Razzle Dazzle Olympics: Carruthers and Madigan – ‘no’ to defeat
Both fighters came up with a “shock” in their timely bouts
ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS
Boxer Jimmy Carruthers was unbeaten at the 1948 London Olympics. But one thing stopped him gaining a medal. He had suffered a serious and painful cut above the right eye.
But Carruthers was a dyed in the wool boxing champion.
He became Australia’s first official world boxing champion with a shock one-round knock-out of South Africa’s Vic Toweel in Johannesburg on November 15, 1952.
In only his 19th professional fight he took the world bantamweight crown, giving Toweel no chance to recover from a pre-determined onslaught in the opening round.
The 23-year-old Sydney southpaw defended his title successfully four times before announcing his retirement in 1954. He was the first world champion in any division to quit the ring without a defeat, or even a draw – a perfect record in 19 fights.
He made a brief and unsuccessful comeback seven years later, winning two of his four fights.
Carruthers (centre) in his successful Australian Bantamweight Title fight with Ellery Bennett in 1951.
He was born 1929 and died in 1990.
Tony Madigan had been flying the boxing kite higher and higher.
Madigan won two Empire Games gold medals as a light heavyweight in Cardiff in 1958 and Perth in 1962. He scored an Olympic Bronze medal in the same division in Rome in 1960.
In his semi-final in Rome, he dropped a hotly-disputed points decisions to the young American called Cassius Clay, the eventual gold medal winner. Clay was to become better known as Muhammad Ali.
The year before, in 1959, Madigan, after winning the New York V Eastern States Golden Gloves Championship, had also lost on points to Clay in the final of the International Golden Gloves in America.
Madigan’s efforts against Clay were all the more impressive when you consider he was already turned 30 and was the elder of his opponent by 12 years when they fought in Rome.
He won the light-heavyweight International Diamond Belt, virtually the world amateur championship in 1958 and 1959. In 1954 he was the Amateur Boxing Association
Light-Heavyweight Champion of Britain.
He represented in three Olympics in 1952, 1956 and 1960 the three Empire Games in 1954, 1958 and 1962.
Madigan also played first grade Rugby with Randwick Club in 1950 and 1951. He was born in 1930.
[Hall of Champions Publication; Frank Morris.]
Peter Bennett was one of
Australia’s finest all-round
sportsmen from the 1950s.
He captained the National
water polo team at the 1952
Olympics in Helsinki and was
vice-captain at the 1956
Melbourne Olympics. Bennett
passed up the chance
of going to the 1948 London
Olympics to concentrate on
playing football. He suffered
serious injuries. Born in 1926
and died in 2012.
John Landy was known for
his speed as a mid-distance
runner. But he was always the
bridesmaid, especially in the
1500m at 1956 Melbourne
Olympics. Bannister won the
race in 3m58.8 and Landy was
beaten by 0.8, secs. Landy said:
“I must have more speed. I know
it’s me, but I have to get it out.”
Landy was holder of two world
mile records set in Australia of
3m58. He set a record for 880
Razzle Dazzle Olympics: Humour --Tracey Wickham … I just kept on swimming!
I am very fussy about my costumes!
TRACEY WICKHAM, Swimmer
At sixteen years of age I was swimming in the Coca-Cola International meet at Crystal Palace in London.
I am very fussy about my costume. They have to be just right – as tight as possible without it being uncomfortable.
My race was the 200 metre event. When I dived in the top part of my costume was so tight that it pulled in across the front, leaving my upper regions exposed.
However, this didn’t worry me. I didn’t have much to hide anyway. No one could see anything unless I stood up. So I just kept on swimming.
Nonetheless, after a few lengths I suddenly remembered that the pool had underwater viewing windows, which were being used by newspaper photographers.
I liked winning races, but I had to stop and put the costume back in place ever though it was probably too late. Everyone had a good laugh afterwards. And I still won the race.
-- Adapted by Frank Morris.
[Clangers, Bloomers and Blunders, Australian Style. Copyright. Spastic Centres of SA Incorporated. Published by Macmillan. 1984.]
COMING: Razzle Dazzle Olympics: 1936 Berlin Olympics – Say hello to Jesse Owens, USA; Agatha Christie – Famous novels are released by newsagents; Short Story: Bruno and Alice – Reaching for my mobile, says Alice, but was it too far away; Journalist Ed Murrow, man of purpose; Ed Murrow: In Search of Light – a war-time speech; Ruth’s Reminisces: Number 4 in the series.