Olympic champion Percy Williams of
Vancouver, B. C., came to Los
June, 1931, to face Frank Wykoff, Emmett Toppino and Cy Leland in the
meet. Williams, obviously far off his 1928 form, finished fourth with
winning in 9.5s., Toppino second and Leland third. A few days before
I secured the following interview.
Question: How old
are you and how much do you weigh?
Percy: I am 23 and
weighed 126, stripped, two weeks ago at Seattle.
Frank: I am 21 and
Q: Are you a
driving or a striding runner when under the pressure of severe
Percy: Stride the
220 and drive at the finish. I am a driving runner in the 100. Frank: I
out, pull and stride. I do not drive.
Q: What do you
consider the strongest part of your race --- start, pickup, stride or
Percy: At Amsterdam it
my finish. Last year I improved my start and was running fastest of my
Frank: My second,
third, fourth, and fifth strides, which carry me to about the 20-yard
Q: Do you believe
in Paddock's flying leap?
Percy: That's hard
to say. Sometimes I leap and sometimes I do not. I usually throw my
and my chest forward. Paddock reaches out with his arms.
Q: Do you turn
your shoulder into the tape?
Percy: I do not.
Frank: Yes, I turn
my left shoulder into the tape.
Q: What distance
do you consider your best race ---100 yards, 100 meters or 220 yards?
Percy: The 100
100-yard dash, because of my 9-2/5s. record and my fast start.
Q: Do you prefer a
soft or hard track, and why?
Percy: There have
been a lot of dirty cracks taken at me down here by certain people,
I can run only on a soft track. I beat every great American runner in
indoors and the board tracks were not made of sawdust.
Frank: I like a
hard track the best because of my pickup. A soft track gives way and I
get the same traction I get on firm footing. Runners used to soft
run faster on hard tracks, but runners used to hard tracks have a
time adjusting to a soft track.
Q: What one
outstanding reason would you give explaining why the name of Williams
recorded first and that of Wykoff fourth in the Olympic 100 meters?
Percy: The answers
I have read are that the American runner had too many races at Boston and had to
a boat, while I was very lucky. My own idea is that at the time I was
fastest runner and got the breaks.
was the best man in the race. He was in top form, too. I don't think I
have beaten him, but I might have done better than fourth had I been in
Q: Whom do you
consider the greatest sprinter you have ever met?
Tolan, because I have never seen a man run as fast as he did in beating
me at Vancouver,
Simpson and Williams.
Q: Who is best in
the world today?
because he has since beaten Tolan.
Q: Who do you
think was best of all time?
Percy: I do not
Q: What was the
toughest race you ever ran?
for the Olympic 200 meters semi-final when I met Borah and Koernig and
us had to go out. I was third with a yard to go, but finally beat Borah.
Frank: The IC4A
race this year, when Tolan was ahead of me at 80 yards.
Q: What victory
have you your biggest thrill?
Borah in the race I have named.
Paddock here on June 16, 1928.
Q: What was your
Percy: Pulling a
muscle last summer at Hamilton
while leading a 100-yard race which I think would have been 9 2/5
had run 10.3 for 100 meters the week before. I pulled a muscle at 55
hobbled in lame, but was timed in 9.9.
Frank: Failing to
win at Amsterdam.