Slowly but inexorably he crept up on the fast Stack who had by now fallen back to second place. He passed him with the finish line only 500 meters away. On skates traveling at a dizzy clip this distance is very short—almost from here to there. His legs were driving like pistons. His crouched body bending over so that he almost scraped the floor with his arms that flayed the air like an automatic thrasher. The fifteen yards or so between Ballangrud and Jaffe were cut down inch by inch … ten-eight-five-two. They were neck and neck for five yards and then Jaffe’s stamina told. He passed the Norwegian flash and crossed the line the winner and new champion. The United States had made a clean sweep in the winter Olympic skating program because a Jewish boy had given everything he had.


Miss Sybil Koff, of Brooklyn, was the sensation of the first Maccabiad in Palestine. It wasn’t any particular performance of hers that gave us the rare thrill that comes when observing sports. It was all her achievements on the track at the Jewish Olympics in Tel Aviv in 1932.

The American team was composed of only thirteen members. Of these nine were track and field men and four, swimmers. Syd Koff was the only girl on the track squad while Eva Bein was the female representative in the aquatic group.

Syd competed in everything on the card. She was the only athlete at the international meet to garner four first places. She won the 100 meter dash and swept on to a sensational victory in the 220 sprint. She jumped to a first place in the high jump and won the tricathalon by scoring most points in the shot put, the javelin and the discus. As the lone American woman athlete, Miss Koff’s performances dazzled the crowds. They cheered her and paraded. She was the type of Jewish-American woman that the 5,000 athletes from the thirty-three countries of the world who have Maccabi organizations, had heard of. The reception given to Syd was one of the great thrills of sports.


A thrill is a peculiar thing to define. We’ll let it go at best as that hair – raising, spine – tingling sensation that comes every now and then with the unexpected happening. And a sports writer in his daily routine becomes inured to many things that would make the ordinary observer chill and burn in alternate moments. There are a few other performances given by Jewish men and women that have actually thrilled your scribe. One was the time demure Janice Lifson, of the Women’s Swimming Association, won the senior metropolitan diving championship against the best divers in the city. Another, when Jack Grossman, of Rutgers, ploughed through the great forward wall of N.Y.U. in 1931, and scored with three Violet tacklers trying to get him down. These memories are good on nights like these. They help to keep us warm.

If we have a cold winter, we’ll be reminiscing more often.

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